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
Sep 28, 2011

Seven students from Fiadanana made it!!!

Seven happy and proud students
Seven happy and proud students

We just got this picture of all seven students from Fiadanana that got award the CEPE (Certificat d'etudes primaires élémentaires or Certificate of Primary Studies). Our wonderful teachers trainer, whos work made this possible as well is to the left.

“Getting a CEPE is a very big deal for everybody, nobody in their village ever got a CEPE so far”, our friend Dr. Ihanta told us on Skype. “8 of our students from our Fiadanana school took the exam. They had been preparing for weeks every day with their teacher. Seven of our Students passed the exam, while from other village schools only 30% to 50% of the students were so lucky”

In Madagascar a CEPE is a Certificat d'etudes primaires élémentaires (or Certificate of Primary Studies). A nation-wide standardized test, it can be awarded after attending five years of primary education. Students that don't pass either leave school without a CEPE or may try again after repeating the year in school.

Zahana’s school in Fiadanana is now 5 years old and these are our first students who qualified to take the CEPE. Established as private schools, Zahana has more educational freedom in choosing a culturally appropriate curriculum, but our children do qualify to take an external exam for the CEPE. Successfully passing the CEPE exam is a prerequisite to enroll in secondary education.

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Sep 28, 2011

Seven happy students!

Seven happy and proud students
Seven happy and proud students

We just got this picture of all seven students from Fiadanana that got award the CEPE (Certificat d'etudes primaires élémentaires or Certificate of Primary Studies). Our wonderful teachers trainer, whos work made this possible as well is to the left. So without further ado we wanted to add this picture to the last project report.

Links:

Sep 28, 2011

Cooking - the biggest need for energy

Loading the new rocket cookstove
Loading the new rocket cookstove

Last year our solar volunteer Bruce helped us introduce solar lighting to the village. He also was instrumental in trying to get the balzingtubesolarappliance to run in Madagascar. Having decades of experience in installing photovoltaic solar units in California, Bruce’s expertise was a godsend for us, but the innovative solar cooker did not work as well as we had hoped.

After spending a few weeks living in our two villages and participating in daily life, he gained the insight that improving wood burning cooks stoves is the most immediate and beneficial technology. He dedicated the last year to learn as much about cook stoves he subsequently field-tested his ideas and models in California, Laos and Thailand before traveling to Madagascar.

Cooking fires are burning in Madagascar in virtually every household.  If we could improve the efficiency of these cooking fires by only 50% we would cut the need for wood in half, with reduced carbon emission as an additional benefit.

The pictures of the rocket stove type cookers (an elaborate and much tested design by Aprovecho Research Center) donated to Zahana by Bruce are hand made in Madagascar. They are not very costly to make and can be replicated in a cottage industry setting. As with all technologies, Bruce is currently working on making it even more efficient to increase oxygen flow. The two models donated to zahana are currently being used in the school to cook the soup for the student and out teacher said: “Normally we need 5 to 6 pieces of wood to cook rice, with this new cooker we need all but one. Although it is hard to light a fire”. Even more exacting for us is that we can use more and more, the dead branches from the acacia trees we planted in the school-yard instead of collecting firewood outside.

After our experiences trying to introduce the shiny and rather big blazingtubesolar, still the most efficient solar cooking currently available, it turned out to be in Malagasy eyes too high tech and complicated. It uses vacuum tubes and oil and looks very different (see website). We learned our lesson that technological leap froging did not work too well for us and we are now going back to basics, with a low-tech solar box cooker model. We are initiating to partner with a Swiss NGO that manufactures it in Madagascar, but they are a long way away from our project site in the other end of the island.

We hope that a really efficient rocket stove can get everybody excited to adopt a cultural change, since its pay back is immediately felt, once they see how little wood is needed (more about wood stoves on our website). Combining this innovative wood-burning stove we hope people will gave both technologies a chance to be tried and hopefully be adopted and save even more wood in the process.

Best regards,

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

Putting the cookstove to the test...
Putting the cookstove to the test...

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