Cameroon has a high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies, including vitamin A, C, iron, and zinc, which adversely impact immune function, brain development, and growth in children. This type of malnutrition is called “hidden hunger” because its effects are not visible, nor often even perceived by the sufferers. Because it can affect health and performance for a lifetime, the 2008 Copenhagen Consensus concluded that providing vitamin A and zinc to children provides the best return on investment ($17 value for every $1 spent) of any potential solution to the world’s most serious problems.
Moringa oleifera is one of the most nutrient-dense plants on the planet. Teaching communities to grow, use, and bank the seeds for this miracle tree can eliminate hidden hunger. Its leaves and pods can be dried and powdered, or pressed into oil, for longer storage. Moringa can also reduce erosion, purify water, and create rich soil compost.
Moringa will be the backbone of the “food forests” that we will help four women’s groups in Oku establish. Food forests, which are designed like natural forests but built around growing food:
- help fertilise and stabilize the soil;
- store water and provide shade for resilience during draught; ;
- provide a healthy habitat for bees and other beneficial insects;
- regenerate naturally; and
- yield a biodiverse supply of healthy fruits and vegetables.
Once these food forests are successfully established, they will feed the women’s households and generate extra income with little work for years to come.
We will also be planting moringa in our school gardens.
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