Why Madagascar and Kenya?
Geranium grows beautifully and bountifully in both Madagascar and Kenya where small-scale farmers have been growing these fragrant, flowering plants for decades. Geranium requires very little water, but it also doesn’t do well in climates that are too dry, which can be a tricky balance to achieve. In Kenya, the plant grows well on the slope of Mt. Kenya. In Madagascar, it is grown in the central highlands where the weather is temperate and consistent.
With various beautifying purposes, Geranium essential oil promotes healthy, glowing skin and hair, while providing a sweet, floral aroma.
How does it work?
The essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves, stock, and flowers of the geranium plant. To achieve the highest quality and oil yield, geranium must be distilled right before or just as the plant begins to flower. Once it is in full bloom, it is too late to get maximum oil (or any oil, in some cases). Therefore, the stocks and leaves are harvested right before the plant flowers. When harvested, only part of the plant is cut away; some leaves remain to help the plant regrow. To maintain its aromatic and therapeutic benefits, the essential oil must be distilled within hours of harvest.
Supporting Smallholder Farmer Cooperatives
In Madagascar, there has been significant geranium production for more than 75 years. There is currently a network of over 700 smallholder farmers organized into various cooperatives.
In Kenya, our Co-Impact sourcing initiatives for Geranium include training smallholder farmers, providing critically important initial inputs, supporting cooperatives, and continued monitoring and evaluation of our initiative through a third-party program with the University of Oxford.
Initiatives in both countries include contracts with fair and transparent pricing, providing smallholder farmers with a stable and predictable source of income.
The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation has funded numerous projects in both Madagascar and Kenya.
In Madagascar, this includes the establishment of a mobile health clinic. Health officers are chosen from villages and provided with first aid kits and essential oils, then trained in the respective and appropriate use of the resources. Additionally, a doctor will be employed to work for this clinic and will see patients in their homes.
In Kenya, this includes the construction of additional classroom and restroom facilities at Kiwegu Primary School; construction of a school library, water storage, staff room, restrooms and teacher living quarters at Mwamose Primary school (as well as scholarship support); the construction of Mwena River Bridge, which allows river crossing access for community and school children; construction of Majengo Mapya Kindergarten school; construction of a community center; TICAH—indigenous culture and health trainings for 2,000 school children; Colobus Conservation—education and reforestation of indigenous trees; Mwamose Water Point, which is a community borehole and water tower; and the Water Maintenance Trust Fund, which does ongoing research and maintenance of community water sources.
In addition to donations from the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, we have established a Community Development Fund in Kenya. For every kilogram of essential oil produced by its farmer cooperatives, a portion of revenue is set aside in a fund overseen by the cooperatives themselves to finance larger development projects at their discretion.