A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana

 
$14,590 $6,475
Raised Remaining

The Tscherman Chef cooks something up again: a video with the community effort as ingredients.

Who says development work needs to be serious? (Although the issues sure still are.) Participatory development means to work together, if you spent 1 minute and 40 seconds watching the video on Youtube (and later on our project page), you'll find out. Please feel free to leave a comment on YouTube. 

And quick reminder: Bonus Day begins at 12:01 am Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday June 13, 2012. (That is one minute after midnight on June 13 in the New York time zone).

The formula is simple: your donations to Zahana will be matched at 50%. Last time GlobalGiving ran out of matching funds, please try early in the day if you want to super size you donation by 50% with the click of a mouse. There is a total of $75,000 in matching funds available. Once funds have been depleted, no more donations will be matched by GlobalGiving. Details

Best regards,

Markus

Links:

Building the water reservoir on the mountain 2006
Building the water reservoir on the mountain 2006

Dear friends: In this report we wanted to take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. We apologize for cross-postings in our GlobalGiving projects.

The report has been inspired by watching the TEDx talk by David Damberger: “What happens when an NGO admits failure” and our recent webinar hosted by GlobalGiving about the WASH Sustainability Charter.  We learned from David Damberger’s talk, that many water systems built in Africa don't function much longer than one or two years, for many reasons, eloquently explained in his TEDx talk. We encourage you to watch his outstanding 13-minutes critical analysis. He is works with Engineers Without Borders having  built many water systems over the years, but also has implemented the lessons learned in an innovative, inspiring way. Without mentioning it explicitly, if you look at the talk for our angle, he presents a good case why GlobalGiving's approach of directly matching donors with projects is better for both sides.

Bonus Day begins at 12:01 am EDT on Wednesday June 13, 2012. The formula is simple: your donations to Zahana will be matched at 50%. Last time GlobalGiving ran out of matching funds, please try early in the day if you want to supersize you donation by 50% with the click of a mouse. There is a total of $75,000 in matching funds available. Once funds have been depleted, no more donations will be matched. Details

But now to the before mentioned bigger picture (keep in mind that most water systems might not work beyond two years after being built):  Our very first participatory development effort in 2006 was to build a gravity-feed, clean, safe water system. We did this in a village that never had clean water before. This gravity-fed water system is still flowing uninterrupted for six years now, providing clean water for over 1000 people. Way up on the mountain, some 2.5 km or 1.6 miles away from the village, the clean spring coming out off the ground has been channeled with pipes in a water storage container on the mountainside. From there it flows, with the help of gravity, through PVC pipes into the village. Collected in a second large water container at the edge of the village, the water flows into seven communal faucets, accessible to all. It is still the only village with a safe clean water system far and wide in the region.

We built this water system by hiring the water engineers, and paying them to live for three months in the village. Living in the community, they built the water system together with the villagers. This way, not only did they put in (unpaid!) village sweat equity, digging trenches, cutting stones, carrying cement and sand, and laying pipe that made the system more affordable; but they also learned how their water system functioned. A crucial part of this approach is that the villagers could be trained by the water engineers how to fix the system, should it break one day. All systems built by humans are bound to break sooner or later, but now the villagers are not only prepared for what to do, but also hopefully have the skills to do it themselves without outside help. As an additional safeguard, one man, jokingly referred to as the ’water police’, has been assigned to walk up and down the water system every day, to check for leaks or potential problems. Besides recruiting and paying the salaries for the water engineers, Zahana paid for materials the villagers could not afford, such as PVC pipes, the water storage containers and cement, with the help of our donors.

It is exactly the participatory element that made it successful. Zahana worked together with the villagers to build their water system, instead of an outside organization coming in and building it for them, making it ‘their water system’, not ‘ours’. With this proud ownership of ‘their water system’, comes the responsibility to take care of it and maintain it for years to come. The only complaint that people from Fiadanana make (and that makes us proud) is that they don't like to drink the water in other places anymore, and are forced to carry their own water with them now if they are leaving their village.

It wasn't easy to find water engineers willing to live in a rural setting for many weeks, far away from home without any amenities, and work with an untrained workforce, since this was and is quite a novel concept in Madagascar. But it paid off in more ways than one as we were able to build the water system for less than 20% of comparable water systems’ (normal) cost, and it is still flowing strong for almost 6 years. Although still the single biggest success for us is that no child has died of diarrhea since the clean water system was built.

Building our schools we have used the same approach: The community contributing the bricks and their labor and local materials and Zahana paying for the rest (doors, roof, cement, etc.,) they could never afford. We also hired and trained the teachers. We found an educational expert teacher-trainer willing to live in the village and train the teachers in their school and future teaching environment. Both schools are also still teaching children every day. Another first in the village’s history: four students have moved on to secondary school (more on CEPE). Our two gardeners live and work in the community where they grow seedlings and work the school gardens with and for the children. The gardeners salaries are also paid by Zahana.

Participatory development means, and this is at the heart of it, to trust people that they will do their best when you give them a chance to take charge of their own development. That is neither easy nor commonplace in the development community. And there will always be failures and mishaps as well, as much as we would like to avoid that. And: Yes, it does require outside money, too. In a country, such as Madagascar, where a farmer may barely “makes” US$ 300 in a year growing rice with backbreaking manual labor, we will always need people like you supporting our efforts to make this participatory development possible.

And yes, everybody wants to know, including us, how do you measure success? Well, get a glass of water (most likely it comes out of a tap or even a bottle for you), and take a good long look - at this clean, crystal clear, safe drinking water - and think about it where your water comes from, before you quench your thirst.

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

Cutting the stones for the water reservoir
Cutting the stones for the water reservoir
The communal water tank in the village
The communal water tank in the village
Communal water faucet in the village
Communal water faucet in the village
School water faucet
School water faucet
Communal water faucet with new fence (2011)
Communal water faucet with new fence (2011)
Solar cooker made in Madagascar
Solar cooker made in Madagascar

In the pictures you see the first solar cookers waiting in the capital of Antananarivo to be taken to the school in our villages. Dr. Ihanta's grandson is diligently inspecting the new strange boxes in the hallway and they find his approval. All we need now is the end of the rainy season that makes the roads to the villages passable again, so the solar cookers can reach their final destination.

We anticipate that in the dry season, or any sunny day for that matter, the solar cookers can be used by the teachers and their students. Solar cookers are ideal to cook rice and soup for the school meals.

These solar cookers are entirely built in Madagascar by local craftsman, through the community benefit organization ADES (Association pour le Développement de l'Energie Solaire). These sturdy “box cookers” are built to last for years of continuous use. A Zahana representative spent a few days with ADES participating in their solar cooker training and brought these solar cooker boxes back as his “luggage”. We are very excited about this new collaboration and hope to work with ADES for years to come, benefiting from their experience in the south of the country for over a decade.

Ihanta, Jeannette, Markus

Inspecting the brochure and the solar cooker
Inspecting the brochure and the solar cooker
Checking out the additional pieces
Checking out the additional pieces
Build in thermometer under the glass lid
Build in thermometer under the glass lid
Blackboard in our school in Fiarenana
Blackboard in our school in Fiarenana

The children had been asked to draw pictures of objects or events that they associate with going to school. Misaotra on the backboard is ‘thank you’ in Malagasy.

Christmas is a very important holiday for our villages in Madagascar. A Christmas tree inside the classroom is part of the celebration.

For a few years now (since 2007) Santa Claus comes to visit the school children with gifts. This year Santa brought orange bags to both our schools with a toothbrush, toothpaste, a pencil, a ball pen, and soap. In addition Santa also bought a package of cookies and a sweet treat.

And yes, with the end of the tax year coming up, the tribute card challenge is still on until December 31.

Happy 2011!

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

close-up blackboard
close-up blackboard
Christmas tree inside the classroom
Christmas tree inside the classroom
The sweet treat for the Holidays
The sweet treat for the Holidays
Santa brings a t-shirt
Santa brings a t-shirt
Inside the classroom in Zahana
Inside the classroom in Zahana's school

A big Thank You to all of our donors who supported our school in Fiarenana over the years!

Supporting an ongoing school is vital for us to be able to pay the teachers and gardeners and buy school supplies. It takes somebody like you to see the value in ongoing support so children can go to school every day. You make it  possible. We could not do it without you! 

In the age of text messages (SMS) we can communicate with our Zahana contacts and our teachers in the villages on a regular basis at low cost. The minimalist report from December 15, 2011 for November reads as follows: [text in brackets is added to provide context for the readers]

Fiarenana:

  • 48 students: 22 boys, 26 girls aged from 4 to 13 [attended school in November]
  • 2 levels of teaching: level 0 (beginner), level 1
  • Parents monthly meeting: 1st Saturday
  • School garden: vegetables [are being planted by the students]
  • Nursery: 1,199 baby trees (eucalyptus, papaya, bibasse, mango) ready to be planted, seeds of moringa olifera [ready to be planted again by our master gardener]

Fiadanana [our first village]:

  • 90 students [currently attend school]
  • School garden: vegetables [are being planted by the students]
  • [School] Poultry project: 6 hens, roosters [this is a hands-on income or protein generating project for the students as part of our microcredit efforts]
  • 106 baby trees and flowers planted around the school
  • Environment: asking people to collect plastic bags spread in village
  • Nursery: lot of baby trees [grown by our second gardener]

[Both] gardeners were told to keep all baby trees for Zahana [planting 15,000 trees] project.

- End text/SMS -

Did you know you can make donations to any our Zahana projects with GlobalGiving as gifts to friends and loved ones this holiday season? This gift in honor of someone might relieve you of the agonizing thought: what could I give her or him? (and help Zahana at the same time).

A gift in honor of somebody is easy: With a few clicks you can create a personalized greeting card via our project pages on GlobalGiving. Just click on the third giving option “gift or in honor of” right under the big orange “donate” button on any of our 4 project pages. We recently added the project: Planting 15,000 trees in Madagascar (#9470), which is eligible as well.

You can chose if GlobalGiving will send the gift recipient an email, print-at-home, or physical tribute card. For  details about the ‘tribute card challenge’* please visit our website. And even better the challenge lasts until the last day of the 2011 tax year: December 31.

Thank you for your support.

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

*GlobalGiving is awarding funds to the projects that are able to get the most donations made in honor or in memory of someone between November 23, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Prizes between $500 and $1,500 will be awarded to the projects with the most number of donations made in honor of someone.

visual aid
visual aid

Links:

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $11
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $125
    give
  • $600
    give
  • $1,500
    give
  • $4,900
    give
  • $11
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $125
    each month
    give
  • $600
    each month
    give
  • $1,500
    each month
    give
  • $4,900
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Organization

Zahana

Antananarivo, Capital, Madagascar
http://zahana.org

Project Leader

Markus Faigle

Volunteer
Honolulu, HI United States

Where is this project located?

Map of A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana