Thank you very much for your valuable feedback. Its interesting to have such feedback for improvement. Yes, the main objective of the project is to alleviate the nutrition insecurity in the region. The most amazing thing is how fast communities adapted to use it. The as production quality and quantity increases, the idea is, to sell the surplus to neighboring areas for the betterment of the livelihoods improvement of the communities. Even though commercialization is not our main objective in the project, we have now seen potential market in the area as value chain study has also been done. But one thing to tell you, we are producing 100% organic Moringa without using any fertilizer and pesticide since the land has not been used for nothing. I really appreciate your your comments in this regards.
Dear Cara, I am so excited you have got interest to know more on our Moringa project. Thank you. It has been so surprising for many visitors, evaluating experts from the regional government and journalists (recently visited and televised about it as a news by the national TV in Afar language and they are on preparation to present it as a 35 minutes documentary very soon) how we became successful in bringing behavioral changes when they hear from the beneficiaries themselves about Moringa and its benefits. One reason for our success is we have worked hard on massive awareness creation activities to show the facts about Moringa using various communication techniques relevant to the society. Another one is, after convincing traditional leaders, (clan and religious leaders that are so influential in Afar) we have used them as forefront leaders in the promotion process. The fast adaptation to a new species, type of food and feeding habit; and their positive response to it can be seen as an evidence how people have been looking for simple solution for their suffering from food shortage and malnutrition. That would make it easy for us to replicate the project in other places as lessons are telling us what to do next time.
Financially, The project fund has been awarded to my organization and fully supported by the USAID after a rigorous assessment of our application to our innovative idea. One of the challenges of the initiative is the project phases out on 31st December 2017, which means after one month and USAID is no more funding the project because of policy changes. We haven't got any extension funding yet and no one promised to do so so far. While looking for funding opportunities for an extension and replication, we are not leaving the project behind until we get something to sustain such a successful project. The cooperatives we have created and that are registered by the regional government are now fully taking over running the farms and the production despite their limited capacity and knowledge for many reasons attached to culture and tradition. We have granted them with seed money, hand tools and trainings on leadership and financial management for full functioning. The local government bodies have also promised to some extent to contribute the sustenance of the initiative That would help the cooperatives produce Moringa and sell it to the local people and beyond for very reasonable price.
AISDA is a non profit and non governmental organization with a registration number 0288. We support disadvantaged communities in Ethiopian to solve their problems in food insecurity, health and malnutrition, water shortage, reproductive health issues and natural resources depletion.
I think I have answered your questions the way I have understood them. I hope that satisfies you. But if you still need any further clarification, let me know, I am so happy to respond.