Moringa Ride – Togo: A Move to Reduce World Hunger

Togo MapWater Charity is thrilled to announce its sponsorship of Moringa Ride – Togo. Moringa Ride’s objective is to promote awareness about, and help proliferate the use of, the Moringa tree as an important tool to help combat malnutrition.

Water Charity believes that the extensive cultivation of the Moringa tree throughout developing nations will play a key element in reducing malnutrition in the world in coming years.

The objective of Moringa Ride will be accomplished through the efforts of Peace Corps Volunteers and Togolese counterparts. Eight Volunteers and eight Togolese will ride bicycles to thirteen selected villages and towns in the northern Savannah region of Togo.

At each community, they will teach the villagers the benefits of the Moringa tree and instruct them in the cultivation of the plant. They will disseminate seeds and help with the initial crop.

The trip will take three nights and four days, covering 30 to 40 kilometers each day. It is being led by Peace Corps Volunteer William Vu.

The Savannah region shares some of the same Sahelian semi-arid climatic conditions as its neighbors Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Benin. It is ranked as the country’s poorest region with 90 percent of the population, more than 650,000 people, either unemployed or earning only a fraction of the average $360 per year annual income. Malnutrition is prevalent in this area.

Moringa TreeThe Moringa tree is often called the “Miracle Tree”, as it is so high in nutritional value. Almost every part can be used for food or has some other beneficial use.

The leaves are a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, protein, iron, and potassium. The leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked. or dried and crushed into a powder.

The Moringa seeds yield a useful botanical oil. The seed cake that remains may be used to purify water, and can also serve as a fertilizer. In addition, the bark, sap, roots and flowers all have beneficial uses

The presentation to each community will include an explanation of the importance of proper nutrition, and how Moringa fits into overall health. The usage and preparation of each part of the tree will be taught.

Each village will be given 200 Moringa seeds to start a tree nursery. This will jumpstart the community to grow its own Moringa trees, and will leave a sustainable legacy from the ride.

This effort includes a large undertaking on the part of the communities that are visited. Each will provide a selected parcel of land to start the first Moringa nursery. Local villagers will be responsible for the upkeep of the planted trees as well as sharing the technology with others in the community.

It is estimated that at least 100 people will participate in this project in each of the 13 villages, so 1,300 people will directly benefit.

We are extremely pleased to play a part in this great effort. Hundreds of people in 13 communities will benefit directly from the ride, but the significance of the undertaking far surpasses the immediate result. It will demonstrate a methodology for continuing to spread the concept of the beneficial use of the Moringa tree to the rest of Togo, the other African nations, and the world.

This project has now been fully funded, through the generosity of The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust as a part of their Clean Water Projects initiative.

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify Peace Corps Volunteer William Vu of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by William and/or those of his counterpart PCVs in Togo.

To read a progress report on this project, CLICK HERE

Update on Moringa Ride – Togo

To read the beginning post on this project, CLICK HERE.

Moringa Trees - TogoFinal arrangements for the Moringa Ride – Togo are shaping up. The bike ride will begin on November 16, 2009, and continue for four days and three nights.

The latest configuration calls for 9 Peace Corps Volunteers and 6 Togolese counterparts to embark on the ride. The contingent will stop at 13 communities along the way.

In addition to teaching the huge benefits of Moringa cultivation and use, and demonstrating the necessary techniques, the group will start a nursery in each community to begin the process.

Posters - TogoPCV William Wu, who has been coordinating this effort along with PCV Christian Mason, reports as follows:

We will be starting our ride Monday morning from Dapaong, heading southwest towards Nano, and returning north to finish up the ride with a grand presentation in Cinkasse at the border.

The group has been working on posters and other materials to publicize the ride. The Moringa tree truly lives up to its designation as a “miracle tree”.

William - TogoThe effects of this event will reach beyond the range of the communities visited if enough people in enough places know about it. In this regard, everyone can play a part by publicizing this event on their social networks.

Communication by Internet and phone is intermittent, but the group will be in touch with us with updates about their activities. Check back here to read reports as the event progresses.

Your donation in any amount for this terrific project would be appreciated. Please CLICK HERE and use the Donate button on the page for your donation to be attributed to this project.

To read about the conclusion of this project, CLICK HERE.

Conclusion of Moringa Ride – Togo

To read the beginning post on this project, CLICK HERE.

Moringa Ride TogoWe are very pleased to report on the outcome of the 2009 running of the Moringa Ride – Togo. Water Charity sponsored this event as a first step in spreading knowledge about the Moringa tree and promoting its use as an important tool in the battle against world hunger.

The result was an extremely successful event that can serve as a model for subsequent rides in Togo, and a methodology that can be replicated elsewhere in places where Moringa use would be beneficial.

The difficulties that are encountered in planning and carrying out a venture such as the Moringa Ride can only be fully appreciated after doing it in the best way possible, and then evaluating what went right and wrong.

It is a daunting task to plan an event in spite of the fact that there is no way to know whether the necessary funds will be forthcoming. In that regard, the organizers, Peace Corps Volunteers William Vu and Christian Mason, are to be commended for pushing ahead despite the uncertainty.

Moringa Ride Togo GroupPlanning for the event did not begin until 2 months before the scheduled departure date. Water Charity, seeing the importance of the event, and the potential benefits to be derived therefrom, stepped in with support literally weeks to go before the ride was set to begin.

The steps necessary for such an event to succeed are numerous. They start with the obvious tasks to be accomplished to promote the event. They continue with the logistical planning to arrange for the presentation venues. They proceed to arranging for the feeding and lodging of the participants along the route. Finally, there is the training and testing component, to make sure that the participants will be physically able to carry out the mission.

In readying for the ride, William suffered a training injury, falling from his bike and injuring his leg. William reports:

Unfortunately, I'm down in Lome in the medical unit because my leg got infected. This was from falling off my bike a week prior, and with all the preparations leading up to Moringa Ride, I never gave it a chance to properly heal. I'm getting better right now and the antibiotics and rest are helping out a lot.

Talking about the ride, William told us:

I would say that it was a success in that we were able to do Moringa presentations in the 13 communities, and we had significant crowds show up wherever we went.

We were able to discuss all the key points about Moringa, and the only thing we changed in our presentation was the nursery aspect. Instead of giving 200 plastic sacks with seeds to the school or a hospital, we decided to give them out individually. We felt this was easier, and more effective. The individuals would have a more vested interest in the upkeep of their own Moringa Tree. We couldn't give a tree to everyone in the audience, but we targeted village women, since they're the ones who do all the cooking and take care of the children.

In evaluating the outcome of the project, and expressing his appreciation for our support, William comments:

I appreciate everything Water Charity has done for the ride. Our purpose was to spread knowledge of this "Miracle Tree” in the Savannah region. I think it was important that we took the first step to talk about Moringa on such a grand scale. The spectacle of the presentations that we made in each of the 13 communities should lend some credibility to this tree.

What is coming up for the future? William reports:

Once my leg heals up, I will probably go back in a month and see how trees are progressing in the respective communities, as well as to leave an informational booklet on Moringa at the local health clinic.

Plans are underway for repeating this concept next year, to reach areas that the group was unable to include in the 2009 running.

This project has inspired Water Charity to begin a new initiative to promote the use of the Moringa tree in developing countries around the world. We are asking people who are involved in any aspect of the cultivation, dissemination, and use of Moringa to contact us and let us know what you are doing.

Moringa Ride Togo PresentationMoringa Tree Presentation - Togo

Moringa Tree Presentation - TogoMoringa - Togo

This project has now been fully funded, through the generosity of The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust as a part of their Clean Water Projects initiative.

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify Peace Corps Volunteer William Vu of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by William and/or those of his counterpart PCVs in Togo.