Samine, Burkina Faso
Samine lives in Nanmentenga village and is one of a group of 30 women learning how to grow nutrition gardens in Burkina Faso. Here, she tells us about her life and how the project has changed her life for the better.
All the women in my group are concerned about food security and about how to ensure a good diet and nutrition for our families. We understand that trees play an important role in our health and livelihood and we have all noticed how many trees have disappeared in our area since we were children. So many trees were cut down without new ones being planted that now many of the forest fruits and medicines our elders knew are becoming harder to find.
In the last few years people have started to understand more and more the importance of planting trees, especially those that can provide food crops like moringa and the baobab. Because so many trees have disappeared, we know we have to protect those that remain and to plant new ones.
Before Samine joined the project, she was not involved in community activities and her family depended on what her husband was able to grow. Sometimes they had a small surplus of grain which they were able to sell, but Samine and her husband’s lives were very hard and they did not have a viable source of income.
Moringa and baobab plantations
So far Samine has learnt how to maintain and manage sustainable moringa and baobab tree plantations, including planting and transplanting techniques and sustainable watering methods. The main difficulty they used to have was dealing with how to protect the young trees from insect attacks. They had some success with neem leaves and ash and by growing onions among them, but the insects were always persistent.
They are now looking forward to learning about the production, processing and marketing of moringa products and how groups can organise themselves and work together. With the support of TREE AID Samine and other women in her community have received information on organic certification and will shortly be learning about the extraction of moringa oil.
Looking to the future
Now that Samine has learnt how to better look after her trees in the nutrition garden so wants to learn how to access markets outside her local area; the best way to sell our products and how to get a better price for them. In time, what she produces in her nutrition gardens will help her to feed her family and the money that she earns from any surplus will supplement what her husbands earn. This will help her to cover the cost of our children’s clothing, school fees and health needs.
The work that we do will also contribute to the development of our communities and our province. Now I am more confident about the future. Local people see more benefit in planting and looking after trees than they used to.
Miriam, Burkino Faso
TREE AID helps people like Miriam, a mother of five from Burkina Faso. Malnutrition is a big problem in the village, and tragically many mothers lose their children due to a poor diet. Times are difficult for Miriam, she has to feed her family of seven and help to feed her extended family of sisters and their children.
TREE AID is working with Miriam and the women from her village; teaching them how to farm tree foods, and making sure they understand the nutritional value the tree foods have. A great example of the power of this, is the leaf of the moringa tree. This humble plant is among the most nutritious food on the planet, with more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than oranges. By incorporating moringa into their diet, families like Miriam’s can give their children all of the nutrition they need.
“We use moringa in most meals now” says Miriam, “and I collect the juice from the cooking process and give it to my children.”
Miriam’s children were plagued with a host of ailments, some relating to malnutrition, but she is confident that their overall health has improved since using moringa. “Our immune systems are much stronger now, we used to have a lot of malaria but now it is less, and the children would often get ear infections and bad chests, but this has almost disappeared.”
You can visit TREE AID or make a donation here.