Project 58: Improving the health of learners with medicinal plants in North Benin (2nd phase)

Country(ies) involved: Benin Children and youngsters supported: 8675

Improving the health of learners with medicinal plants in North Benin (2nd phase)

Country: Benin
Beneficiairies: 8 schools and 4 colleges: 8 675 learners and teachers
Budget: € 116 910

Project

In Benin, 36% of the hospitalisations are due to malaria. Malaria remains a deadly disease, treated officially through the distribution of bed-nets, early diagnosis tests and medication, which are too expensive for a large part of the population. These official means are also plagued by resistances. Conversly, the Artemisia annua plant has multiple effects (repellent, prophylaxis, healing) and is effective against a whole series of other infectious tropical diseases. It can be grown by everyone and it needs limited cultivation area to support a family.

The IDAY network has experience in the cultivation and use of Artemisia annua as an infusion, and recommends disseminating the plant together with other medical or highly nutritious plants through schools to monitor the spread and get the youth used to the usage of these plants.

During the first phase of the project, Artemisia annua was tested in the school gardens of 4 schools. Its efficacy against malaria and other tropical infectious diseases was confirmed, and as a result it had a positive impact on the improvement of academic performance.

In this second project phase, Artemisia annua will be produced in part for commercial purposes in one agricultural centre equipped with irrigation and a storage facility that will be made accessible to the population for their Artemisia annua production. The crop will also be planted in 8 schools and 4 high schools across 4 provinces as showcases for future expansion to all the schools of the area. Medical tests will be carried out before and after the se of Artemisia annua to verify its efficacy. Other plants, such as Moringa oelifera, will also be introduced in the school gardens.

The schools will be selected on the grounds of the agricultural skills of the teachers and their commitment to train learners who will, in turn, share their knowledge with peers from other schools.

The project also comprises support to the administration of the IDAY-Benin coalition to ensure that the project is sustainable, raise awareness among the authorities and supervise and evaluate the activities. It also contains a token support to IDAY-International to supervise all similar operations in Africa and promote the interests of the members of the network at international level.

Goals

  • Introduce 8000 students and 675 teachers, parents and gardeners who will specialise in raising and using Artemisia annua and help extend the crop to the whole population.
  • Improve the academic performance in 8 schools and 4 colleges.
  • Produce Artemisia annua tea and capsules sold at low cost to the local population through 1 agricultural centres.
  • Convince the authorities of the advantages of this method to fight malaria and other tropical infectious diseases.
  • Prepare phase III in other schools in the area and at national scale.
  • At international level, obtain the recognition of the superiority of method to fight malaria.

Expected results

  • Production of Artemisia annua to protect students and teachers against malaria and other infectious diseases. Production of seed, plants and cuttings for other interested schools and neighbouring farmers.
  • Improvement of school results and reduction of the rate of school dropouts.
  • Drop in the health costs in the region
  • Production of Artemisia capsules or tea for sale
  • The members of IDAY-Benin know how to cultivate and use the plant.
  • The school personnel of the participating schools is trained.
  • The health and education authorities are made aware of the advantages of Artemisia annua for education and public health, and they support the need to spread the crop in schools.

The project prepares the scaling up of the crops in other schools of the selected areas.

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