Until recently, Nuhu Mariama of Dorimon, Ghana, had only used moringa leaves sparingly in her cooking. Like many people in rural communities, she didn’t know about the potential of this “magic tree.”
That changed when Mariama learned about moringa’s medicinal, cosmetic and nutritional benefits from a Feed the Future training, where she also gained the skills to process the leaves into tea, oil, cosmetics and a porridge packed with protein and Vitamin A. She’s translated this know-how into improved health and income for her family.
“My children eat the moringa-based porridge almost daily,” Mariama said. “They are stronger and healthier than before.”
The transformation began when Mariama attended a moringa training where participants learned about its nutritional benefits as well as two methods of processing moringa: to pound seeds and boil them for oil, and to add shea butter and fragrance to pounded moringa leaves to produce pomade, soap and ointment.
Within two months of the training, Mariama felt confident enough to produce and sell moringa products. She first sold her products in weekly markets near home and later expanded to sell them at a coveted supply point in Wa, the regional capital.
Mariama and 11 other women then traveled to a national trade fair in Tamale that they learned about through the Feed the Future project. There, they learnedhow to better market their products — and realized their income potential.
“For my products, I made sales of about ($41.00 USD),” Mariama said. “It was an eye-opener.”
Mariama had previously struggled to earn an income and keep her five children healthy at the same time. Now, she earns enough to provide for them and make weekly deposits to an account she started with the Tiehinye Village Savings and Loan Association, a micro-finance management group.
Mariama plans to grow more moringa in her garden for cooking and to make moringa-based cosmetic products, including pomade, bathing gel and ointment.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity to generate income and support my family,” Mariama said.
Mariama’s customer base is growing, and she hopes to expand her business.
By spreading awareness of the economic and nutritional value of moringa and equipping people with the tools they need to process it, Feed the Future is helping rural women like Mariama improve their livelihoods and food security through this “magic tree” and other plants like it. The change doesn’t happen magically overnight, but with hard work, partnership and new opportunities, women around the world like Mariama are transforming their lives, families and communities.
The Feed the Future Agriculture and Natural Resource Management project, funded by the U.S. Agency of International Development and implemented by Winrock International, supports sustainable economic development and rural livelihoods and strengthens natural resource management in northern Ghana.