A Pumpkin a Day Keeps Death away

Short description

Around 795 million people worldwide are suffering from hunger, a large part of them living in Africa. This global problem can be countered by nutrient-rich crops in Côte d’Ivoire.

Which problem do we aim to solve and why?

Although Côte d’Ivoire is one of the economically strongest East African countries, the population is struggling with food shortages. Especially infants suffer. Out of every 1000 infants, an average of 92.6 children die before they reach the age of 5. We want to combat child mortality through our project.

Our solution

The project consists of the following interconnected components:

  1. The creation of a compost, which after a certain time generates natural fertilizer, which is added to the planting soil. This offers the possibility to reuse organic waste environmentally friendly.
  2. Construction of greenhouses from plastic bottles. These can be built with simple means: wooden plates and rods, empty plastic bottles and a few tools. Advantages for this are: cost-effective construction which can be easily built up without prior knowledge. The use of plastic bottles not only protects plants in the greenhouse from the weather, but also makes an important contribution to environmental protection. In Côte d’Ivoire, plastic waste is a major problem. The reuse of bottles removes plastic waste from within the country as well as the Atlantic.
  3. The central point in the control of nutrient deficiencies is the successful cultivation of the Cucurbita moschata pumpkin. For this, nutrient-rich compost and the greenhouse provide the best conditions. The warm and humid climate in large parts of the Côte d’Ivoire provides ideal conditions for the growth of the pumpkins. These pumpkins can be processed and consumed in various ways (peel, pulp, seeds). But even more important: they contain minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and vitamin A / B1 / B2 / B6 and folic acid.

Why is our idea innovative, new and different?

Due to the fact that different components complement each other in combating nutrient deficiencies in Côte d’Ivoire, the project achieves many positive side effects. Besides using the Moschata pumpkin for self-supply, it is possible to obtain oil from the seeds, thus generating additional income. In addition, the SODIS effect, by fixing the water-filled plastic bottles on the greenhouse roof, offers the advantage that the UV-A radiation of the sun light kills germs. This prevents infection with widespread pathogens (cholera, diarrheal diseases).

How is our idea feasible?

The project can be implemented cost-effectively, since only renewable raw materials and PET bottles are used on site. In addition, only a few tools (screwdrivers, hammers) are required. Furthermore, many local people can participate and contribute to the success of the project in the long term.

Which technologies, channels or methods are we planning to use?

We have deliberately decided to develop a technologically simple project, since complex technologies can hinder the project in the long term. Besides the distribution to locals and communication with the population through mass media and social networks, no further measures are necessary.

What outcome and what improvements do we expect? How do we measure these?

The primary objective of the project is to reduce the rate of child mortality. This is measured by statistics, as well as medical examinations by doctors. In addition, a healthy diet is the basis for a longer life expectancy. Through the SODIS effect and the concomitant killing of germs, the number of infections is reduced. Finally, the environmental pollution caused by plastic bottles is decisively reduced by the construction of the greenhouses.

Our budget planning & acquisition of potential partners

Due to the free recycling of PET bottles and the cheap materials, the costs for the project are limited. We invest a portion of the budget for large amounts of moschata pumpkin seeds. Moreover, transport of the seeds into Côte d’Ivoire will incur costs.

Potential partners could be: the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (German university), the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ), the German NGO “Welthungerhilfe” (literally: world hunger relief) and the World Food Program of the UN.

A Pumpkin a Day Keeps Death away

Team:   Fisnik Hasani, Andreas Braun

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