Lemongrass against Malaria
Lemongrass has been used for centuries as insect repellent, pesticide, and antiseptics. This project seeks to show that lemongrass might also be an effective agricultural weapon against malaria.
Lemongrass against malaria
The commonly used lemongrass known by its scientific name as Cymbopogon citratus is a perennial tall grass with multiple end-uses. The uses of lemongrass stretch from food, pharmaceutical, to cosmetic industries. Essential oil derived from lemongrass has been used for centuries as insect repellent, pesticide, as well as antiseptics. Among insects affected by lemongrass are mosquitoes, the main carriers and transmitters of malaria to humans. While this connection was scientifically established, limited to no efforts have been made to utilize lemongrass in the fight against malaria, at least on the African continent, which leads the world in malaria cases. Given that the current strategies of prevention and treatment of malaria are costly and don’t offer even coverage, sustainable and cost effective solutions are urgently needed, especially in poor rural communities where health care is limited. Broad and diverse uses of lemongrass in these communities might just be such an alternative. The proposed pilot project “lemongrass against malaria” (LAM) aims to assess the effectiveness of lemongrass against malaria. It will be carried out in Central African Republic (CAR). Lemongrass production and processing will take place at the agricultural resources and research center (ARRC) located 22 kilometers on the outskirts of Bangui the capital of CAR. ARRC is the site where Integrated Community Development International (ICDI) a US Non-governmental organization carries out agriculture and agricultural development and food security programming to address the issues of hunger and malnutrition in CAR.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in the world but more particularly in Africa. According to the world health organization (WHO) world malaria report 2011, there were an estimated 655,000 malaria deaths in 2010, of which 91% were in Africa. Children under five years of age (future generation) are disproportionally killed by Malaria.
Malaria robs agriculture and economic workforce in that when able-bodied people get sick they cannot participate in livelihood activities. Thus malaria is a contributing factor to food insecurity and poverty. Strategies to prevent or treat malaria are costly and some solutions are unsustainable and/or toxic. Mosquitoes are fast developing resistance to numerous chemical sprays on the market today.
The main activities of this pilot project will consist of producing lemongrass through bio intensive methods. By-products such as powder, oil and fresh or air-dried leaves will be obtained using natural processing means. The project will be safe in that it will primarily rely on the insect repelling properties of lemongrass as a whole plant or derived by-products and not involve clinical experimentation on humans or animals. ICDI is already growing lemongrass on its agriculture center. Additionally ICDI agriculture technicians possess the know-how to produce and process lemongrass into various by-products. There are youth (under 18 year old) gardeners and farmers who are ready and eager to participate in the project. Land and climatic conditions are favorable to lemongrass production.
Project goals and objectives
Goal: Eradicate malaria in rural Africa while improving income of smallholder farmers
Objective 1: produce and process lemongrass into various by-product
Objective 2: disseminate lemongrass shoots and by-products to households in rural communities
Objective 3: educate communities to the end-uses of lemongrass
Objective 4: assess lemongrass impact on reduction of malaria incidences in target households
Objective 5: develop and market lemongrass and its byproducts (leaves, tea, and oil)
Project anticipated results
Result 1: lemongrass production, processing, and utilization increased
Result 2: community awareness on the malaria prevention through lemongrass increased
Result 3: cases of malaria in target communities reduced
Result 4: lemongrass producers and processors income increased
Project implementation Approach
The project seeks to enroll youth working already as part of gardening/farming cooperatives in the rural area neighboring ICDI’s ARRC. These youth will participate in production of lemongrass as well as processing of its by-products. The core activities will consist of building living fences of lemongrass around homes or livestock shelters. In the yards where people congregate lemongrass can be planted as herb garden in raided or surface beds. Furthermore lemongrass can be planted as potted ornamentals. Air-dried leaves can be hung in bedrooms allowing them to dispense insect repellent scent. Care will be taken to replace frequently dried leaves with fresh batches to maintain constant flow of mosquito repellent scent. Once essential oils can be successfully derived, it will be used as ointment. Excess production of lemongrass will be sold on the market to generate income for participating households. The phase I of this pilot project will be an experimental phase. It will consist of 25 households initially for 12 months. Phase II will be an expansion phase. It will be carried out once sufficient success can be demonstrated at phase I. In addition to being associated with production and processing of lemongrass the selected youth will also assist ICDI technical field agents in data collection. This project will be managed as a special project under ICDI agricultural program. Data collected will be systematically analyzed and results will be measured against anticipated outputs and baselines to be established before project start-up. Regular evaluations will be carried out by the ICDI agriculture program management team to ensure good resource use, a draft report sent to funders according to an agreed upon timetable.
- This pilot project is not a clinical trial
- This pilot project does not discourage currently approved means of preventing and treating malaria but rather seeks to complement them
- Target households will cooperate and participate willingly and honestly in the project
- No apparent social, cultural, and political limiting factors to this project can be identified at this time
The total budget for this 12-month pilot project is estimated at $30,000 broken down in the following expense categories:
(Youth) Stipends: $ 3,850
Materials & equipment: $11,100
Travels & Training: $6,410
Monitoring & Evaluation: $3,400
Administrative support: $5,240
Got a suggestion on how to make this idea even better?REMIX IT!
- Embed video from services like YouTube, Vimeo & Flickr