MORINGA SEED - Planting hope for the future

The 8th graders of Ein Gedi Regional High School have enjoyed amazing success with their research into the super food Moringa. Sustainable Development Goals of the Global Schools network together with the UN ..... read on to learn more.

This is the first year that the Ein Gedi Regional High School took part in the ISDG programme. Over the past few months (despite the COVID) the 8th graders learned and researched the difficulties and challenges that face the world’s population and the 17 goals set by the UN to reduce these difficulties by 2030.  The opportunity to make an impact was real and together with group leaders from the Arava International Centre for Agriculture Training (AICAT) the team got to work. The centre trains over 1000 students annually from Academic Institutes in three different programmes.  The students arrive from 14 developing countries in Africa and South East Asia.  The programme is based on the principle of ‘Learning by Doing’, practical training on an advanced and modern farm combines with theoretical studies.  The group leaders from Kenya related the harsh conditions at the refugee camps in Kenya and this brought the youngsters to the venture of the Moringa seed.

Moringa Oleifera: Moringa is a tropical tree that can grow with little water and survive in harsh conditions. The tree produces large and long pods. (figure 1) The entire parts of the tree are edible and contain high concentrations vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin A, C Calcium and Iron. The Moringa tree originates from the slopes of the Himalayas in northern India but is now widespread as an agricultural crop throughout India, Southeast Asia, most of Africa and Central and South America. The moringa tree needs a temperature of over 20 degrees Celsius. When the temperature drops below this threshold the tree goes into a winter hibernation and returns to bloom with the arrival of spring. The famous moringa oil is produced from the dried seeds and considered an excellent solution for treating skin lesions. The oil is used in the cosmetics industry. Grounded Moringa seeds are also used to purify polluted water and turn them into high quality drinking water. Moringa is considered in folk medicine as a miracle tree that treats a variety of medicinal problems. It has anti-inflammatory properties and cures arthritis, balances sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, treats Osteoporosis, and has high values of Omega 3.

The youngsters offer a mechanism for removing contaminants in water using Moringa seed powder. Moringa seed powder contains positively charged proteins to which the negatively charged contaminants bind and form lumps that sink to the bottom of the vessel. The use of moringa powder is environmentally friendly and economically efficient since the powder can be used from the remnants of the production of moringa oil. The combination of available material at an extremely low price makes it possible to purify water in developing populations and improve the quality of life for humans.

The venture

The proposal is to plant moringa oleifera in schools and other open spaces throughout refugee camps and create community moringa gardens that are open to the public. The Moringa will be raised by school-age girls and boys who will be trained to do so. These girls and boys will be responsible for managing the crop and distributing the seeds and leaves in a fair and responsible manner so as not to deplete this resource. The seeds will be distributed to families who will grind them into a powder which will be used to purify their drinking water. As a second phase of the project, each family will receive a drying net for the moringa leaves that can be placed in the shade. The dried leaves will be added to the food in order to supplement the diet with vitamins and minerals. The main sustainable development goal that the venture addresses is clean water and sanitation, but at the same time it also helps to achieve good health and well-being, quality education, professional training, gender equality, and sustainable communities (six out of 17 goals)

Moringa plant project

Ein Gedi High School 8th graders won first place in the UN programme and will soon be on their way to Italy to present the  project to the UN panel.  From there they hope to go to Kenya to oversee the founding of the project and it success.  The Tamar Regional Council is extremely proud of the school and the students for the success of such an important project during the time of COVID.  


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