Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers

by Tikondane Community Centre
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Finding a balanced diet for Zambian villagers
Aids counsellor and facilitator
Aids counsellor and facilitator

This project lasted a year and three months. On testing for the fifth quarter, we found that the people who participated in it continued to follow that balanced diet we had recommended to them. This included eating Moringa leaves with peanuts or legumes to provide protein which was not affordable, like meat and eggs.

That this diet had an effect was clearly shown by the comparison of weights in March 2019, which was a normal ‘hunger month’ and those of March 2020 with a severe hunger period. Even though the 2020 hunger period was severe, people who had followed the recommended diet, were heavier than in the previous year. Those people who did not mention eating Moringa, had lost weight.

We took weights one more time, after the previous report, and found that all people had gained weight. This was not unexpected as June is the best month in the year with the harvest is coming in. Perhaps the most valuable result of this project is that in this very traditional society so many people had accepted and continued to follow this new diet. In other words, there is a change of mindset.

Thank you all for your wonderful and in some cases continuing help! It could not have come at a better time, just before covid-19 which resulted in Tikondane Community Centre losing all the income from the lodge and restaurant and us having to rush our overseas volunteers to the airport and cancel all the bookings for the year. Our director also had to cancel her fund-raising trip.

As it happened, Tiko under-fives did not suffer from malnutrition, which is another indication that our balanced diet works. We did not have to hand out ONENEPA. With the next crowdfunding project we wanted to demonstrate that our supplement does help not only to prevent the descent into moderate malnutrition, as we did in our first project, but does reduce mortality and manage severe malnutrition.

But sadly, with Covid-19 we first have to see to it that our crew of 75 make up for the loss of income by doubling their efforts in their fields, which is our next Crowdfunding project ‘Beating Covid-19 and climate change resilience for 75 families’, so this comes first.


Our Budget

3 Moringa tree seedlings for each family: 210 $

Moringa powder for all the families for 10 weeks: 1 000 $

1 kg Groundnuts for 75 families for 70 weeks:  2 800 $

Stationery: 500 $

Radio 14 months, half re balanced diet: 467 $

Care of pairs of scales: 233 $

One facilitator x 14 months: 280 $                                                              

Seeds of groundnut for next year: 1 050 $  

Sum: 6 540 $
(The budget count was made before the latest two donations, hence the difference - no money will be wasted!)

Thanks to our donors, the GlobalGiving Team and their platform, we could raise the funding goal two times and now reached it again. We will try to make a smooth transition to the next project No. 3 "Beating Covid-19 with climate change resilience", which is in the making.

livestock manager with 2 kids, now eating well
livestock manager with 2 kids, now eating well
Cook is inviting people to Moringa plus Nsinjiro
Cook is inviting people to Moringa plus Nsinjiro
Tiko night watchman with his wife, (grand)children
Tiko night watchman with his wife, (grand)children
Above: Moringa tree in full leaf. Ready to harvest
Above: Moringa tree in full leaf. Ready to harvest
Coppiced moringa trees being pruned.
Coppiced moringa trees being pruned.


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Final report on Tikondane Foundation’s second crowdfunding project


CROWDFUNDING project No 1 provided a strong evidence that ONENEPA, a supplement to combat malnutrition, was successful in reducing malnutrition of children under-five in the villages, but it was observed that food, including ONENEPA, was shared amongst the family members.

This second project focused on the role of ONENEPA to reduce malnutrition of the family. For one year, 75 Tiko crew members, with an average of 7 dependent family members, were weighed and interviewed every three months, while being given 1 kg of a legume every week, plus, leaves from the moringa trees. The Tiko crew had planted the latter in previous years with a view of harvesting leaves, which provide a wide range of the vitamins, minerals, and protein necessary for the balanced diet.

In order to find out whether the new diet would make a difference, it was assumed that people who ate additional protein would lose less weight than others did in the hungry season before the next harvest, i.e. in March. This hypothesis was strongly confirmed. Over a year, 44 complete sets of data showed that 22 people gained weight in the lean season compared to that a year earlier, although this year the harvest was an especially bad one and few crops had lasted for the year. The weight of 15 crew members did not change and 7 lost weight. From the interviews about what they had eaten the previous day, only one of the 7 who had lost weight mentioned eating moringa plus a legume. This indicated a significant difference between those who gained weight or did not change and the 7 who had lost weight. The trend is significant.

It is also likely that the diet with added protein also had a positive effect on the under-fives. In the absence of control groups for the adults, the results are not conclusive, however in both control groups of the under-fives 30% of the children had malnutrition, whereas none of the Tiko children were malnourished and thus did not need ONENEPA to supplement their diet. Children who came to Tiko half-way through the year benefitted from ONENEPA as a supplement.

In conclusion, it will be worthwhile to teach the rural population in Katete District and further afield about the advantages of the improved nutrition, which results from eating moringa with any type of leguminous foodstuff. This change will be of benefit to all children, but especially so to those under five, and to adults.

With the global pandemic threats, such as currently the COVID-19, providing such a cheap balanced diet, which improves significantly the immune system, is especially beneficial for the heavily malnutritioned local population.

Tikondane Community Centre

Date: 12 May 2020




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Work on our project started even before the donation reached the hoped-for total of 5,000 $. We thank the donors for the 3,508 $ received to date.

The aim of the project is to introduce a balanced diet to people in the Katete District of Zambia. Most of the people eat nsima, (porridge) made from maize meal, three times a day therefore their diet is deficient in the proteins and vitamins which are essential to them and in particular to their children. Those involved in our survey grow as much of their food as possible, but the increasing unreliability of the rainfall in recent years has resulted in more and longer hunger seasons.

Our previous project tested our nutritional supplement, ONENEPA. For a group of young children under five we found that it promoted growth and they added weight while maintaining appetite. As nutrition is a family matter, we are now working with whole families to find out whether they will achieve a balanced diet by growing the necessary vegetables and Moringa trees in their gardens. Moringa leaves and fruit have the highest vitamin and minerals content of any vegetable product, plus one essential amino-acid that is missing from groundnuts and other legumes. They also ad nitrates to the soil. For the project, we gave one kilo of legume to the families, plus Moringa, if their own trees were not big enough or had no leaves at the time.

We are doing the fourth weigh-in just now. This is what we find:

1. Lean times in Katete finish at harvest time about April/May and there should be enough food till December, but in 2019 the hunger started in October. (Over the years, Tiko has always provided hunger help from about January, but this time started in November, with only 25 kg of mealiemeal per family). So, assessing the effect of providing additional protein is counteracted by earlier hunger times than in the past. One way to check would be how often the crew members were sick. Analysis of the data will start when the raw data have been digitalized, which is happening now, as Tiko has just been happy to find a new intern who not only seems capable, but likes doing that sort of work. His name is Blessings.

2. Questionnaires and anecdotal information indicate that the crew did eat Moringa regularly as well as cowpeas, which would indicate great progress. Any change of mindset is a miraculous. Before there was only rape and dried pumpkin leaves and vegetable being seen as something unimportant and fruit important at best for children.

3. As to using the foodbox for extra food for the under-five children, results are not clear. Questionnnaires say they are used, but anecdotal information says people use the new containers more for carrying food around for the adults.

4. As to the weight-gains of the children according to the clinical under-five cards, again results that would predict normal development with proper food as provided by Moringa and legume, are marred by the lack of food from October..Out of 38 under-five children, 22 are fully above average or at least in the right direction, nine are below average, but not descending lower and only seven would raise an eyebrow of the clinician, none of them to be sent to the clinic, though. The results from the smaller control group are not yet available, as the early childhood centre is opening just now only. The only statistic we have is that in Katete district 43% of children are stunted in growth, which means not only less than potential height, but also medical problems. More information on that will come from the interviews, and in fact, anything conclusive will only be available from an additional weigh-in in April, if not July, when sufficient food supplies should have normalized weights and the comparison with last April would indicate the impact of famine minus the mitigation of Moringa plus legume. We wished we had started with the weights of adults of our other groups that do not get extra help as control groups, but that would need more money.

5. We would love to ask your feedback on:

  • extending the present study for another half year and
  • to include other groups for controls

6. One unexpected finding is that the Tiko crew is very much united and aware of fighting the general malaise of famine. It is a pleasure to be here and part of it is due to your help.

Zikomo kwambiri, thanks so much,


Not part of this GlobalGiving project, but an annual celebration for the community is our Christmas party with singing, dancing and games, the distribution of donated second hand shoes and clothes. The highlight of course is the feast of heaps of nsima, rice, two vegetables and meat!

A little extra is attached with our Christmas "report" by Elke to share more about life of Tiko and the crew.


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Crowdfunding number two: First report

It is three months since this project became public, but we have hardly received any contributions –

Why? Friends of Tiko do not yet know about the CROWDFUNDING PROJECT because

a)       Our newsletter had been delayed, as I was out of the country

b)      Then Lorraine, our wonderful editor for many years fell and badly broke her back and is only just now starting to smile again, but certainly not sitting and typing

c)       Claire, who kindlily took over, found that a job, a full-time study, an energetic toddler and a travelling husband make for long delay – the newsletter it due any day, please write to me at  if you would like to know what kept us so busy (our newsletter are also available here:on our website )

d)      On our end, ‘load-shedding’ of 16 hours a day and more on weekends did not help communication – we just learn that it will be three more hours!

We were to start this crowdfunding project properly a month ago, when there was another interruption: One intensive rainfall of two days seemed to start the rainy season at least six weeks early and immediately the crew  were given two days off a week to work in their fields and distribution of first seeds for planting was started. Since, we have had nothing but extremely hot days, though.

Last week weigh-ins have started. Yet, the project is more timely now than ever.


The food situation in the country is dismal. Although the Eastern Province was less unfortunate than the rest who had a devastating drought, our harvest is never enough to last until the next harvest and – we did not manage to buy enough crops to help out till next April – there simply was not enough to buy!  A way of finding a balanced diet with the limited supplies is more important than ever.

We have started interviews and have called in the under-five cards.

Results so far

We have baseline data of our crew from March/April and can compare their information on their ‘yesterday’s diet’ with that of the village women we interviewed in our first crowdfunding project 18 months ago.

We expect our crew to have a better diet, as those women were chosen because of having under-five children with malnutrition and do not live close to the action.  

From meal components mentioned

  1.  Maize              village group  55%  -      Tiko 44%                
  2. Vegetable                                 23                     27
  3. Protein                                        9                     14
  4. Legumes                                   12                     15        

As to two extra meals for the under-fives,     

                                    the villages gave 27%,       Tiko 59%

Interpretation: The differences are all in the expected direction.  Significant differences indicate that the Tiko group are eating less starch and are eating more vegetables and protein. Crowdfunding in the villages happened in September, when there tends to be more variety of food, yet  the Tiko group eat better. Also, more than double the number of extra portions were given in the Tiko group. Again that may be significant, since the village women were told about the need to give extra meals to under-fives every time they were visited by Tiko facilitators and should have made an effort, given that there was more food variety at their time.


The future. We will start distributing the extra protein now. The problem, however, will be the availability  of food – will there be enough Moringa when there is a drought? And, will cowpeas work – there were very few groundnuts in the market, while groundnuts were many. Not that we doubt the combination of cowpweas, which are legumes, with Moringa to provide protein. Rather, groundnuts are traditionally pounded and prepared as vegetable, so that it is no big deal to add Moringa . But, is it the same for cowpeas, which are traditionally cooked as they are?

We will also review the question of foodboxes. We are sure to find many more reasons why change of diet with individual differences is difficult to achieve, especially when the preferred recipient changes from the big boss to the smallest part of the group, the under-five child. We are looking forward to being able to give you valuable and interesting results next time.

We have not yet analysed the data from the under-five children, as not all carers go to the weigh-in regularly every month. Also names do not easily indicate who they belong to – to anybody from the Tiko crew or to the other parents and carers from the early childhood centre. Many children in the Tiko families are now the grandchildren of our volunteer workers and in this system have totally different names, as have the children who are kept as ‘dependents’. Distribution of ONENEPA will start immediately we have received all the cards with the latest data.

Likewise, the number of clinic visits should be less for people who eat a more balanced diet. As to weight loss, on the other hand that is not necessarily so – is not weight loss for obesity often associated with a diet high in protein? But, weighing the adults (and thereby the older children) is a good entry point to ask questions about diet and clinic visits.

If praying for rain was working, we would ask for your help with that, but mainly we ask you for help to have enough food supplies not only for the recipient of help, but also for the organizers – any extra effort, any group meeting, means the provision of some food by Tiko. Famine is here and we are in trouble. Zikomo kwambiri – thanks so much.




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Organization Information

Tikondane Community Centre

Location: Katete, Eastern Province - Zambia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @N/A
Project Leader:
Tigris Kanduwa
Katete, Eastern Province Zambia

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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