Spotlight on Mali Volunteer Melissa Correia

Mali PCV Melissa Correia (2010-2012) recently rocked the central Mali town of Dioro with a week-long neem lotion campaign.  She worked with Seydou Traore, her counterpart, to advertise the event on the local radio station.  When the time came for the event, this publicity proved to be successful. A demonstration of how to produce neem lotion was first performed exclusively for two women’s groups and local community health volunteers (relais), and subsequently in each of the districts of the riverside town. The people of Dioro showed their interest with attendance at each event exceeding 80 participants, often exclusively women. The initially trained presidents of the women’s groups, Ramata (CAFO) and Conkoun (RESO), participated in each event throughout the week helping with translation, explanations, participation, and crowd control when it came time to give out the finished product.
During the event, the women thought about turning neem lotion production into an income generating activity and discussed production costs and pricing.

Special shout out to Melissa’s site mate, Mali PCV Ashley Tiffany (2011-2013) and Samayla Coulibaly, her counterpart, for recruiting relais to participate in the demonstrations.

Neem is a type of tree that is abundant throughout Mali. The seeds, leaves, and oil extracts from the tree have mosquito repellant attributes and can be used to produce lotions, soaps, and candles to protect local from malaria causing mosquitoes at night. Melissa recommends to other volunteers that they use as many seeds as these are believed to be the most potent. She also tweaked the recipe for the lotion a bit. First, she found that boiling the seeds and leaves twice to be more effective and to significantly affect the color of the lotion. Second, she added a few leaves from a lime tree to make the scent of the lotion more appealing.

Since the week-long event, people in the town of Dioro continually greet Melissa as the “malaria girl” and have let her know that they like the lotion and that it has been effective in warding off mosquito bites.


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