What looks like a seed ball in the photo just following this report is the actual innovation: bio charcoal made from rice husks.
We asked our team to keep on the lookout for new improved cookstoves models or other innovative ideas during their visits to the villages.
After the rice harvest, there are literally big piles of rice husk all over the villages in Madagascar. In the past, they were considered ‘agricultural waste’. First, the chicken picked all the leftover rice bits out and then the wind took care of disbursing them, returning it to the cycle.
Under the guidance of our improved cookstove inventor Richard, Zahana and especially Donné, has been experimenting for quite a while carbonizing rice husks, utilizing another readily available resource for bio-charcoal. He used the specially built ‘oil barrel carbonizer’ for his experiments (see photo). Bio-charcoal for other organic sources than wood from trees is our twin project of the improved cookstoves. Experimenting on site with rice husk or corn cobs is leading by example as we want to make sure that it works first, before we promote it further..
It took the village of Analakely, our newest partner, to implement this idea. The population there is very innovative and they’re always open to try out new ideas. They implemented our research results and made their bio-charcoal with rice husk after this year’s harvest. They told us it was very successful and they will keep on doing it until they run out of rice husk. At the time of the site visit in November 2021 almost 60% of the households used bio-charcoal made from rice husk.
We hope they will be leading by example, because after the rice harvest rice husk is literally available right in front of their doors, eliminating the need to go for a walk to cut the grass or other biomass and carry it home to carbonize.
Monthly donors - the sweet smell of holiday candy
Thank you to all of Zahana’s current monthly donors!
Here is a sweet deal: GlobalGiving’s monthly donor drive from Dec 13 to 17, 2021.
Every monthly donation pledged in this week will be matched 200% in April 2022. This means you donate for 12 months, but Zahana actually get 14 months out of the year 2022. How sweet is this candy cane, buy 12 get 14?*
Monthly donors, people who give a small amount every month, have become the backbone of our work in Madagascar. It gives us a reliable source of donations every month. It allows us to plan or budget for ongoing expenses e.g. salaries for our teachers and gardeners.
Monthly donations frees us from the stress of having to raise our budget for 2022 in the month of December. Traditionally, in the USA over 80% of donations are made in December. Just imagine: you might get one big paycheck in December and had to make it last all year long. Plus, you don’t really know what this paycheck may look like until Dec 31, the big tax-day for end-of-the-year donations. Plus, if some other emergency (or a pandemic) gets all the attention in December, we at Zahana might just fall through the proverbial cracks.
Please consider becoming a monthly donor for Zahana from Dec 13 to 17. Thank you.
*Monthly donations are capped at $200 per month, and have to be actually made for 4 months to qualify, to avoid shenanigans
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