Moringa: Creating Sustainable Livelihoods for Women in West Africa

Pierrette is a young, widowed mother of five, and a social entrepreneur capitalizing on the nutritious, drought-resistant Moringa tree

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Plantes Aromatiques des Collines (PAC)

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 500 - 1,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Benin

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Benin: Dassa, Odo-Otchèrè, and Camaté United States of America


Facebook URL

Twitter URL

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

In Dassa, Benin, West Africa, life is not easy for women and children: 1) Women and children are more likely to be affected by poverty and climate change; 2) Due to extreme dry and wet seasons, finding fruits and vegetables year-round is either too expensive, or impossible for the average family; 3) In Benin, nearly half of all children under five are stunted due to malnutrition (UNICEF, 2015). PAC is a social enterprise composed of mothers in vulnerable situations with an intimate perspective on these issues.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Moringa oleifera is one of the most nutritious plants in the world. Even better, it is a fast-growing tree that is adapted to extreme climates and excels in countries like Benin. PAC has capitalized on these characteristics and uses them to address issues like unemployment, malnutrition, climate change, deforestation, and women’s empowerment. PAC has created a growing network of 133 women in Dassa, Benin. These women grow Moringa trees around their homes and sell the leaves to the social enterprise, which are then processed into a powder and sold as a nutritional supplement all around the country. PAC helps the women plant and cultivate the trees, and the women receive not only a vital supplemental income source, but also a near unlimited supply of fresh Moringa leaves that they can incorporate into the meals they feed their families. The added income earned by selling leaves to PAC allows the women to pay for expenses like food, clothes, school fees, and medicine.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

In 2013, Pierrette Djemain was recently widowed. While trying to rebuild her life, she got to know dozens of other women in similarly precarious situations. During this difficult period, she participated in a training on how to process Moringa leaves into a powder capable of long-term storage, where she learned of the benefits of Moringa and that it can be easily and quickly grown almost anywhere in Benin. Four years later, Pierrette and her social enterprise PAC produce some of the the highest quality Moringa powder in Benin, while contributing to the re-greening of the community. PAC purchases Moringa leaves from 133 women in and around Dassa, who use this extra income to pay for better meals for their children, school fees, healthcare costs, and more. Every year as PAC’s capacity grows, they hire more employees, and help more women plant Moringa and draw economic and health benefits from this unique tree. To date, over 8,000 Moringa seedlings have been distributed to women.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

PAC partially supports itself financially through individual donations (20%) and grants (10%), but earns most of its revenue (70%) through sales of Moringa products around Benin, and invests profits into production and processing improvements that will allow access to markets beyond Benin in the USA and Europe. As vital equipment and infrastructure investments are made, PAC will be able to greatly increase revenue by satisfying quality and quantity requirements of its export partners, like Kuli Kuli, an American company creating healthy and delicious food products containing Moringa sourced from West Africa. This will ensure financial sustainability and continued improvements to the livelihoods of the suppliers and employees of PAC, based entirely on earned income.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

According to the US Bank, in 2015 alone, over 152 billion dollars were spent on foreign aid projects in Africa with only a fraction of that money creating sustainable change. PAC was started by a struggling African woman, built for struggling African women. The stakeholders know the value of every dollar to every member of the community, and have everything to gain and everything to lose in making this work. This unique experience provides PAC with a vision focused on lifting up the community.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

In 2013, Pierrette, founder of PAC and widowed with 5 children, participated in a training on processing Moringa into powder, where she learned about the nutritional benefits of Moringa leaves. Here is where she saw an opportunity to use what she learned to both create an income source for herself, and help all the disadvantaged women she met around the community since the death of her husband by providing them extra income and a powerful health supplement. Today, PAC consists of a fast-growing network of women who produce Moringa leaves, creating significant economic value and improvements in family health, all out of the modest assets held by these women. PAC’s activities have garnered the attention of export partners in the USA and Europe, which has redefined its vision and shown the possibility that even more families can benefit from Moringa, beyond Dassa, and beyond Benin.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sebastian Gatica

Exciting project, good luck!


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