My name is Clement Matorwmasen. Together with my wife I have co-founded Green Gold Social Enterprise. Since childhood I have always been a social and environmental activist and I was a youth leader in many activist groups. As a child I grew up in difficult circumstances when my parents abandoned me and I grew up at the homes of different foreign missionaries. As a teenager I re-established the contact with my family members and my tribe and I learned I was high up in the royal family lineage. I now have very strong ties to my tribe and I want to make a difference in not only their lives, but that of all Ghanaians.
When I reconnected with my family, I was already running several not-for-profit projects trying to improve the living conditions in several poor communities, like organising finances for a community boreholes to improve access to clean drinking water. I was doing this alongside my teaching job as an IT-specialist at a tertiary institution. In 2007 my boss and mentor introduced me to Moringa. I was intrigued and went to learn more about the plant and all its qualities and I saw it as a potential solution to combat malnutrition in our communities. This inspired me to set up my own NGO called Drive Aid Ghana and we started promoting the usage and cultivation of Moringa. I was happy that I could make a difference for some people, but scaling and sustaining our activities were highly problematic. Initially I was able to interest farmers in growing Moringa, but mostly they ended up cutting it down because they were not able to generate income from it. This was because there was no established local market. They also challenged me: ‘if Moringa is so useful and if you can earn so much money with it, then why don’t you do it yourself?’
These experiences made me think and slowly the idea of starting a social enterprise to promote Moringa as a cash crop started to develop. With the full support of my wife I handed over my IT-business to my brother and went full-time into developing our social enterprise Green Gold. We have been donated an abandoned state farm of 3000 ha by one of our communities, which we are currently developing into a Moringa plantation and processing factory.
My quest is simply to make a difference in other people’s lives and to make the world a better place one smile at a time, Moringa is my pivot point for sustainable development
As a Dutch native I grew up in a well-established country where I missed a sense of purpose. With a drive to help in the development of Africa, I obtained my Master Degree in health promotion and health education and later also in medicine. After having the opportunity to do research and follow some of my medical rotations in African countries, my desire to go to Africa only grew. My final rotation in medical school brought me to the north of Ghana, where I experienced the challenges but also the rewards of being a medical doctor in a remote rural area. During this time I also got to know Clement, who is now my husband and business partner. Once back home I decided to specialize in tropical medicine and in January 2011 as a freshly graduated tropical doctor, I packed my bags and immigrated to Ghana to join my then fiancée and start work as a tropical doctor. While preparing for national exams to get my registration as a medical doctor, I joined the local university to help in the training of local doctors. I enjoyed teaching a lot and realized that training local doctors would have a bigger impact on the shortage of doctors in the rural areas then by going out myself. Fortunately, the shortage of doctors is dramatically declining now, which drives me back to do more on the prevention side. Together with my husband we also started a local NGO called Drive Aid Ghana which aimed at improving illiteracy rates in (school going) children and promoting Moringa to combat malnutrition. Although we were doing something good with our own NGO, we had a lot of difficulty on the sustainability side of it and I did not enjoy having to ‘beg’ people for money to run our projects. When I also analyzed all the mishaps of well established, large international NGO’s who are massively active in our area, I realized that if you really want to create lasting change, it should not come from the outside but from within and that there should be a part for-profit basis to make it sustainable.