In this year’s German-Zambian student competition of the initiative “Students4Kids” the Jury decided to reward two project teams for their outstanding ideas. Both projects, “For Zambia by Zambians”, which promotes the cultivation of fiber bananas to increase the variety of food, as well as “Samaki”, a re-circulating aquaculture system, won a grant of € 10,000, funded by the Assmann-Foundation for Prevention. Third finalist, “Insectus”, developed lowcost insect-farms to supplement the Zambian diet with micronutrient-rich soldier fly larvae.
At the “Students4Kids”-Summit, Daniel Cardenas, a Mexican exchange student from the University of Applied Sciences Mainz, presented the the idea of his project team to the audience.
Fiber bananas are rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese and zinc and also nutritionally valuable by its high proportion of fibrous materials. As water-storing and water-saving plant, it can be perfectly combined with maize and coffee. The fiber banana Ensete has already been tested in Ethiopia. Since Ensete is sturdy and easy to grow, it can provide a sustainable support for the region, so that in the long term it is expectable that the plant contributes to the independence of the cultivation area from imports and other external assistance.
Whether the consumption of Ensete will effectively help to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in Zambia, will depend to a large extent on the marketing of nutritional diversity. The project team of “For Zambia by Zambians” from Mainz will try out whether common communication channels in Zambia such as smartphones or digital radio can promote the acceptance of a more diverse daily diet, which is rich in micronutrients.
At the “Students4Kids”-Summit, Nils Namockel, a student from the RWTH Aachen, presented the concept of his team to the audience.
The “Samaki” idea is a solar-based, re-circulating fish tank, which has been developed by a student group of Enactus Aachen for developing countries. The fish tanks can help to rapidly improve the nutritional status of Zambian children and their families, through the efficient and pragmatic extension of fish supply. The selected fish species tilapia is considered robust and micronutrient-rich at the same time. Furthermore, “Samaki” already made good experiences with these types of fish farms in Tanzania, Uganda and Benin.
The project group will set up a website in order to inform the Zambian smallholder families about the construction and maintenance of these fish farms as well as the potential of fish-based, micronutrient-rich diets.
“Students4Kids” will report on the progress of the project on this website and on Facebook at irregular intervals.