Zahana

Zahana in Madagascar is dedicated to participatory rural development, education, revitalization of traditional Malagasy medicine, reforestation, and sustainable agriculture. It is Zahana's philosophy that participatory development must be based on local needs and solutions proposed by local people. It means asking communities what they need and working with them collaboratively so they can achieve their goals. Each community's own needs are unique and require a tailor -made response
Jul 7, 2011

Improving cooking in the villages in Madagascar

Low tech solar cooker
Low tech solar cooker

Our wonderful solar volunteer Bruce is back in Madagascar.  He has recently left the capital city of Antananarivo for our villages. Based on his experiences visiting and living in our two villages in 2010, Bruce has been looking into the best way to improve cooking and cook stoves in Madagascar. He has found an appropriate model that wants to build and test it together with the villagers. Last year he also introduced a low-tech, inexpensive solar cooker (see photo). He used materials available in the city to built this panel cooker. It will be interesting to see if it has been used and how well it worked or how long it lasted.

After a few weeks in the countryside he plans to visit other NGOs in Madagascar and share his expertise from hands on experience in Madagascar. One organization, based far away in another part of the country, has been working with solar cookers for many years and was building a solar box cooker model locally. We plan to buy a few of these Malagasy made solar cookers and have Bruce personally introduce them in the villages, to see if a "domestic" version is the way to go.

Stay tuned for pictures and updates as soon as they become available.

Links:

May 23, 2011

Moringa oleifera trees growing strong

July 2010: Zahana’s Gardner growing Moringa
July 2010: Zahana’s Gardner growing Moringa

In early 2010 Zahana introduced Moringa oleifera seeds in both villages. Everything of this beneficial fast growing three can be used. The leaves, high in protein, can be cooked as vegetables.  Powdered Moringa leaves have been successfully used in West Africa for decades in infant formulas. The entire seedpods can eaten like beans at a young stage, or bigger and more mature added to soups, as what in know in Indian cuisine as ‘drumsticks’. The ripe seeds can be replanted or used to extract high quality oil. Fast growing, the trees need to be cut constantly to easily reach the leaves, providing much needed sustainable wood for cooking.

The pictures included in this report show how Moringa has successfully taken root in both, Fiadanana and Fiarenana, over the past year. The trees now growing in the schoolyards of both schools were planted with the students as part of our school garden curriculum.

Zahana’s microcredit approach is to hire our two gardeners and pay them for their work year round. This lesson was learned when the original idea of providing the gardeners with seeds and have them sell their seedlings as and income generating project proved not to be feasible. The economic insecurity of this approach was not feasible for our gardeners. Economic security thought a stable income empowers our gardeners to experiment with new crops, to see if something can be grown in their climate successfully, and provides the fruit of their labor for free to their communities. The gardeners have become outstanding teachers, successfully involving students in our school garden project, second to none in the area.

July 2010: Zahana’s 2nd Gardner growing Moringa
July 2010: Zahana’s 2nd Gardner growing Moringa
OCT 2010: Planting Moringa in schoolyard
OCT 2010: Planting Moringa in schoolyard
OCT 2010: Protecting young Moringa tree
OCT 2010: Protecting young Moringa tree
December 2010: Moringa growing well
December 2010: Moringa growing well
March 2011: Moringa in the schoolyard
March 2011: Moringa in the schoolyard

Links:

Apr 6, 2011

Solar water pasteurizer in the school in Fiarenana

Drinking safe water
Drinking safe water

This is an update though photos: our students use the solar water pasteurizer, donated by Developing World Solar in Hawaii, to make their drinking water safe. All they need to do is to put the water bottles in the sun and wait. (See website for technical details). Once the solar pasteurized water has cooled down enough, the students can quench their thirst safely. 

Solar water pasteurization is at the moment the only reliable way to get safe drinking water in the school. The village’s only a ground well with water all year round is in the schoolyard in Fiarenana. Most other wells run dry in the rainless months. As with many ground wells in developing countries, water safety for drinking water is an issue and we are very happy to see that the students have adopted this innovative, novel idea, making good use of the solar water pasteurizers.

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