Tree-planting season in Senegal is upon us! Every year during the rainy season, CREATE!‘s partner communities participate in an annual tree-planting campaign. Each community plants an average of 3,000 trees for food, windbreak, shade, and firewood. One of these is called moringa, a miraculous tree that aids the improvement of nutrition and health in rural Senegal.
The “Never Die” Tree
In Senegal, moringa is known as the nebedaye or “never die” tree. This tree not only survives in poor soil and the harsh climate of the desert, but also improves the quality of the land. Many of our partner communities are working with poor soil conditions due to past monoculture in the area. However, with richer land, communities can grow a wider variety of vegetables. Families can improve their health day after day with a fresh and diverse diet!
Along with environmental benefits, the moringa tree has exceptional nutritional value. Former Senegal Peace Corps volunteer, Lauren Seibert, describes the nutritional benefits in her article “In Senegal, A Tree of Life Nurtures the Poor.”
These benefits include:
- 7x the vitamin C in oranges
- 4x the calcium in milk
- 2x the protein in milk
- 3x the potassium in bananas
- Contains vitamin E, magnesium, and iron
Improving Nutrition & Health
“Moringa has enormous potential,” Says CREATE!‘s Country Director, Omar Seck. “To continue improving food security and the diet of our beneficiaries, CREATE! works with communities to plant more than 2,500 moringa trees per year in sites and homes.” It’s important to have tree-planting campaigns that further improve nutrition in addition to our year-round sustainable agriculture programs.
Many families face the challenges of food insecurity and malnutrition in rural Senegal. However, this is where moringa can make the most significant as a natural source of vitamins and nutrients. As stated in Seibert’s article, moringa leaves can be consumed whole or as a powder. They can also easily be incorporated into traditional Senegalese dishes as a nutritious or even health beneficial addition.
In Senegal, access to medical treatment is often limited in rural areas depending on the region. However, this is where the medicinal properties of moringa come into play. In her article, Seibert describes the many health benefits of moringa. For example, one of the benefits she mentions is how moringa leaves mixed with coconut milk and honey is a natural remedy for diarrhea, dysentery, and colitis. It is crucial to treat these conditions because they can often be lethal, especially to young children and older adults.
The Availability of Moringa
Today, this miraculous tree now grows outside families homes in rural communities thanks to the annual tree-planting campaign. Imagine having all of that potential right outside your door? This means easier access to improved nutrition and health for people of all ages!
This rainy season, we are looking forward to improving conditions in rural Senegal through the spread of moringa. With your help, our partner villages will plant 2,500 moringa trees this year. Join us in improving food security and health in rural Senegal by supporting the 2019 tree-planting campaign!