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Dec 16, 2019

Growing seedlings for reforestation

Tree seedlings in the school's mango forest
Tree seedlings in the school's mango forest

Sometimes a picture or two says it all, if you know what you are looking at. Voilà the photo above. (Which can actually be translated into English as “look and see”.)

But there is more to the pictures, than just rows of seedlings. In our last report, we talked about relocating the tree nursery next to the schools. The point of this move was with two goals in mind: greatly increase the area to grow tree seedlings and actively involve the students in caring for the young trees to be.

To our utmost delight, the new tree nursery area proved already to be too small. As you can see in the pictures, they moved into the Mango Forest next to the school to grow more seedlings. With the tremendous success of our improved cookstove project, the demand for seedlings for reforestation has skyrocketed. (To participate in the improved cookstove workshops a comittment to reforestation is a requirement.) If we need more trees, we need more growing space.

With the onset of the rainy season, the time for tree planting is approaching fast. And we hope to be ready to meet the demand.

Just add the seeds
Just add the seeds
A sea of seedlings in the mango forest
A sea of seedlings in the mango forest

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Dec 16, 2019

Improved cookstoves that really work

Improved cookstoves come in many shapes
Improved cookstoves come in many shapes

We have gotten the preliminary results or feedback for our improved cookstove project. Our founder put it this way: “Every week people, usually the men in the village, go for a day to collect firewood for their cookstoves, sometimes having to walk for hours to find it. In the past, what they gather lasts for a week. Now, if they use improved cookstoves, it lasts for 4 weeks. Everybody who was on the fence, now wants to get on board and build their own improved cookstoves”.

We call these results ‘preliminary’, because this is verbal feedback to our local coordinator. We asked him as the next step to collect hard data on how many households are actually using improved cookstoves, either exclusively or in conjunction with a traditional three-legged open cookstove. This means conducting a house-to-house to check so we can quantify the impact.

As an added bonus: Improved cookstoves can utilize (or burn) other biomass, such as dried corn stalks, twigs or reeds for cooking. In other words: anything you can gather in a five to ten minute walk around your village. This is especially important for single women with children who don’t have time, or a man in the family, to collect firewood.

Using improved cookstoves is a dramatic paradigm shift. Imagine if the city of San Francisco, or Honolulu, or Berlin for that matter, would cut their power consumption by 75%!

If trees could talk, they would shout: thank you!

PS:

We are proud to announce that our project made it on Deutsch Welle.  Take five minutes and watch the video.

Using eco pellets to stop Madagascar's deforestation
In order to slow down deforestation in Madagascar, an NGO is teaching local villagers how to make charcoal out of plant remains instead of cutting down more trees for fuel. - Permalink https://p.dw.com/p/3T335

The traditional cookstove gets a break
The traditional cookstove gets a break
Improved cookstove in the kitchen in Madagascar
Improved cookstove in the kitchen in Madagascar

Links:

Dec 5, 2019

Rabbits, small enough but plentiful

A pair of rabbits starts it all
A pair of rabbits starts it all

Our Microcredit projects have had very mixed results over the years. We will need to sit down by the end of the year with our new coordinator and have a close look at the successes and failures.

But: there is always a new project in the works. In consultation with an agricultural specialist, his recommendation was simple: breed rabbits. Pigs can easily become the target of the unfortunately more and more common raids by cattle thieves (dahalo), because they are big and can be herded. Rabbits are too small to be of any interest for a cattle thief, since they fetch a small price and cannot just be herded away.

But rabbits can either be eaten or sold during the holiday season in the next town. And rabbits multiply proverbially fast. This time we started small and took a different approach this time. Each school will get one pair of rabbits if and only if the community has built a rabbit house in the schoolyard. Once the rabbits start to multiply, interested villagers can come to the school, learn the ins and outs of rabbit breeding and only then receive their own pair.

Now to a bit of housekeeping:

We hope you will join us for our the end-of-year Giving Campaign.

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Best regards,

Ihanta and Markus

Marking the bricks for the rabbit house
Marking the bricks for the rabbit house
Digging for clay on site for the bricks
Digging for clay on site for the bricks
 
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