Combatting malnutrition with supplementation of Leaf Extract

Combatting malnutrition with supplementation of Leaf Extract

Lesotho
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Dealing with malnutrition of children under five by offering a locally produced 'leaf extract' supplement.

The vision of the Lesotho NGO is promotion of the betterment of life in rural communities. Its initial project, the 'Leaf Extract' project is based on the concept that the leaves of indigenous plants ex. maize, beans, squashes and others considered weeds (amaranthus, stinging nettle) can be utilized, after a basic extraction process (which can be performed on a community level), as a protein micronutrient rich supplement that has shown to eliminate malnutrition in young children. (ref. www.leafforlife.org ) It is also based on the concept that communities and particularly rural communities need to come together in consultation in order to develop the autonomy to run their own income generating, health producing projects, in this case, choosing vegetables to grow, deciding on best marketing practices, coordinating leaf extraction and distribution of the supplement to children in the community. Training of project managers will include the basic project workshops in community consultation, basic nutrition/nutrition and hygiene for mothers of young children, appropriate agriculture techniques including planting of drought resistant trees, companion planting.., leaf extraction, running a small business.

Although at first it is not simple to initiate a community-run project, the long term costs are more affordable and could be assumed in the country. We consider the empowerment of local people who take responsibility for the health of the children at the same time that they are creating an increased income for themselves as significant.

Most development projects involve the use of supplements (such as vitamin A capsules) produced and purchased outside of the country. Utilizing the leaves of local plants to produce the supplements in small locally run industries can be a source of autonomy and pride for the community participants.

About You
Location
Project Street Address
Project City
Project Province/State
Project Postal/Zip Code
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Your idea
Focus of activity

Service/process

Year the initiative began (yyyy)

2005

Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Patients not empowered

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Center consumers in business model

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

conflict- need for communities to consult on development initiatives

Since the primary beneficiaries of our project are malnourished children, they are not the ones to be empowered. The use of consultation in the communities allows parents or gardiens and people involved in producing the raw materials for the leaf extract supplement (gardeners and farmers) to be involved in the decision-making process with respect to all aspects of gathering , growing, marketing, distribution of supplement etc.

Inviting people to consult together removes the barrier of potential conflicts that have caused the failure of some development projects in this country.

Innovation
Define the innovation

Dealing with malnutrition of children under five by offering a locally produced 'leaf extract' supplement.

The vision of the Lesotho NGO is promotion of the betterment of life in rural communities. Its initial project, the 'Leaf Extract' project is based on the concept that the leaves of indigenous plants ex. maize, beans, squashes and others considered weeds (amaranthus, stinging nettle) can be utilized, after a basic extraction process (which can be performed on a community level), as a protein micronutrient rich supplement that has shown to eliminate malnutrition in young children. (ref. www.leafforlife.org ) It is also based on the concept that communities and particularly rural communities need to come together in consultation in order to develop the autonomy to run their own income generating, health producing projects, in this case, choosing vegetables to grow, deciding on best marketing practices, coordinating leaf extraction and distribution of the supplement to children in the community. Training of project managers will include the basic project workshops in community consultation, basic nutrition/nutrition and hygiene for mothers of young children, appropriate agriculture techniques including planting of drought resistant trees, companion planting.., leaf extraction, running a small business.

Although at first it is not simple to initiate a community-run project, the long term costs are more affordable and could be assumed in the country. We consider the empowerment of local people who take responsibility for the health of the children at the same time that they are creating an increased income for themselves as significant.

Most development projects involve the use of supplements (such as vitamin A capsules) produced and purchased outside of the country. Utilizing the leaves of local plants to produce the supplements in small locally run industries can be a source of autonomy and pride for the community participants.

Context for Disruption:

Awareness that indigenous plants can be used to deal with problems of malnutrition is increasing among nutritionists and some lay people.

The concept that food and nutrition are essential elements to achieving good health in addition to drug therapy is becoming more common.

We expect that the project will eventually allow local people to take over the responsibility of assisting those who are sick or undernourished and maintain their own health and environment.

Delivery Model

There are two options to the distribution of the leaf extract supplement: in a nutrition 'feeding programme' or on the direct market.

The supplement will be distributed in a nutrition 'feeding programme' under the direction of one of the local project managers (who will be responsible for the primary health care of the children). The other project manager assures the gathering and growing of raw material (leaves) and the extraction workshop.
Lists of children requiring supplementation have been provided by nutritionists working through the local health clinics and by village chiefs. At the clinics, particular days have been set aside for the parents/gardiens to bring children. The project manager and local nurses will organize gatherings to discuss the programme with the families on those days; the primary health care manager and assistants will assure the distribution of the supplement to the children via the parents either at their homes or at the clinics and, will verify and record monthly the state of health and height /weight measurements of the children receiving this supplementation.
In the first year, it is expected that 250 children will receive supplement for 6 months; thus, a total of 500 children a year. Expansion to another 10 communities in Lesotho is expected over the second year.

If and when the communities decide that their production of the extract is sufficient, the supplement could be packaged and sold in pharmacies, or other stores depending on the conclusions of their consultation.

Key Operational Partnerships

Our partners include SOS Children`s Villages Canada outreach programme who have offered to co-ordinate groups of women gathering and growing the vegetables as well as distributing supplement to children in their locality.
The Network of people living with AIDS have provided local project manager candidates.
Rural Self-Help Development Association, who work with 50 communities in the south of the country, contribute their expertise in agriculture extension work and will offer a contact with the local farmers who could produce and gather vegetables.
The most important partnership has been the nutritionists of the Agriculture Department who created the contact with local clinics and provided lists of children who should receive the supplement.
The particular indigenous plants to use as raw material for the leaf supplement were chosen at their suggestion.
We are looking forward to promotion of the project in the country by the Food and Nutrition Coordinating Office who recently participated in the production of a Food Composition Table for Lesotho from which the values of the indigenous plants where obtained.

Cooperation of our NGO with all the NGO's in the country working on developing sustainable agriculture is very important to create unified action, and we will favor action with those who promote organic methods of production (due to the requirements of the Community Support Agriculture programme).

Impact
Financial Model

The initial income generation has come from the Community Support Agriculture programme which will allow the purchase of materials for starting up the growing of vegetables.
Gardeners and farmers producing vegetables will receive an income from the sale of vegetables and from gathering leaves of the indigenous vegetables.
Supplement sold to families at a low cost (approximately $.06 a serving) will assist the operating costs of the NGO. Other income generating activities such as the sale of appropriate technology agriculture tools, sunboxes, and consulting projects are envisaged.

Funding for salaries of project managers and assistants as well as larger agricultural inputs required (irrigation/raincatcher supplies etc.) are being sought.

What is your annual operating budget?

20%

What are your current sources of revenue? (please list any sources that are foundation grants)

The Community Support Agriculture programme is starting to provide funds to the project.
We plan to market the appropriate agriculture tools in the near future.

We are currently seeking funds through various organizations for the nutritional feeding programme. (production of supplement and distribution)

Each local project will work toward financial sustainability with the sale of vegetables,
possibly the sale of the packaged supplement, and other income generating projects decided
upon in consultation among the community project participants.

Effectiveness

With the official inception of the Lesotho project, at least 250 children will receive supplement in the first half of the year and another 250 in the next six months. Those who produce the leaf extract and sell vegetables will see a small rise in their income from the vegetable sales. An increase in autonomy and individual initiative is expected on the part of all participants.

Which element of the program proved itself most effective?

Developing the Community Support Agriculture programme has been positive and capable of linking the Basotho community with the NGO community.

Number of clients in the last year?

Although the supplementation has not yet been initiated, the raising of funds by the inception of the 'community support agriculture' programme has already brought 6 of the proposed 10 families who have given an initial deposit and will make periodic payments for the reception of organic vegetable boxes over at least 20 weeks. This will be the basic marketing system for the vegetables produced for sale by the gardeners and farmers.

These farmers and gardeners as well as participating parents/gardiens will also provide leaves for the extraction process.

What is the potential demand?

If 1 in 4 children in Africa are malnourished; the demand for the supplement has a ceiling only in the capacity of the communities to produce the leaf extract and distribute it to the children.

the nutritional feeding programme will reach up to 500 children in the first year; packaging and marketing of the supplement in stores or other local market outlets will be carried out once all local people requiring supplement will have been taken care of.

Scaling up Strategy

Consolidation of the initial community project in the first sites to be opened in Lesotho so that fsustainability is ensured is a priority.
Training of project managers within the country so that other project sites may be opened will follow.

It is important to maintain the project (first in Lesotho) to create confidence in the community participants that the local communities can run their own business and take care of the children and others requiring assistance.

Training project managers within Lesotho and in Canada will be included in the priorities in this time period.

Stage of the initiative:

0

Expansion plan:

A training programme for project managers in Lesotho could start in September so that the project could expand to 10 new communities in the country.

A training centre in Canada particularly for aboriginal youth is envisioned in the next two years, as is the expansion into at least two new countries in Africa where project proposals have already been made. The newly trained youth could become project managers in those countries or in aboriginal communities across Canada.

Origin of the Initiative

Over ten years ago, a friend from South Africa sent an email on an Agriculture Forum describing a feasibility study done in Sri Lanka which showed how utilizing the leaf extract from sweet potato leaves could eliminate malnutrition in young children. Being aware of the Unicef statistics that a large percentage of children die before they reach the age of five, many of them affected by malnutrition, the director of the Centre for Prosperity and Autonomy, Sandy Gershuny, decided to put the project work into practice.

After endeavouring for several years to connect with NGO's in Southern Africa to initiate the project, she travelled to Johannesburg for the World Summit in 2002, staying with a lady originally from Lesotho. The invitation she received to come to Lesotho in 2005, led her to set up the Lesotho NGO Centre for Prosperity and Autonomy. and begin the project activities

Sustainability
What are your two main challenges to finance the growth of your initiative

Currently the purchase of machinery to carry out the leaf extraction in two communities is needed to to start the supplementation at a cost of $2,500. Cdn. each. ($5,000. not including the workshop building rental or construction). Initial salaries for the Canadian project coordinator/trainer, two local project managers and 4 assistants in each community where the supplementation will be carried out plus their transportation will require a minimum of $55,000.

On some of the farms where vegetables could be grown, water supplies are required. We calculate between $4000. and $5000. per farm.

Funding of $100,000. would move the activities forward quickly.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate?

Our project was entered in the Health for All competition and an invitation was extended by Changemaker personnel to submit an application for this competition.

We are seeking funders and the opportunity to expand knowledge about this type of supplementation initiative and community-run project.

The Story
Do you have an annual financial statement?

We will produce a statement in May of 2008

Do you currently have an annual financial statement that tracks profit/loss?

no- NGO and initial project starting up

Please describe the amount (and/or type) of funding you need to implement your initiative, at year 1 and at year 5.

year 1 $100,000. for capital expenses (such as the leaf extraction machinery and workshop building), project manager salaries, transportation and farmers' agricultural inputs

year 5 expecting to require less than $ 50,000. for upkeep on machinery, manager salaries and transportation