Food & Health Security

Project Director Angella Marcel with a Moringa plant
Project Director Angella Marcel with a Moringa plant
Students watering Moringa plants at Nadosoito Primary School
Students watering Moringa plants at Nadosoito Primary School
Training beginning in permaculture techniques
Training beginning in permaculture techniques

Chakula na Dawa Usalama - Terrawatu's 20th Anniversary Project - which means 'Food and Medicine/Health Security' in Swahili

Since its birth, Terrawatu has worked with local communities to educate about environmental conservation, the importance of reforestation and cultivation of plants for both medicinal and nutritional purposes. The Mkonoo Women's Collective has had a tree-planting network for over 17 years and visitors to their village can see the results of their efforts in the re-forested lands.

In 2018, Terrawatu partnered with JSFoundation to introduce the cultivation and processing of Moringa into the community. The Moringa tree (Moringa oleifera), or so-called miracle tree, is a plant that provides people, animals and the earth with a variety of gifts. Among its multiple uses are: improving malnutrition, building the immune system, enhancing milk production in cattle & pregnant women, tackling soil erosion and providing shade. Processed into oil, soap, tea leaves, powder and more, Moringa cultivation and production can help improve livelihoods. Cultivation of Moringa plants in Terrawatu's partner orphanages, schools and Mkonoo Women's network has been proceeding since 2018.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the Tanzania tourism industry, the biggest part of the economy in the region where Terrawatu operates. The trickle-down effect of almost no cash income coming into the communities hit villagers hard.

In August of 2020, Terrawatu decided to launch a new project to train local community members in permaculture techniques that they can use on their own plots of land to feed themselves and their families. Permaculture simulates, or directly utilizes, the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems.

Terrawatu has decided to focus its efforts in 2021 – our 20th Anniversary Year – on training and guiding local community members in permaculture techniques, moringa and other medicinal plant cultivation and processing, and improving nutrition and cooking practices at our partner orphanages, schools and Mkonoo Women's Network.

The Chakula na Dawa Usalama project is Terrawatu's Signature Project. Meaning 'Food & Medicine/Health Security' in Swahili, the project harnesses our long-time experience in tree-planting, moringa and other medicinal plant cultivation, new farming techniques, and health, nutrition and cooking classes.

We expect to reach more than 200 women, 50 orphans, as well as other villagers who want to learn the techniques. Participants will gain new knowledge and skills in farming, nutrition, medicinal plants, and sustainable agricultural practices. The permaculture demonstration farm is already producing fruits and vegetables and a recipe book is currently under development with our partner Chef Namaste. Our expectation in the long term is that community members will be able to sell surplus products for additional income and the Chakula na Dawa Usalama project becomes a model to be replicated in communities throughout the region.

To support Terrawatu's Signature Project go to our Giving Page.