Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Ms. Sandy Gershuny

Organization: World Foundation for Prosperity and Autonomy
Country: Canada
I am working on:

a project initiated originally in Lesotho, Southern Africa, which utilized leaves of local plants to produce a 'leaf extract' protein concentrate food supplement for underweight young children and mothers (pregnant and breastfeeding). An agriculture component of the project included micro finance support of up to 60 farmers (prioritizing women and youth) in the region surrounding each 'leaf extract' workshop, so that they would produce plants whose leaves would be sold to the extraction workshop; corn, beans and squash/pumpkins (the Three Sisters grown by indigenous North Americans); and other organic vegetables and herbs for sale or consumption. Various soil protective techniques would be learned by the potential farmers, as well as leadership attitudes and a cooperative marketing programme, in two workshops to be followed before receiving the financing. Further information available at elancanada

This member contributed to:

    • Good day,

      on behalf of the World Foundation for Prosperity and Autonomy, please find below the template of the nutrition project and a concepts expalining the background of the project.

      Thank you.

      S Gershuny for World Foundation for Prosperity and Autonomy

      ValDavid Quebec Canada J0T 2N0


      World Foundation for Prosperity and Autonomy

      Date/Timeframe and location

      2007-2009   Lesotho (district Teyateyaneng)

      Main responsible entity

      Local affiliated organization:  Canadian Centre for Prosperity and Autonomy Lesotho

      Nutrition context

      The organization focused on the nutritional status of young children considered underweight for their height and in particular with respect to a protein intake which would allow adequate growth and immune system development.  Many children, already having lacked this protein in childhood are identified as  'stunted' in their later childhood and teen years.

      Pregnant and nursing women were to be included in the project work in the intention of improving transmission of nutrients from mothers to children during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

      According to a basic project carried out by an organization 'Leaf for Life' in Central America an extract of leaves (ex. Alfalfa leaves) with a certain protein content could be used effectively as food supplement for the young children in a meal of carbohydrate (rice or sorghum..).

      Our project in the village of TY invited several local women to pick leaves of local plants, others to carry out the leaf extraction and drying of the supplement.

      An agreement through the Ministry of Health would allow children attending Mother and Child Health clinics to receive supplement initially  for a six month period.

      A second aspect of the project included the initiation of small agricultural businesses by families living around the area of the 'extraction' workshop, as a sustainable response to providing increased income to the families, group marketing strategies and the use of various soil protection and recovery techniques. (Please request our Concept note for further details)

      Key characteristics of the food system(s) considered

      The basic food system of Basotho people consists of a cereal made from maize meal ('papa') with a chopped and boiled vegetable known as 'moroho' which is called 'spinach' and is mainly made from leaves of swiss chard.  Without an addition of a meat or meat substitute source, which many cannot afford, complete protein and various vitamins and minerals can be lacking.   

      Key characteristics of the investment made

      Funds from a Canadian Rotary Club allowed for training of the group of women and initial payment of salaries.

      Current efforts by our international organization to provide the local organization with further funds would include micro finance funds for the rural families, improved equipment for the leaf extraction process, salaries for project managers in each of the country's ten districts, funds for periodic travel for monitoring and distance communication of the international organization.



      Cooperatives and Associations for Plant Production, Extraction and Transformation

      Based on research carried out by the British organization,”Find your Feet” and the U.S. “Leaf for Life” which showed that a protein-rich extract from alfalfa leaves, had the capacity to eliminate symptoms of acute malnutrition in a relatively short time period,  we have developed a programme for the production and distribution of a protein-rich leaf extract supplement for young children and pregnant women produced from leaves of  plants indigenous to the country.

      Associated with this programme, an agriculture development activity involving at least sixty farm families, living in the area surrounding the extraction workshop, will assume an objective of increasing household income and financial security, enabling these rural people to purchase foods not grown and other commodities required.

      Following a community stakeholders gathering, families interested in participating will contract to supply the workshop with a certain quantity of  (selected indigenous and grown plant leaves from one third of their field or garden).

      On another third of their land, they will grow maize, a staple food plant usually grown as a mono crop, intercropped with beans and pumpkins or squashes from non-treated seeds for a potential organic market. The final third will be planted with organic herbs (to be packaged) or vegetables again for an organic market.

      Area coordinators (local women), who will receive appropriate training at the beginning of the project work, will be enabled to encourage the farmers and gardeners to plant certain leguminous trees around their gardens or fields (to increase water retention and put minerals into the soil), utilize drip irrigation equipment, save seeds and sell them, find ways of transforming cultivated vegetables to innovative products for market, conduct group consultation sessions about marketing and report to the NGO consultant about achievements and any particular challenges encountered.   Negotiation by the consultant with a local bank for the coordination of a small micro-finance fund will allow start-up of each farm household with untreated seeds, compost, fencing, etc.  With the assistance of the area coordinator and assistants, farmers will write a brief description, expected costs and revenues paper about their proposed agriculture project to be approved by the NGO projects committee, in addition to attending a basic training session before receiving initial funds.

      The leaf extraction workshop, under the guidance of the area coordinator, will hire four to six local women to receive leaves from the farmer families, produce the leaf protein concentrate using basic equipment, distribute to up to five hundred children and pregnant women in their locality, and offer (nutrition and agriculture) education workshops to the parents of children and pregnant women receiving supplement.

      An initial baseline survey of the nutritional/health status of children and pregnant women to receive supplement, as well as a household income survey of participating farmer households, undertaken by the consultant from the organization 'World Foundation for Prosperity and Autonomy', will be followed up after each six months of the programme and a comprehensive report shared with implicated stakeholders.

      As the small agricultural projects begin to prosper, farmer contributions to a common fund will allow the initiation of community support projects (according to a system referenced in the book “Foundations for World Unity” ) for  vulnerable members like orphans, elderly and the sick decided upon by the participating farmers.