As a comment from us: It is always a good sign, when the reports from the schools are uneventful and children ‘just’ can go the school every day and learn (and eat). Here is a quick end of the year review we got from Madagascar:
Current Students enrollment in Zahana’s schools:
At Zahana’s school our head teacher Mparany, based on your recommendation, does not to accept children under 5 of age at our school anymore (in his single classroom). This has worked out very well for him, since he can now focus on teaching instead of childcare for little ones. The public school in Fiadanana also now also finally open and this way more children can go to this school as well, which is very good for us. The solar cookers in the schools are working all day.
In other important community news: the Health Center for Fiadanana is almost finished (see the groundbreaking in July). We just got this photo of an almost completed building, with our traditional healer Raleva checking out its progress.
Zahana’s head teacher, “Paran” (phonetically spelled) has been with us now for almost 7 years.
Malagasy names are very long and full of meaning. Here is a short explanation from our team in Madagascar: the name of the teacher: RANDRIANAMELASOA Andriamparany fits to his job: ‘andrianamelasoa’ means 'the one living good things'. and ‘andriamparany’ means 'the last in the sibling', but as I know he has younger brothers and sisters; it was maybe the plan of his parents at the time that he might be the youngest of their children, when they gave him his name.
Paran was the first teacher Zahana successfully hired for the newly built school in Fiadanana in 2006. Trained as a primary school teacher, he moved there from another area. He took part in the intensive one month long training in the village, to prepare them (see website) to teach in an environment where there had never been a school before.
Since then he has become an indispensable community leader, who put down roots in the village, starting his family. He is currently the director of the Zahana school program, supervising and training our teacher in the other village and our two teacher’s assistants. Has also taken a leadership role in solar cooking with the students. In collaboration with our gardener he has successfully grown many vegetables with the students that greatly enrich their school food.
We also feel it is important to point out, that our children go to school six days a week and our teacher only have Sunday off. Since our children want to go and to spend time in school, being their teacher is an all day affair, except for the month of July when the school is officially closed for summer break. Despite his work schedule as a teacher, Paran has been able to plant so many trees over the years that he was nominated for the third place, having planted the most trees in his community in our reforestation efforts. He was honored with an award for his efforts during the visit of the Minister of Health to Zahana’s villages earlier this year.
In July we had a visit from Madagascar’s Minister of health and our two villages! Read more about the visit on our website.
Despite her busy schedule the Minister of Health took time to honor our teachers for their efforts. She personally handed out awards two both of our teachers, their assistants, and Zahana’s gardeners. We have included the (avilable) photos of these events.
The Minster of Health gave a special award to the students of our school in Faidanana. They made the second place for planting the most trees as a small forest on the slope behind their school and in their school yard. The community decided that their efforts as a group count as if it would be a person. The students planted and watered the little trees and well deserve this award and the recognition.
They accomplished that with the guidance of Zahana’s gardener Bary, who besides working for the community also assists with the school garden.
In addition to the awards,both, Zahana’s gardeners and teachers were got one pack of t-shirt, a cap, a lavalava and a wall hanging clock.
All of Zahana’s students were presented with a t-shirts.
Ihanta and Markus
We have very exciting news! Through the tireless efforts of our Malagasy team, we were able to partner with another organization to build a Healthcare Center in our village of Fiadanana. We are very excited that our small organization was able to build such a partnership that will benefit many thousands of people in the region. Zahana has been working in the village of Fiadanana since 2005. Since 2006, due to our participatory development efforts, the village has a clean water supply bringing clean water flowing right into the village. This will be the only Healthcare Center in the area that can pride itself to have a clean safe water supply. Since Zahana sees access to clean safe water as public-health priority number one, this is a crucial element in providing healthcare services. A team of our partner organization (with the long name “Association Pour que vive Maroala” or 'Maroala' for short) visited our village in May 2013 to discuss the plans of the Healthcare Center with the community and choose a location. Groundbreaking was envisioned to take place by the end of June or in July, when our schools are on summer break. The pictures are from this community meeting. In the formal picture with the four people you see (from the left) the president of `Association Pour que vive Maroala` Abel Legendre, Raleva our traditional healer and community elder, Mprany our head teacher and the representative from Maroala holding up the blue prints of the Health Center. The very latest news is that the Minister of Health of Madagascar has announced that she will pay a visit to the construction of our Healthcare Center next week! She will be in the area for the official inauguration of the first maternity ward ever in the district center of Bevato. From there she will take the hour-long journey over dirt roads to our project sites. That an official of such a caliber can witness firsthand the activities of rural transformation taking place by working collaboratively with our villagers is just simply amazing. We are honored by this recognition, but also see this is an incredible opportunity to show participatory development in action, because we believe our results tell more than pictures or words. Stay posted for more photos and news soon. Ihanta and Markus
The cornerstone of participatory development is the ‘participatory’ part, or in more modern language the ‘buy in’ by the community, exemplified in the building of their school. This extends to buy-in on a local, hands-on community level, but also on the bigger, national level.
In this train of thought we had very exciting news: A local NGO in Madagascar, with ties to Korea, has decided to hire and pay the salary of two teaching assistants for our schools for three days a week. This financial commitment generated in country is very reassuring for us that Zahana’s approach is taking root in Madagascar.
While we had indeed been wondering how our teachers could cope with a teaching load of 50 to 70 students in one classroom every week, we had waited until the request for teaching assistants came from the community itself. Once the request was made, we were delighted to find local financial support for this endeavor.
Now Zahana’s task will be to find, interview, hire and train the new teaching assistants. We hope to be able to combine this with a refresher teacher training in the village this summer.
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