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Project Lifelong Trees

Project LifeLong trees uses breadfruits trees to fight malnutrition in under five children and promotes tree protection and afforestation.

Photo of Leonard Francis Vibbi

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 233 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry/undernourished in 2014-6. The 2017 Global Nutrition Report recorded 60 million under five children in Africa who are not growing properly. Out of the 60 million The World Bank reports 17.6 million children in Sub Saharan suffer from acute malnutrition. While United Nations report that 1 in every 12 children die before her/his fifth birthday. Overall provision of nutritious food for under five children lies at the main cause of malnutrition. Economic challenges also play a major role as mothers with under five children in rural communities do not have the income to provide regular nutritious food. Project Lifelong was developed to address the above cases of malnutrition in under five children. HOW IT STARTED Project Lifelong Trees started off as a deliberate intention to find a cheaper affordable and sustainable baby food formula to fight malnutrition in villages. What better source of food is there than a tree that bears fruits four times per year, edible, massive and protects the environment? The project which initially focused on picking of breadfruit fruits and processing it into local baby formula and sharing with mother of under five children has now expanded into community effort wherein the village stakeholders we work with, have now identified and declared the said trees protected. WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR Project Lifelong Trees has over the year been hosted in a small village in the Eastern province of Sierra Leone. The village is composes of around 600 people. We have set up a small cooperative group of 50 women with under five children. The cooperative works by searching for breadfruit tress, collection of fruits and locally processing it into baby formula for their children.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are under five children in villages and their mothers, who find it challenging to provide and feed their babies with nutritious baby food for healthy growth. We train lactating mothers how to process the breadfruit into high nutritious baby food. The training involves the identification of breadfruit trees, how to know the ready-to-process fruits, how to process the fruits into baby formula and how to store the food after processing. We also work with our small group of women cooperatives to involve local community leaders into making it a law to protect the bread fruit tress. In the future we will be working with these cooperatives in villages to plant more breadfruit trees. Our program has so far provided healthy food for the under five women and prevented our beneficiaries from going to hospitals as due to malnutrition cases for a little over a year now.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

What makes Project Lifelong Trees unique is the impact potential it has to fight malnutrition and hunger and at the same time promote afforestation. Project Lifelong Trees uses breadfruit trees to provide the raw materials for making nutritious baby food formula in villages. Trees have long life span and can outlive several generations, once they grow they do not need watering, weeding or fertilizers to grow. Furthermore the breadfruit tress bear edible fruits three to four times a year and one tree can bear over 500 fruits and can grow as big as a soccer ball. Project Lifelong will be more successful as compared to other initiatives such as the benin mix project or the Ready to Use Food (RUTF) in Africa because, it is source of raw material is from tress and also promote afforestation. Other similar initiatives heavily depends on cultivated agricultural products such as rice,sesame, or peanut that are often subject to scarcity and therefore makes it expensive to afford.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Our organization is composed of 50 women with under five children and we do not have a website URL yet. At the moment we are looking for the platform to show case our success story and to attract the right support to scale the project.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Project Lifelong Trees started off from a simple urge to find an affordable and cheaper source of rich nutrient formula to fight malnutrition in rural communities. Women with under five children in villages find it difficult to afford nutritious food for their children. As a result most children seen in these villages are stunted with protruded stomach and often end up not surviving their fifth birthdays.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Prosperity is influenced by the available resources that rural communities can make use of to support their livelihood. Project Lifelong Trees believe that communities can prosper when children grow healthy to become leaders in the future. Also both mothers and parents can always enjoy the peace of knowing that their under five children can have a meal everyday and can grow up without dying from malnutrition or grow stunted. It also demonstrate the usefulness of trees in rural communities. Hence it becomes easier to encourage these rural communities to cultivate trees in the future and replace those that are logged for timber. Project Lifelong Trees indeed will provide the bridge between prosperity, planet and peace by fighting malnutrition using breadfruit trees.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

At the moment we are working with just 50 women and also the community chiefs. The community we work in has seen many deaths of children and a visible display of malnourished children who have stunted growth. So they have the motivation to work to prevent their children from dying and to promote their healthy growth. Community chiefs talk to the youth in the village to assist the women to harvest the fruits. They also assist in the processing of the fruits. Processing involves cutting of the fruits, drying and pounding into powder form. The formula is prepared on a whole and then shared among the 50 women. Our beneficiaries then keep checking the trees from time to time to see if they are ready for harvest. Once they are ready they inform the chiefs and then the chiefs inform the youth to assist the our beneficiaries get the fruits.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The Kakayama community has many breadfruit trees and also women who are ready and willing to fight malnutrition. With the proven track record of kid growing up healthy over this one year, the village leaders have also come on board to declare the trees protected and prevent them from logging. Furthermore, there are also young people who always accompany our women members to climb these trees and also assist in collecting the fruits.

Geographic Focus

Project LifeLong Trees is executed in West Africa, Sierra Leone.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project will require three years to complete. In three years time Project Lifelong will like to set up a processing plants and train and empower women and youth to operate. The baby food produced will then be used to benefit at least 3,000 under five children in the Eastern Region of Sierra Leone.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of NDEF Cameroon

Hello Leonard Francis Vibbi,
We are eager to learn more on the progress of your work at Project Lifelong Trees. apart from the bread fruits, which other tree species are you using for reforestation?

Specifically for fruit trees, could you adopt vegetative propagation techniques such as grafting, marcotting and rooting of cuttings? Such plants would bear fruits in some cases in just two to three years rather than for periods up to five or ten years. In this way, young persons would be excited to plant trees which give results faster. With many trees planted, we could take advantage to place some beehives around the farms. Honey bees would increase pollination, thus increased food yields and honey production. Some livestock too could be added both for their intrinsic value and manure production. Such a mini agroforestry system created per farmer would be sustainable as symbiotic relations are created thus creating multiple streams of benefits in the long run. Kind regards. Pius for NDEF

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