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Environnement et Développement du Tiers-Monde

Lionel Robineau of ENDA-Caribe, based in Santo Domingo, has spent many years working with Caribbean colleagues on the medicinal plants of the region. Apart from publishing a series of informative pharmacopeias in English, French and Spanish, they are returning their results through a community outreach program called TRADIF. /GJM

Environnement et Développement du Tiers-Monde (ENDA, Environmental Development Action in the Third World) is an international organization which has been working for over twenty years on environmental and development projects. The overall goals of ENDA are to enable underprivileged rural and urban groups to evaluate their needs and natural resources, and utilize these resources better; support research into alternative paths of development; and encourage professionals and academics to work in these fields.

The ENDA-Santé program is dedicated to healthcare issues, and is particularly concerned with the loss of traditional medicinal knowledge. The program aims to contribute to the evaluation and improvement of medicinal plant use, and to develop alternative health programs which are adapted to local needs. An important component of this work has been the production of leaflets and books to promote and encourage the use of medicinal plants. Since 1980, several series of leaflets on the medicinal plants of the Sahel region of West Africa have been produced. These leaflets are designed for use by development workers, local organizations and medical personnel. Each leaflet focuses on one species, for which there is an illustration as well as a written description including Latin and vernacular names, information on distribution, uses, directions for preparation and dosage, results of pharmacological tests and key references. To complement this work, ENDA has also organized contests on medicinal plants in collaboration with research centers of traditional medicine. Further publicity has been gained through newspapers and the production of radio programs.

In addition to its educational activities, ENDA-Santé is involved in medicinal plant research and production. It is collaborating with researchers from the University of Dakar to conduct chemical, pharmacological and toxicological studies on five botanical species. ENDA has helped to establish a garden of useful plants, within the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the University of Dakar, for the use of university students and to contribute towards conservation of endangered species within the Dakar region.

ENDA has two other programs of interest to ethnobotanists. ENDA-PRONAT is working to develop ecological agricultural systems. It runs awareness raising campaigns and training programs in rural areas, advocating the use of natural pesticides and fertilizers, agroforestry and the integration of pastoral and agricultural farming. ENDA-CARIBE, the Caribbean Regional Office of ENDA, coordinates the TRAMIL program, which is investigating the traditional popular medicine of the Caribbean.

‘In Senegal, the bark [of Zizyphus mauritiana] is used by the Wolof and Serere to cure stomach-aches, the roots for the treatment of syphilis ...In Uganda, the roots are pounded into a powder that is mixed with water to calm intestinal irritations.In Europe, the fruit is recommended for the treatment of respiratory, throat, intestinal and urinary inflammation as well as for constipation.’

From an ENDA-Santé leaflet on Zizyphus mauritiana Lam. (Rhamnaceae).


  • Paul Doyle, ENDA Headquarters, BP 3370, Dakar, Senegal
  • ENDA-CORD (for general inquiries in English) Tel. +221.219674, Fax +221.222695, e-mail cord@enda.sn
  • ENDA-Santé, Tel. +221.229695, Fax +221.236615, e-mail icaso@enda.sn
  • ENDA-PRONAT, Tel. +221.225565, Fax +221.222695, e-mail pronat@enda.sn
  • Lionel Robineau, ENDA-CARIBE, Apdo. 3370, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Tel. +1.809.566.8321, Fax +1.809.541.3259, e-mail endacaribe@pucmm.edu.do


Although native to India, Zizyphus mauritiana (Rhamnaceae) is widely cultivated on the African continent, from Morocco to South Africa.


The EPD Project, UNESCO

Because EPD publications cover a wide range of initiatives in formal and non-formal environmental education, ethnobotanists will want to pick and choose information related to their projects. Of particular interest in the Connect newsletter is a section called ‘Doing It and Telling It’, which reports on practical, environment- related activities involving diverse members of communities. /GJM

The Environment and Population Education and Information for Development (EPD) project develops education and training activities and creates awareness in the fields of environment and population. The project was launched in 1994 as part of UNESCO’s response to the Rio and Cairo conferences on environment and population.Connect is the 20-year old newsletter of the joint UNESCO/UNEP International Environmental Education Programme (IEEP). IEEP was discontinued in 1996, but the newsletter has been taken over by EPD. Connect acts as a forum for exchange on environmental education, providing information on field activities, publications, forthcoming conferences, workshops and courses. It is published in eight languages, four times a year and is available free of charge.EPD has now taken over all of IEEP’s activities, which include publication of a wide range of materials on environmental education. In the Environmental Education Series, a range of booklets show how to include an environmental component in curricular and extra-curricular education activities. IEEP produced an international directory of institutions active in the field of environmental education, containing addresses of 1500 institutions, with information on their main interests and activities. It was last edited in 1989 and is available in French, English and Spanish. Institutions receive priority in its distribution.

‘... the use of edible wild plants – which have traditionally played a valuable role in rural areas of Lesotho – is fast declining. In view of uncertain weather conditions, poverty and the chronic malnutrition that a great number of children suffer from, it was felt that better exploitation of these plants would not only provide nutritional improvement, but also effectively help in preserving the environment as wild plants are naturally more resistant to climate fluctuations. The role of women ... was fundamental as it is they who traditionally collect, prepare, store and market the plants.’

Anonymous. 1994. Edible plants in Lesotho: an important source in nutrition (Lesotho). Connect 19:6.


  • Gustavo López Ospina, Director, EPD, UNESCO, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France; Tel. + 33.1.45680868, Fax + 33.1.45685635, e-mail epd@unesco.org



Botanic Gardens Conservation International

Botanic Gardens have a major role to play in ex situ conservation and in promoting environmental awareness. Of the 1600 botanic gardens world-wide, more than 400 are linked via the BGCI network. Its education program strengthens expertise within gardens, ultimately helping to increase conservation awareness among the 150 million visitors they receive each year. /SD

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) was founded in 1987 to coordinate the conservation activities of botanic gardens world-wide and to promote the principles set out in the Botanic Gardens Conservation Strategy (which has been translated into Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish). BGCI currently has over 400 member institutions in 90 countries. Its activities include helping to establish botanic garden networks and regional offices, and creating databases on endangered species in cultivation. Its database, BGCI-DATA, holds information on the botanic gardens of the world including a bibliography of their educational resources. In addition, it contains records of over 60,000 rare and threatened species in botanic garden collections, with information on their cultivation and propagation. BGCI also publishes newsletters, guidelines and technical information, including a CITES manual for botanic gardens.

The education program of BGCI seeks to promote and strengthen the education and awareness programs of botanic gardens throughout the world. Educational material is disseminated through the newsletter Roots and an education resource catalogue, both of which are published twice a year, and also through occasional education packs. Roots is published in English, French and Spanish, and reports on news and resources from around the world. Each newsletter includes articles that give practical advice on a particular theme, for example, setting up exhibitions, developing outreach programs and teacher training.

Other materials are produced occasionally, including video and slide material. In 1994, guidelines were published for botanic gardens developing environmental education programs. An international education congress is organized every three years, and the program also runs occasional workshops with its member gardens. There are over 300 gardens involved in the BGCI education network.

In the Botanical Garden of the National University of Mexico (UNAM), the demand for guided visits has increased to the point that we have had to devise new approaches to meet the public’s need. One solution to this problem has been to work with school teachers so that they can guide their own classes independently. Unfortunately, Mexican teachers are over-worked and under-paid so that they are unable to invest extra time in special training. In order to meet the challenge of bringing to Mexican children quality educational programmes related to plants and Mexican culture without over-burdening their teachers, we have designed a series of portable educational cases.Each educational case includes original plant materials and processed products. These materials are accompanied by text and illustrative aids (e.g. slides, drawings) which are based upon academic bibliography and our own original research. The topics currently covered are flowers, seeds, fruits, candies, medicinal plants and spices and condiments.Special emphasis is placed on botanical information related to cultural history in order to show the children the importance of their rich and long-lived cultural heritage, as well as the necessity of preserving the diverse biological resources in Mexico. It is our obligation to promote in Mexican children a functional awareness of their dependence upon nature.’

Linares, E. 1994. Portable botanical educational cases in Mexico. Page 25 in J. Willison, editor, Environmental Education in Botanic Gardens: Guidelines for Developing Individual Strategies. Richmond, BGCI.


  • Julia Willison, BGCI, Descanso House, 199 Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3BW, UK; Tel. +44.181.3325953 or 3325954 or 3325955, Fax +44.181.3325956, e-mail bgci@rbgkew.org.uk



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