Dear Friends of Zahana,Thanks to GlobalGiving’s endorsement Zahana is entitled to compete for the $10,000 prize money in the Ford Focus Global Test Drive. Another creative fundraising strategy to explore, we just submitted a video. Now we hope to get chosen with your help. If you are on Facebook and would like to support us, the steps are:Please watch the video “Changing lives in Madagascar” click on “love it” in the bottom and encourage all your friends to do the same. If we get enough “love its” we are in and get the $10,000. We only have until Dec 31, so procrastination is not an option anymore. And while you are on Facebook why not “like” Zahana’s Facebook page as well? (If this does not work just send me an email at email@example.com and I forward you the URL by email.) We are in the process of redesigning our own website www.zahana.org, to make it (hopefully) easier to navigate. Please visit if you get a chance and let us know what you think of the new look.Last but not least with the end of the (tax) year near, we hope you might consider Zahana in your giving as well. You may do so on-line from the links in this update, or you can as always send a good old check in the postal mail to Zahana (see website for details).For the last minute virtual gift you could always download a Zahana Thank you card and make a donation in somebody elses’ name. Happy Holidays,Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus
Dear Friends of Zahana: This is a reminder: Thursday, December 16 is Bonus Day at GlobalGiving. Every donation is matched by 50% until they run out of matching funds. Last time GlobalGiving ran out of matching funds for the first time, so please donate early, if you can. We apologize in case you get this progress report from another GlobalGiving project. This issue is overarching and posted on all three. The latest Zahana report (Nov. 2010) illustrates our definition of “success” quite drastically: Background: In 2006 the community of Fiadanana built their own water system with help from Zahana. Zahana hired the water experts, who living in the village for two months, taught the villagers how to lay pipe from a ground well in the mountains over a mile away. Seven communal faucets provide clean, safe water to everybody all year round all over the village ever since.Report from Ihanta in Madagascar: “In Fiadanana where they got safe drinking water in 2006 through seven communal faucets, the impact is tremendous. A key reason why we found teachers willing to move to the village of Fiadanana was the availability of clean safe drinking water. It is the only village in the area that can make such a claim.Mparany, our Zahana teacher, reported that since he has been living in Fiadanana, no child’s death was reported. The only death in the village was a woman who had surgery in the hospital of Tsiroanomandidy for appendicitis some 2 months ago. Berthine, a member of the women’s group, confirmed that before Zahana in the “hard times period” (époque dure) between the harvests from October to December, it felt like almost every day one child passed away from diarrhea. (She said 26 deaths in 2 months.) She explained that people from Fiadanana now have to carry their water with them if they have to go to another village, since their stomachs don’t feel well drinking the water from the other villages.” (More in our November Newsletter.)It is Zahana’s guiding development philosophy to make life in the villages so livable and attractive that it is worth staying there with your family working the land. A lot of development problems connected with urbanization and sprawling slums attracting impoverished farmers can be avoided if people are not forced to leave for the cities in an often futile search for a better life.As you might plan your end of the year giving, we hope that you will remember Zahana (even if you missed “bonus day”). We have ready-to-use Zahana gift cards you can download off our Zahana website as a do-it-yourself project if you want to add a personal touch. Happy Holidays and thanks for your continued supportIhanta, Jeannette and Markus
The solar water pasteurizers have been accepted well by the community. Zahana has a few solar water pasteurizers per village and they are being used in the schools for and by the school children. In our second village (Fiarenana) the only well with water all year round has recently been dug in the schoolyard. Safe drinking water remains an issue when using ground water. The teacher uses the solar water pasteurizer to make the water safe to drink for his students. He stores the bottles with pasteurized water in a shelf in the classroom to cool down to room temperature. As one girl told us: “If I get thirsty I just get up and walk over to the shelf and drink water out of the bottles. I can do this any time I want.”
The solar water pasteurizers have been well received by the villagers. In the school of Fiarenana where access to clean safe drinking water is still an ongoing challenge, solar water pasteurization is the best way to make the water safe for drinking.
In addition, our ‘solar volunteer’ Bruce has spent over two week in the villages and introduced a locally built model of a solar panel cooker. Using an off the shelf car window screen (bought in the big city) and a plastic bag, this home-made panel cooker is extremely light weight and versatile. (To learn more about solar panel cookers, one of the key solar cooking technologies, please visit e.g. solar cookers international www.solarcookers.org). Panel cookers have limitations, such as the plastic bag required, but are a great way to introduce villagers to the idea to use the sun for cooking. Small in size and easy to store, rice or beans can be cooked in an afternoon.
It has been Zahana’s learning experience that solar cooking should be introduced incrementally. Once some of the villagers have adopted the idea of experimenting with the solar panel cookers, they can be introduced to box cookers. The only sure way to learn about solar cooking is by cooking with it and getting first had experience.
Once they are familiar with box cookers and use them more regularly they can be introduced to the Balzintubesolar, that is so much more efficient that they will be convinced after the first cooking demonstration.
In addition Bruce introduced a solar panel that can recharge the community’s cell phone. These small solar panels need quite some hands-on training to be used efficiently or they do not work properly. Inadequate training can easily lead to frustration and solar technology just collecting dust. The solar panels, which also can power a light, are currently being marketed in Madagascar, but with a price tag of around $30 they are out of reach for most villagers.
It is certainly easier to report about the opening of a school or the planting of trees, but on a more somber note, here is the latest sad news from Madagascar.
Our village of Fiarenana was attacked for the third time by ‘dahalo’, or cattle thieves, a few weeks back. They came into the village at night, shouting loudly, throwing stones at the house and firing gun shots in the air. People huddled inside their houses in fear for their lives. They stole 11 zebu belonging to the pastor and 2 other people in the village. Our contact in the village reported on the cell phone: “The entire districts is devastated and in a state of shock, most villages have been attacked and robbed by dahalo at night, something that we have never experienced before in our area. In the village next to us a 15 year old boy was shot dead”.
Note: Zebu are cattle and prized possessions in Madagascar. Poor farmers raise cattle as a living savings account. They need at least two heads of cattle to plow their fields and pull their carriages. Zebus are an important source of milk. For centuries zebu have had great cultural significance and are vital for funerals.
Guns are very uncommon in Madagascar and nobody in the villages owns any firearms or weapons. In the past cattle thieves were very uncommon in our part of the country and armed with sticks they occasionally stole a cow or two grazing at night far away from the village, scaring and making the child watching it run away. People in Madagascar, rooted in cultural traditions, do not go outside after dark if they can avoid it. Since the situation got more volatile, many farmers have gathered all zebu inside the village at night to guard better against cattle thieves, putting them at the same time as risk of a violent attack inside their village. Fortunately for Zahana, people do not feel that they are more prone to fall prey to dahalo because of their cooperation of working with us, the ‘outsiders’.
We apologize if you get this update more than once, but by the same token say: “thank you for supporting more than one of our projects on GlobalGiving”
Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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