Moringa leaves as handwashing product for water and soap scarce contexts

Organisation: Action Against Hunger (ACF) - Spain

Partners: - London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) of Ghana

Location: National Public Health Reference Laboratory of Ghana in Accra, urban area of Accra and in rural communities of Ghana

Type of grant: WASH

Status: Ongoing

  • Jasmine Clark (LSHTM) with a sample of Moringa oleifera in dilution in the National Public Health Reference Laboratory of Ghana. (Photographer: Enrique Raso/Action Against Hunger-Spain).

  • Jasmine Clark (LSHTM), David Opare (NPHRL) and Lawrence Henry Ofosu-Appiah preparing the samples for incubation of bacteria Escherichia coli at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory of Ghana. (Photographer: Enrique Raso/Action Against Hunger-Spain).


Previous experiments conducted with Moringa Oleifera provide the same effect as soap and therefore has the potential to be an innovative handwashing product for settings where water is scarce and/or soap is not available.

What is the humanitarian need?

Enough body of evidence has demonstrated the positive impact that practising good hygiene can have on health and beyond. Since human faeces are the primary source of pathogens causing diarrhoea,
handwashing with soap at key moments is crucial to intervene in the transmission cycle and evidence
has shown that it can contribute to a 40% reduction in diarrhoea. The short supply of soap and water in some contexts, drastically affects hygiene practices, mainly handwashing. These contexts refer to arid environments or to scenarios where water supply or soap are unavailable and where Moringa can grow.

What is the innovative solution?

Moringa Oleifera has great potential as a handwashing product for settings where water is scarce or soap is not available – which create a barrier to maintaining adequate hygiene. The idea is not to compete with traditional soap, but to complement it and offer an alternative in scenarios where soap and/or water are scarce.

What are the expected outcomes?

The main outcomes of the study will be:

  1. to provide evidence of the efficacy of different Moringa products in reducing bacteria on dirty hands;
  2. to confirm the acceptability, socio-cultural desirability and feasibility of Moringa leaves among volunteers and members of the community;
  3. to assess the viability by studying the Market and Value Chain; and
  4. to design a business model to prepare the baseline for the implementation of an Income Generation Activity project (in another phase, out of this project scope).

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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