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A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana

by Zahana
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A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
Stundents planting trees in Madagascar
Stundents planting trees in Madagascar

In 2019 we moved both tree nurseries to the school grounds. This serves the dual purpose of increasing the growing area and involving the students actively in the reforestation efforts literally from seed to planting.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day with its tree planting festivities, our students participated as well, by planting 'thier seedlings' thye had been tending to in the tree nursery with the help of our gardners. Since growing, planting and caring for trees has become an integral part of the curriculum, we hope that for our children tree planting will become a totally normal thing when they become adult members of the community, because ‘this is what they have always done’.

Plant what you grew in the nursery
Plant what you grew in the nursery
Students with their seedlings
Students with their seedlings
Joining tree planting party when they are young
Joining tree planting party when they are young
Moringa seedliings in the school's nursery
Moringa seedliings in the school's nursery

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Planting the lychee tree in the school yard
Planting the lychee tree in the school yard

For our site visit in October we bought five tree seedlings for each school: avocado, lychee, mango and 2 citrus trees. We bought them in a professional tree nursery along the way to the villages. Patronizing the same nursery where we had sent our gardeners for training before.

The trees seedlings were planted, with the help of the students at both school yards during our visit.

Reforestation is one of Zahana’s core activities. It is important for us to combine site visits with tree-planting as often as possible, with the active participation of our students. Planting not just “trees”, but fruit trees, that can provide foods for the students for years to come, is the logical next step.

October is still in the dry season in the high plateau of Madagascar. It is traditionally not the ideal season to plant trees. So, this is also an experiment that our founder described in the following words: “due to climate change that is very noticeable in Madagascar, we don’t really know anymore what the right season for planting trees might be. So we just have to try it, if it might work”.

Both schools have access to water. All the students have to do is water the trees regularly, until the beginning of the rainy season, later in the year, when nature takes over this task.

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And yes, houskeeping is required to keep Zahana going.

This is the end-of-the-year season where you get many appeals for support and enticements of tax deductibility. Yes, if you are so inclined, and have the means to do so, please consider our projects in Madagascar.

We also wanted to put a plug in for our latest GlobalGiving project Improved cookstoves prevent deforestation. It is our most ambitious project to date, that integrated many elements, including reforestation in its scope.  And the first results are amazing. You might enjoy reading our latest project report: Improved cookstoves that really work.

Professional tree nursery on the roadside
Professional tree nursery on the roadside
Slecting the seeling to take to the schools
Slecting the seeling to take to the schools
Planting seedlings with the Bary the gardener
Planting seedlings with the Bary the gardener
Watering the new seedlings
Watering the new seedlings

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Schoolgarden and tree nursery in Fairenana
Schoolgarden and tree nursery in Fairenana

The concept of the school gardens also underwent a change for the new school year with the input of our new teachers. In keeping with the philosophy that our school is more than learning the ABC, this year’s focus will to be planting ‘things’ they can eat for their school breakfast. Cassava, sweet potatoes, corn and greens will be grown with the help of our gardeners, who will playing a more active role in the curriculum again working with our new teachers. The food will be cooked on the premises in our school’s improved cookstoves.

In our school in Fiadanana the school garden was moved behind the old school, right next to the new and expanded tree nursery. In Fiarenana the school garden is still on the other side of the small school house.

In anticipation of increased demand for tree seedlings since we started our improved cookstove project, we moved our tree nursery in both villages to the school grounds. This greatly increased the available space for the growing area for tree seedlings, allowing the gardeners to grow many more tree seedlings.

Moving the (tree) nursery to the school, has the additional benefit that the students can be directly involved with growing, tending, and watering all seedlings for the reforestation project. This direct involvement in growing seedlings for our reforestation is in addition to their school gardens, where they grow food to eat.

In the past decade our gardeners had the plant nursery right next to their respective house. They could keep a watchful eye on their seedlings, literally in the backyard. But by the same token, space was limited inside the village.

There is one thing we can’t do much about yet: the weather. Madagascar was at the time of moving the nursery in the school yard still in the dry season (which makes not such great photos). Our schoolgarden In Fiadanana has just been moved to its new location and since the new school year just started the teacher said: "Besides seeds in the ground, covered by dirt, there is not much to see yet"

Now to a bit of housekeeping:

We hope you will join us December 3 for GlobalGiving’s #GivingTuesday campaign.

  • GlobalGiving’s 2019 #GivingTuesday Campaign will begin Dec. 3, 2019, at 00:00:00 ET and end at 23:59:59 ET on Dec. 3, 2019.
  • There will be a $500,000 Incentive Fund on #GivingTuesday.
  • The Incentive Fund will be distributed to participants proportionally based on final fundraising totals. This means that, at the end of #GivingTuesday, the projects that bring in the most dollars will win the largest portion of the Incentive Fund and every project that activates donors will earn something. More details

Looking for something simple?

Become a recurring donor and your first monthly donation will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving. Recurring donors are the backbone of our budget, since monthly contributions are less challenging and nerve-racking than banking on events such as Giving Tuesday or end-of-year giving to raise the money needed to make our work possible.

The schoolgarden in Fiarenana
The schoolgarden in Fiarenana
The schoolgarden in Fiarenana 2019
The schoolgarden in Fiarenana 2019
The new school garden behind the old school
The new school garden behind the old school
The new school garden Sept. 2019
The new school garden Sept. 2019

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An impoved cookstove with bio-charcoal
An impoved cookstove with bio-charcoal

We proudly announce the first short documentary about Zahana ‘Using eco pellets to stop Madagascar's deforestation”. It was produced by Eberhard Rühle for Deutsche Welle’s series Eco Africa.

Eberhard joined us during our last visit to our villages in Madagascar in October 2019 and has a lot of interesting video material documenting Zahana’s work, with more to come.

Most of the scenes of the documantary are filmed in and around the new school building.

At the same time, we wanted to announce our latest project with Global Giving: Improved cookstoves prevent deforestation.

The most impressive change I saw during our visit was improved cookstoves. It could easily become our most successful new project with long term impact, way beyond our two villages.

The improved cookstove is built by hand, exclusively with locally available resources, that can be gathered in and around the community where people live. Nothing needs to be bought or brought in from the outside.

Building an improved cookstove is taught in hands-on workshops in the community. They bring people together for a common goal: Learn how to make your own cookstove, and also ‘hang out’ and have fun in the process. Building improved cookstoves and building community.

But that’s not all. In keeping with the Zahana’s philosophy, we address more than just a single issue, in this case an improved cookstove, at the same time.

Three major elements cross fertilize each other in this big plan:

  1. Build improved cookstoves for every household.
  2. Teach techniques to produce bio-charcoal from sources other than wood, further reducing the need for firewood.
  3. Participants in the workshop need to commit to personally plant trees, or on a larger level, participate in our reforestation efforts.

If you click on the video "Using eco pellets to stop Madagascar's deforestation” you can see this plan in action for yourself.

We also wanted to get this project ready to launch ahead of December 3 #GivingTuesday campaign with GlobalGiving. Here is the outline from GlobalGiving in a nutshell :

  • GlobalGiving’s 2019 #GivingTuesday Campaign will begin Dec. 3, 2019, at 00:00:00 ET and end at 23:59:59 ET on Dec. 3, 2019.
  • There will be a $500,000 Incentive Fund on #GivingTuesday.
  • The Incentive Fund will be distributed to participants proportionally based on final fundraising totals. This means that, at the end of #GivingTuesday, the projects that bring in the most dollars will win the largest portion of the Incentive Fund and every project that activates donors will earn something. More details.

Looking for something simple?

Become a recurring donor and your first monthly donation will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving. Recurring donors are the backbone of our budget, since monthly contributions are less challenging and nerve-racking than banking on events such as #GivingTuesday or end-of-year giving to raise the money needed to make our work possible.

Not all improved cookstoves look alike
Not all improved cookstoves look alike
Bio-charcoal ready to use
Bio-charcoal ready to use

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The New Midwife in her CARMMA at work
The New Midwife in her CARMMA at work

We have a new midwife at our health center in Fiadanana. As public servants, paid by the Ministry of health, midwives get rotated to different posts every few years. With this one, we are turning an exciting new page in the history of our CARMMA, with a woman as midwife. Recently graduated, she has the most up-to-date knowledge possible. She jumped right in and personally visited all household in ours and the other 4 surrounding villages that are served by our CARMMA. Going door-to-door, she sought our all pregnant women in her CARMMA’s service area of 1801 people (number subject to change). She met each woman personally to talk about the advantage of prenatal exams. This is the first time a maternal health worker took the word out-reach literally, personally assessing the scoop of need out there. She is highly respected by the community for her efforts.

She also brought an adorable little daughter and her husband into the community. This is an exciting new development, because her husband is very interested in sports and immediately took over as coach for the football clubs. He is therefore continuing an important tradition, that sports activities and our health center are intertwined. He also has become the pro forma new driver for our health center. Our midwife is tasked with outreach to neighboring villages, to provide health services where there is no Health Center and administer the mandatory child vaccinations outlined in the millennium development goals. To meet this tremendous need in neighboring communities most efficiently, Zahana provided her with a motorbike. Mobility allows her to do within a few hours, what in the past required two or three days of walking. With a personal driver at her disposition, she can attend to medical needs and emergencies immediately after arrival. And with less spend time spent on the road, she can spend more time at the CARMMA, focusing on maternal and child health and providing a safe and sanitary birthing environment.

Dr. Evelyne, MD, one of Zahana's board members and a retired maternal health specialist, has offered to provide her with additional tailor-made training. This is a very generous offer, and we can greatly benefit from Dr. Evelyne’s expertise of over 30 years working in this field. In a long public service career, she has been a medical inspector on a provincial level, and is very familiar with the challenges and settings in rural communities on the village level.

Background: Our Health Center is one of the 26 CARMMA in Madagascar, inaugurated in May 2014. CARMMAs, as brick-and-mortar buildings are uniquely Malagasy, because they combine the traditional health center with a strong maternal health focus. In other countries in Africa CARMMA is a theoretical program, only in Madagascar CARMMA are brick and mortar facilities. People from neighboring villages without a health center also seek services there. More about this on our website.

Last but not least. We are proud to report: Since we build the clean water system in2006, until now, in 2019, no child has died in the village. In our CARMMA, infant as well as maternal mortality is zero, which is a fancy way of saying no mother or baby have died during birth. Uncontrolled bleeding is one of the most common and preventable causes of maternal death. In rural Madagascar this is preventable, if you are lucky enough to give birth in a CARMMA with much needed medicines stored in our solar refrigerator.

Midwife and husband with the regional director
Midwife and husband with the regional director
Midwife's daughter
Midwife's daughter
Getting ready for outreach
Getting ready for outreach
Midwife at the innaugration of the school building
Midwife at the innaugration of the school building

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Organization Information

Zahana

Location: Antananarivo, Capital - Madagascar
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @zahana
Project Leader:
Markus Faigle
Volunteer
Honolulu, HI United States

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