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
Apr 1, 2014

Rice seed fund is at the core of all activities

Children pounding rice in Madagascar
Children pounding rice in Madagascar

We implement two different mechanisms of microcredit on rice production: One for the community at large, where they can borrow seeds from Zahana from October to December and pay it back (in seeds) after the harvest.

The second project is for groups to use the community rice storage building to store rice after harvest to be sold later when the price is good.

Schools in both villages are involved in the second rice project. They are cosidered a 'group', similar toa women's group of a parents group. Their goal is to make money for their everyday needs (chalk, soap, seeds, school supplies and school food) and to save money for the future when they may have to support their own school.

As an added benefit students learn early on, that saving and not seeling right away a part of the harvest until the price goes up has direct financial rewards for the farmer. The initial funds to buy the rice for the school project (from our own farmers), were provided from Zahana’s microcredit fund. As we see this as an investment in the future, the entire amount, plus the profits from selling the rice at a later date become part of the schools own microcredit fund, to be used over and over again.

Rice stored in the communal grainary
Rice stored in the communal grainary
Dec 24, 2013

Update to our December report

Keeping track of reforestation
Keeping track of reforestation

In our world of constant Twitter, Facebook and YouTube feeds, it is an important reminder that not everything works - everywhere all the time - seamlessly. Dropbox is a marvelous invention. A few years back it made burning a CD obsolete plus saving a walk to the post office across town. Four weeks later the CD might drop in our PO Box at some time, if it didn't get lost en route.

But all this modern of technology only works if you have a constant power supply and a constant Internet connection. With blackouts, or roving brownouts in Madagascar, it is difficult to send large files with e.g. dropbox, if your Wi-Fi connection gets interrupted all the time. Hence, due to the lack of a constant power supply, the pictures that should have complemented the December project reports only made it across the oceans into dropbox a few days later and are included in this update.

We had been inquiring with our partners in the villages how they came up with such a precise count of 11,798 trees planted? Most people would say “almost 12,000”. But the secret is in the book (see photos). Maintained by our Zahana gardener each tree planted is meticulously recorded, with the number of seedlings and the name of the person who planted it.

Here is out previous report in case you did not get a chance to read it yet:

The awards ceremony for the three most successful tree planters earlier this year had a lasting result in our communities. In the village of Fiadanana the 2013 results are:

  • 450 trees planted by the parents association
  • 100 trees planted by students from Zahana’s school
  • 1200 trees planted by the villagers.

Fiarenana, our other village, is the leader in the reforestation efforts with 11,798 trees for this season! It is very encouraging for Zahana to see that the tree planting has indeed taken root in our communities. Please keep in mind that Madagascar is in the Southern hemisphere and it is summer and the dry season right now, when it is too hot to plant trees.

Showing the book to Zahana visitors
Showing the book to Zahana visitors
close-up trees planted
close-up trees planted
Young tree part of the reforestation effort
Young tree part of the reforestation effort
Showing "their" tree
Showing "their" tree
Dec 24, 2013

Update to our December Microcredit report

Seed packages for vegetables
Seed packages for vegetables

In our world of constant Twitter, Facebook and YouTube feeds, it is an important reminder, that not everything works everywhere all the time seamlessly. Dropbox is a marvelous invention. A few years back it made burning a CD and walk to the post office in Madagascar. Prior to that may be four weeks later the CD might drop in our PO Box at some time, if it didn't get lost en route.

But all this modern of technology only work, if you have a constant power supply and a constant Internet connection. With blackouts, or roving brownouts in Madagascar, it is difficult to send large files with e.g. dropbox, if your Wi-Fi connection gets interrupted all the time. Hence, due to the lack of a constant power supply, the pictures that should have complemented the December project reports only made it across the oceans a few days later and are included in this update.

The pictures are from the gardens that are currently planted and growing around the houses in Fiadanana. These pictures are from Dec 17, 2013 and as up-to-date as possible.  The seeds, proudly displayed by our master gardener Bary are part of Zahana’s “seed fund”, where new crops are introduced by giving the seeds to the community. Although it is hard sometimes hard to imagine, it is important to keep in mind, that culturally growing vegetables is not the norm for farmers Madagascar. Most of these farmers are proud rice farmers, and growing every anything else but rice and corn, is not looked upon favorably. The fact, that people are growing vegetables in Fiadanana at all is another indication, that our activities has been successful. You can learn about more about these challenges on our website, e.g. school gardens or seed fund.

Here is our past report for a few days ago:

The community of Fiarenana is well in control of their micro credit projects and it is running well. As a new approach this year the school was given money to buy rice in March after the harvest and after they sold it at a higher price later in the year they returned the initial loan on time by the beginning of December.

Despite past experiences, we wanted to give the women’s group in Fiadanana another chance, after all not everybody is a born businessperson. Unfortunately it didn`t work so well this season either; once again they used the money for another purpose than initially agreed on, but promised to reimburse Zahana by March.

Digging a new veggy garden
Digging a new veggy garden
Growing Vegetables Dec 2013
Growing Vegetables Dec 2013
Vegetabole garden in Fiadanana
Vegetabole garden in Fiadanana
Growing food next the the home
Growing food next the the home

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