|Nature and Science in cooperation|
|Objectives and Results|
Applied research for the exploitation and processing of natural resources within a pathway of poverty reduction in Chad and Cameroon
The innovative spirit of this program is an interdisciplinary approach that sees ACRA working alongside different universities in Chad, Cameroon and Italy that shall strive together in the development of scientific research - directly field-tested through pilot projects - which are aimed at a sustainable development of the communities and exploitation of natural resources locally available.
The nutritional and therapeutic properties of some plants (especially the Moringa Oleifera and neem) backed up by research and scientific experimentation, may in fact be an aid for solving endemic problems relating to health and food safety. The pilot projects shall address the following research avenues:
- production and certification of Moringa Oleifera leaf meal for the treatment of child malnutrition
- production - with the supercritical CO2 technology - of plant extracts from local plants for herbal and pharmacological use;
- water purification through the use of Moringa Oleifera
- manufacture of compressed earth blocks in order to limit fuel consumption of firewood.
Chad and Cameroon are characterized by different levels of poverty, however, the intervention area - which straddles the two countries and whose border is marked by the Logone river - is united by the same problems and presents similar social, cultural and economic characteristics.In the Valley of the Logone there is a strong population growth (more than 50% are under 20 years of age) that does not follow an adequate supply of food. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line, in conditions of chronic food insecurity and difficult access to drinking water sources. The most vulnerable groups affected by the consequences of malnutrition and waterborne diseases are pregnant women and children. ACRA has been intervening for years in this area with various programs aimed at the protection and enhancement of local plant resources (such as the Moringa Oleifera, neem, the cashew and Acacia gummifera Willd) through the strengthening of local expertise in the environment management. The populations’ level of appropriation of certain technical innovations is still low. Currently, in fact, the scientific panorama of the project area suffers the following problems: lack of staff, weak coordination of research on specific topics, difficulty to work in interdisciplinary teams, lack of funding, not sufficiently equipped laboratories and so on. Through the strengthening of the scientific research and the joint effort among research institutions of the South-Sahelian countries we aim at improving the nutritional, health, economic and social conditions of populations.