Zahana

Zahana in Madagascar is dedicated to participatory rural development, education, revitalization of traditional Malagasy medicine, reforestation, and sustainable agriculture. It is Zahana's philosophy that participatory development must be based on local needs and solutions proposed by local people. It means asking communities what they need and working with them collaboratively so they can achieve their goals. Each community's own needs are unique and require a tailor -made response
Mar 12, 2012

Planting sweet potatoes

Rice and Laoka -The Meal in Madagascar
Rice and Laoka -The Meal in Madagascar

Sweet potatoes are an important part of a traditional Malagasy diet, eaten in two ways: sweet potato leaves in ‘laoka” a leafy greens soup, traditionally eaten with rice at meals.  (See rice on our website).  The other way is to eat the boiled tubers, or sweet potatoes as the meal. Commonly eaten as a substitute by people who cannot afford or get rice, that Malagasy staple food #1. Currently sweet potatoes are grown and eaten in both of our villages. “Two varieties: white like potatoes and violet. People like the violet, because it is very sweet.”

In an attempt to diversify crops we have a plan: Get as many varieties of sweet potatoes we can get a hold of to our village master gardeners and see if they can successfully grow them in their climate. This might be as easy as getting somebody to visit the markets in the capital and buy all the varieties available, or as far reaching as having travelers bring some back from other parts of the country and contacting research institutions for other, or new varieties. Should a new variety prove successful sweet potato will become part of Zahana’s “Seed Fund”.

The cultural acceptance of sweet potatoes is very beneficial. Sweet potato leaves are highly nutritious and high in vitamin B, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, zinc and protein. Other compounds, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have become the focus of research.  The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) recommends to eat them daily. The tubers, or sweet potatoes themselves also have a high starch content, pro-vitamin A and a sugar that is easy to digest, even for diabetics. (Please contact us if you would like some scientific literature).

Last but not least: Bonus Day will start on Wed. March 14th, 2012 at 12:01 am EST.  GlobalGiving will be matching online donations made on Bonus Day at 30% until the $50,000 in funds runs out. We hope you might think of Zahana in Madagascar on Bonus Day.

Best regards,

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

Sweet potatoes in the market in the next town
Sweet potatoes in the market in the next town

Links:

Mar 12, 2012

A short video about solar cooking

School and solar water pasteurizer
School and solar water pasteurizer

Dear friends,

We wanted to say: Thank you!

Thank you for the wonderful support for the last three years for our solar cooker project on GlobalGiving. With your help we have met the funding goal. With that achievement our active project on GlobalGiving will officially “retire” as funded after Bonus Day on March 14. We will continue to send you progress reports, an option provided by GlobalGiving for ‘funded’ projects.

We have great plans for the future with solar cookers. In the past few months we developed a relationship for collaboration with ADES (Association pour le Développement de l'Energie Solaire).  The latest news is: a Zahana representative will travel to Tulear, on Monday March 13, for the initial hands on training.

ADES has been working with solar cookers in Madagascar for over 10 years and has a wealth of experience and an extensive Malagasy training program. All their solar cookers are produced in Madagascar, creating employment for over 65 people, making it a truly Malagasy product. ADES is very clear that without proper training for at least a few days in the active use of solar cookers, it is challenging to introduce solar cooking as a technology that will truly be adopted for good in a village setting. We are currently working on the details of how either ADES trainers can come to our villages, or Zahana representatives might visit ADES for a longer training in their workshops.  The only downside is that Madagascar is a big county and ADES facilities require a three to four days travel from our villages.

Bonus Day will start at 12:01 am EST on March 14th, 2012.  GlobalGiving will be matching online donations made on Bonus Day at 30% until the $50,000 in funds runs out. We still have three other active programs with GlobalGiving and hope you might think of Zahana in Madagascar on Bonus Day.

Last but not least, have a look at our solar cooking YouTube video, where we tried to present the complexities of solar cooking in a humorous way.

Thank you for your support for our solar efforts.

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

Links:

Feb 19, 2012

Planting trees next to the schools

Mango seedlings and new seedling in the background
Mango seedlings and new seedling in the background

Both nurseries in our villages are growing lots of baby trees. 

In light of the ambitious reforestation project the community in Fiarenana decided to earmark the 1199 baby trees currently in their nursery for that purpose (eucalyptus, acacia, bibasse. moringa and mango). Especially the mango seedlings are already quite sizable and ready to be planted in a permanent location. Villagers themselves bringing tree seeds to the gardener, asking him to give them a try, is another sign that this idea is feasible. Eucalyptus, a tree that would not have been our first choice, was introduced in the village nursery this way. 

Young trees are very vulnerable to weather changes, dry spells and roaming cattle. The first beginnings of a replanted forest is growing on the slopes behind Fiadanana’s school. The biggest chances for seedling survival are under the watchful eyes of the school children next door. This makes the children the ideal caretakers and lets them experience through participation that reforestation is indeed possible.  It is our hope that as the children grow up the trees literally grow with them for years to come.

Fiarenana: gardener
Fiarenana: gardener's newest seedlings
New trees at our second school
New trees at our second school
young forest behind the school in Farenana
young forest behind the school in Farenana
slope behind school with kid for proportion
slope behind school with kid for proportion

Links:

 
   

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