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 reforestation efforts in both of our villages, still has widespread community support! As part of the celebration for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2013 a group tree planting has become an integral part of celebrations in the villages.
The fact that tree planting has become a tradition and is not just seen as a one-time Zahana inspired event, illustrates for us how successful this approach has been. In addition to tree planting by the women of the villages (as seen in the photos), they also had a parade and traditional dancers with drumming. In the village of Fiarenana the women’s soccer club played a soccer game.
Ihanta and Markus
On December 23, in conjunction with a site visit by Zahana for the Christmas celebration in our schools, both communities set out for a day long planting of a community forest. The Zahana gardeners had been growing seedlings for this event for the past few months, and from the youngest to the oldest everybody participated. With seedlings and tools in hand they walked out to the designated area and planted. The pictures tell the rest.
But now to the first two images: Bary, our master gardener in the picture is very proud of the forest he planted behind the school. While the December 2011 young trees are about knee high, they grew way over his head during 2012. This is indeed a visual reminder what we can grow together with your support. Especially if you look at the landscape in the background of the photo from 2011, you see how much trees are needed in the area.
We hope in case you are in the fortunate position of making end-of-year giving decisions, you may consider Zahana in Madagascar as well. And, if you have already done so, thank you very much for your support.
We have currently half a dozen projects with GlobalGiving that make online donations a breeze. Thank you. Without your support, now for the seventh year, our work in Madagascar would not be possible.
Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus
The wonders of modern technology let us get updates from the village via text or SMS. A great innovation in a village with no access to postal service. (Slightly edited, as it was translated into English):
November 2012 report:
Fiadanana and Fiarenana: both gardeners getting ready for Zahana’s tree planting campaign in December. In Fiarenana the focus will be especially on fruit trees, in the village of Fiadanana they opted for eucalyptus. A total of some 1,000 babytrees should be planted starting in December.
Fiarenana: the school garden is ready to harvest: cucumbers, leafy greens and corn. They are also busy with the preparations for the Christmas celebration. In Fiadanana recently 64 new baby trees were transplanted.
Some weeks ago, workmen were renovating a building at the hospital grounds in the capital. In the process over 100 young trees had to be dug out, to make room for the new building. One of the people working in the hospital, who knew of our reforestation efforts in the countryside, encouraged the workmen to dig out the young trees and save them. Instead of chopping down the seedlings, the hospital employees took it home, replanted the little trees in pots, watered and tended to them until Zahana could organize a transport to the village. A few weeks later over 100 healthy, young tree saplings where on their way in pots, to be planted in the Malagasy countryside. Since the trees are growing extremely well in the capital, it was his hope that some trees may take root in the village as well and provide shade and groundcover in our mix of different trees in our reforestation efforts.
For those curious among you, the trees have been identified as Iron wood trees (Casuarina equisetifolia). These trees have extremely hard wood and although it is difficult to ignite, it will burn hot (even when green) and the resultant ashes retain their heat for a long time. It has been called the “best firewood in the world”. If the trees will thrive in the arid climate of the high plateau of Madagascar, only time will tell.
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