Brazil, as a tropical country, has been struggling over many years with mosquitoes (mainly Aedes Aegypti). Every summer, the hot weather favors proliferation of these insects and, consequently, the number of people infected with diseases they propagate rise, risking the community’s well-being. Zika Fever and Dengue, lethal viral diseases, are common at Rio de Janeiro’s urban area, especially at the less developed places, mostly due to garbage accumulation.
The Citros project aims to decrease the incidence rate of these diseases at Parque Conquista community in Rio de Janeiro, while economically empowering the inhabitants involved. Citros consists on the home-growing of the Citronella plant (Cymbopogon Winterianus) in the community and the subsequent manufacturing of essence candles, repellent for the skin and maybe even incenses.
Citronella has been scientifically tested as a natural repellent with highly positive results, and it’s already in use as part of the formula in several products all across the healthcare industry as an effective way to avoid contact with mosquitoes and other insects. It is a convenient houseplant, considering not only its repellent properties, but also its ability to increase the green area at dense urban zones.
The Community Association, as the main mediator between the Enactus team and the inhabitants, plays a fundamental role in the project, especially at the beginning of it. The association acts as a facilitator by providing direct contact with the people who live there and support inside the community. It has a big influence on strengthening relations between the team and possible local key-partners.
The students play a major role by applying a systemic method when planning, implementing and developing an entrepreneurial approach to the initiative. In the planning phase, the team focused on theoretical and genetic research on the herbs, on the design and assembling of the equipment necessary to extract the oil from the plants as well as on the development of a consistent schedule for the project. The Citros Team is composed of students from various Engineering and Nanotechnology undergrad courses.