A grassroots social enterprise model with an idealistic mission: to tackle malnutrition and contribute to reforestation while creating equitable livelihood opportunities in rural Burkina Faso.
More Trees Healthy People Improved Economies
Malnutrition is largely a rural phenomenon that affects mostly children and pregnant/nursing mothers. It accounts for 35% of Burkina Faso’s extremely high child mortality rate. (3rd highest in the world!)
A Promising Solution
Our story of how ESPRI Moringa came to be:
In addition to being lovers of green superfoods, we are yogis with a mission to help improve the quality of life for all people. Here in Burkina Faso, we’ve worked in the spheres of maternal health, education, and agroecology since 1985. ESPRI (Entrepreneriat Social et Production Rural Integree) is AMURT’s nascent social entrepreneurship program structured with the objective of developing holistic model solutions to rural poverty. AMURT began its experience in social enterprise back in 2009 with ESPRI-Sel, a long-term initiative targeting the reduction of Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) in Haiti through the introduction of innovative methods of modernized salt production to fulfill the domestic demand. ESPRI Moringa is a similar pilot initiative targeting the problem of chronic malnutrition in Burkina Faso.
Nearly all of the pregnant women we see during our monthly antenatal control programs in the Sahel suffer from some kind of micro-nutrient deficiency. Children here are also commonly affected by vitamin A deficiency, a general lack of protein and other nutrition-related disorders. The current, imported solutions to malnutrition in the region seemed to us, not enough. And as the link between malnutrition and poverty is undeniable, we set out to work with communities to create a social entrepreneurial approach to poverty reduction that results in more durable solution.
Moringa grows naturally in most regions of Burkina Faso, but people are simply not accustomed to cultivating the tree. In 2010, we started growing intensive plots of moringa at our model farm and community center located in Bissiri village. We found that it grows fast, requires minimal inputs and produces a lot of nutritionally rich leaves. We experimented with drying and powdering leaves, which is traditionally done here with other types of leaves as a means to preserve them throughout the seasons. The powder looked and tasted great, and only a couple spoonfuls can provide a person with nearly all their daily micronutrient needs.
Health Benefits of Moringa Leaves
-46 Powerful antioxidants
-36 Anti-inflammatory compounds
-Rich in easily digestible proteins
-Strengthens immune system
-Proven to increase both the quality and quantity of breast milk
-Delivers wholesome nutrients needed for the mother’s need to double her blood volume to supply oxygen to the growing baby and placenta.
-Contains all Essential Amino Acids needed for formation of the baby’s brain development.
Since 2010, a network of farmers became inspired about moringa and planted over 25,000 trees in Bissiri village alone. We are partnering with the Fulbes Pottal Women’s Association to process and package dried moringa leaves. The leaf transformation process we have created with them is hygienic, practical and low-cost.
We are now entering the commercialization phase of this program where we aim to:
–Reinforce groups to manage all aspects of production, processing and packaging.
–Train & mobilize rural community health promoters/entrepreneurs in moringa product distribution.
–Enable certification for pharmacy and clinic distribution.
–Provide 1 year guarantee for moringa growers and processing groups in Bissiri.
–Participate in national/regional planning bodies that are currently working on a coordinated strategy to decide on long-term solutions to chronic malnutrition.
The Result ~
Produce 1 ton of moringa powder per year
Insert nearly $12,000 annually into the Bissiri economy
Provide additional income to 85 individuals
Make moringa products available and affordable to over 500 consumers per month
Prove ESPRI as a replicable model
For recent news and updates, visit the AMURT Burkina Faso blog