Creation of Moringa Space for Women's Groups

  • Community Growth
  • Business
  • Agriculture
  • Women & Gender
  • Benin
This project is led by Erika Pauley, a Volunteer from Hawaii

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In a rural village the women struggle to nourish their children due to lack of highly nutritious food and money to buy highly nutritious food. The plant, Moringa Oleifera, is highly esteemed as a miracle tree in Benin due to its high level of nutrients, which have the potential to alleviate malnutrition. This project aims to create a facility where a local women's group transforms this plant into a richly nutritious powder that can be purchased by the community at an affordable price. The sales will directly benefit the women who will work at the transformation facility. In this community, jobs are often only available for men, as women are expected to stay at home to raise the family. By increasing jobs for women in the region, we are augmenting household income as well as giving women a voice in family budgeting. Additionally, the rest of the population will have access to a much needed superfood to potentially end childhood malnutrition and help facilitate healthy pregnancies. This is important because the region is full of cases of malnutrition, many of which are life threatening. Additionally the tree harbors immense capacities to sequester carbon dioxide. As moringa leaf powder transformationally uses the leaves of the plant, the trees used can stay alive for years, making this a potentially carbon negative small business opportunity for the women's group. Included in this project will be training the women on small business management and hygiene, which are skills that easily transfer to their family lives. The women will complete the project with higher independence, confidence, leadership, and community. In summary, the project will positively influence community nutrition, income generation, best hygiene practices, financial autonomy of women, and climate change.

After a training on moringa knowledge in early March many women were inspired by its potential in alleviating malnutrition and creating an income generating activity. Therefore many months later, a moringa transformation space was identified as the primary community need in a community needs assessment meeting. From here, a local NGO comprised of well informed community members, has been the driving force for all planning and execution of this project. They have been the ones involved in contacting contractors who will build the structure. They are excited to begin transforming moringa and have already begun creating prototypes of the project, but using their current process they can only create a small amount of inferior product. With a proper transformation room the women's group will be able to ensure quality and hygiene at a scale that they can sell to a larger percentage of the community.

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