|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.
We aim at developing - in a concerted way - the scientific research applied to high levels in order to enable the improvement of health conditions, knowledge and control of the environment and increase the general living standards of the population under a framework of sustainable and participatory development.
Results to achieve
- Ensuring that the partner institutions shall monitor - in a sustainable way - the management of applied research projects nd draw up and adopt coordinated and shared instruments and methods of research
- Livening up - at a pilot level - at least three new technologiese (e.g. for the drying of the Moringa Oleifera leaves, aimed at extracting the essential oil with supercritical CO2 for the manufacture of combustible packed earth bricks);
- Capitalizing and disseminating the main results of the action to the regional and international research institutions and local populations
Beneficiaries Direct beneficiaries:
- 1000 researchers and students provided by the coordinating research for the implementation of pilot projects in the field;
- 1600 members of the forestry micro-enterprises engaged in family-related economic exploitation of local plant resources (production of essential oils, Moringa leaf meal, cashew orchards, etc.).
Estimated total number of direct beneficiaries: 2600 people.
The 30.000 inhabitants of 40 villages involved in the research projects plus the 10,000 members of the scientific community who shall benefit from research results, for a total of 40,000 people.
Chad: N'djamena, Logone Valley.
Cameroon: Maroua, Ngaoundere, Logone Valley
During this three-year program, other interventions in specific areas have been made; such as the project “Nutrition, water and health: the commitment of the research in the fight against hunger, within a process of local natural resources exploitation in Chad and Cameroon” co-funded by the Milan Municipality, Direzione Centrale Salute.