Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar

by Zahana
Play Video
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Planting 15000 trees in Madagascar
Womens soccer game final
Womens soccer game final

In Madagascar, Independence Day, June 26, is celebrated across the country. This important holiday is marked by various cultural events such as songs, folk song contests, and visiting villages for cultural dances and sports competitions.

Zahana Soccer Cup

 
In our villages, young people organized a women's and a men's soccer ‘Zahana cup’ in conjunction with a folklore tournament for Independence Day. Eight participating teams for our 4 villages competed with the promise of a prize for the 2 finalists. The first qualifying match started April 10. Like a good soccer tournament, Zahana hired outside umpires to make the games as fair as possible. The men’s teams played 90 minutes, the women’s 60.
 
In the women's category: the score of the final game was 2 to 0 as the Tsaramandroso women’s club won 2 goals against 0 for Fiadanana.
 
Tsaramandroso’s women’s club won the first prize: a pig plus a brand new soccer ball. Fiadanana was entitled to a big box of pasta and biscuits and a new soccer ball. Pasta is considered a major prize and an exotic treat in a rice eating culture. The winning women’s team decided to raise the pig for breeding instead of preparing it for a big Independence Day feast.  Raising pig has become a big part of our microcredit efforts.  They stayed up all night in Tsaramandroso to mark their victory.
 
For the men's category: the Analakely club won against Tsaramandroso. During the normal time of the 90 minutes game, no goal was scored. The 2 teams demonstrated know-how worthy of professional players. As agreed, in the event of a tie, we proceed directly to the penalty shootout where each team has 5 chances to take a shot at the goal and score.
 
It was the Analakely team who obtained without fail their 5 goals against 3 for Tsaramandroso. The first prize for the winner in this case is a soccer ball and the equivalent of the prize of a pig. Analakely is identified as an Adventist community and a pig would not be appropriate. The second team enjoyed their new soccer ball and a big box of pasta and cookies that they displayed proudly in their dance.
 
We have noticed how football is the favorite sport in our villages and it is a great unifying experience that brings villages and communities together, since they visit each other to watch the games. All villages are within an hour’s walk from each other, so joining a neighbor in a game is within walking distance.
 
Folklore part of the Independence Day festivities
 
As a launching point, a vigil was organized at Fiadanana with a big campfire, to wait for June 26.
 
No holiday is complete without dancing and folk songs celebrating the occasion in Madagascar. (See videos on our YouTube channel.) Each community performed their folk songs and dances created for the celebration.
 
We only learnt during the Independence Day itself that the dances focused on Zahana activities as a theme or common thread for their folksong lyrics: Tsaramandroso made reforestation, biocharcoal and improved cookstoves a center piece of their perfomance. Analakely presented the cookstove and bio-charcoal in their dance. Plus, they gave us cakes made in the communal pastry oven and yoghurt made in the solar refrigerator - very tasty.
 
Moreover, the themes that each group has conveyed in their performances reflected the history of Zahana Association from its beginning: water supply, schools, health center, improved homes, bio-charcoal, reforestation, pastries, new cassava cultivation techniques and biological insect control.
 
Given the respective involvement and commitment of each village, and to honor their creativity, we have decided to consider all 4 groups from the 4 villages as winners: Fiarenanana, Fiadanana, Analakely and Tsaramandroso, each ‘won’ a box of pasta and cookies.

Winners of the womens final
Winners of the womens final
Second place is also great
Second place is also great
Dance celebrating reforestation and bio-charcoal
Dance celebrating reforestation and bio-charcoal
If you play it they will come
If you play it they will come
Mens soccer champion team
Mens soccer champion team
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Protected area, keep your zebus away
Protected area, keep your zebus away

We got this photo from Madagascar with the tag line: “The first enemy of seed balls are zebu when it steps on the seedlings. So we put a red zone sign up to protect the area with seedballs.”  (See video Reforestation with seed balls in rural Madagascar)
 
Context: Zebus, the cattle with the hump or humped cattle, play a vital role in Malagasy culture and are extremely valuable. Kept at night in cattle pens inside the village, in the daytime zebu are herded to pasture, wherever there is something for them to eat.
 
Looking at this sign, that reads in red letters: “Tolerana arovana kazy aso o iran’ny ombo” (Protected area, keep your zebus away) led us to ask a cheeky reply question via email (before the first coffee in the morning, I may add): Can zebu read in Madagascar?
 
The reply is a delightful insight in Malagasy culture:
 
Your question is so strange for us. Zebu never go alone anywhere. There is always someone to keep close by and watch these animals at all times. This is the job most of our little boys want to do.
 
“This sign was their [the students 'reforesting' with seedballs] idea and we respect it. In Madagascar we have our way of living, and to become a zebu keeper is the ultimate dream job for most little village boys. It gives them a chance to go outside and play and stay away from the influences of all the other village stuff.”
 
Truly a Malagasy meaning for the word ‘cowboy’.

- - - - - - -

PS: Our video Combining reforestation with locally made improved cook stoves in Madagascar has seen a great boost in viewership on our YouTube channel in the last few months. Please help us to keep this exciting trend going by watching and liking it. If you feel so compelled please also leave a comment, it does make a big difference for the YouTube algorithm.

Zebu or humped cattle in a Malagsy village
Zebu or humped cattle in a Malagsy village

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Seed Balls made in our schools
Seed Balls made in our schools

Note: Please watch “Reforestation with seed balls in rural Madagascar” our latest video documenting this historic occasion for context.

The start of the long-awaited rainy season came late this year in Madagascar.  By the end of January and early February there was lot of rain, unfortunately far too much in many parts of the country, especially the capital. And we fear that there are more cyclones to come, as we write this.

In our villages there is no better time than the rainy season to put our seed ball reforestation efforts to the test in the landscape. You might remember that our students made thousands of seed balls in September and October of 2021 during our schools winter break.

In January our students started the fun project to throw the first 1462 seed balls into the landscape, as you can see in the first part of the video. They also took quite a hike up the mountain to our water tank (2.5 km or almost 1.5 miles) that feeds our community built water system since 2006. On the slopes of the mountain our next generation of tree planters used more of their seed balls, this time more rolling than throwing it. Our founder said: “Covering the mountain with a forest again has been a dream of our gardener Bary for many years. Carrying seed balls up the hill instead of baby trees is certainly much easier, especially if he has many little helpers to do it. It is also more fun for the students, than carrying shovels and digging holes for baby trees all day long. And planted baby trees need to be watered by hand to make sure to take root. In the next few months we will see if this technique works as well as we hope. The fertilizer (cow manure) added to the seed balls mix should provide enough nutrients for the seedlings to grow if they get watered almost every day by mother nature. We have asked each student to remember the place where they throw their seed balls, so they come come back and check on the progress every week”

Please stay tuned for more seed ball reforestation updates soon.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Awards for the best gardeners
Awards for the best gardeners

The happy occasion is a big day: A few days ago, Santa visited the villages in Madagascar with gifts. Christmas is the big day children at our school await all year in great anticipation. This one special day they get their very own package of cookies (see photos.) Our team said: “just seeing excitement in their eyes as their faces light up, makes you happy to be part of it.”

But there was also a very special prize: the 5 best community gardens got awarded a bucket, cooking oil, salt, coffee, and soap. But the best prize was a lamba, or a sarong, made specially for the occasion. People in Madagascar wear lamba all the time including in the evening or for official occasions. To be fair and acknowledge all the 4 gardeners for their amazing reforestation efforts, they got the same useful gift as a reward. In addition, they also got new clothes, something that has become a Christmas tradition by now as well.

Another beautiful tradition is that Dr. Ihanta’s colleagues had been collecting clothes for Santa’s visit in the village all year long for quite a few years now. Despite the pandemic and they now being her former colleagues, they have been keeping up this tradition after she retired and many of the clothes you see on the gift table are from them.

Thank you for your support that makes out work in rural Madagascar possible.

Happy New Year

Kids waiting while gardeners get reward
Kids waiting while gardeners get reward
More cookies and clothing
More cookies and clothing

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Tending to the home garden
Tending to the home garden

“The spirit of a family garden in Fiadanana came back” was the comment of our founder Dr. Ihanta, when she forwarded the photos in this report we got from Fiadanana a few days ago. Some reports don’t fit in one slot, so we will cross-post this one in all of our projects. It is at the same time a bird’s eye view at the question: does our work have a lasting impact?

Sometimes you might just have to wait a decade to find out if it works, until people come around. Really?
 
Yes, really. Here is why:

In 2013 people planted vegetable gardens next to the houses in Fiadanana, our first village. (See website.) We originally thought it is kind of a no-brainer to have a garden right next to your kitchen, that supplies you with fresh vegetables as close to your cooking pot as possible. Dr. Ihanta had bought little vegetable seed packages and Bary our new gardener distributed them among the people interested. It worked really well and the vegetables grew happily all over the village. But then the idea fell asleep and for reasons unclear to us, people stopped growing vegetables next to their houses. It might have been connected to the cultural fact that rice farmers think only rice and corn, are ‘real’ crops a ‘real’ farmer grows, and vegetables are for ‘others’ that cannot grow rice. It might be a myriad of other reasons that will remain a mystery. Years went by.

Now in Fall of 2021 the vegetable gardens are back!  And they look better than ever before.

We were wondering if there might be a correlation between the huge and beautiful school gardens, thanks to Donné, that blossomed during the pandemic lockdown. Or could it be Donné’s persistent teaching by example planting and introducing new crops? People always thought onions and carrots don’t grow there. Donné put it to the test. Now everybody can see and knows: onions and carrots grow very well, after his bumper crop in our school garden.  

In October we made a staff adjustment. The midwife’s husband is very innovative and outside-the-box thinker. He would fit in well with a poetry reading in a smoky basement café in Paris. Before the pandemic, he was part of our teacher’s team in our school in Fiadanana. But the pandemic, with the school shutdown, helped him realize that teaching primary school is not his forte or calling. He is very passionate about sports and the soccer clubs he coaches. As staff, he also participated in all trainings conducted in his village, is a quick study and knows all of our projects well. Making your own charcoal, testing our new charcoal maker gizmos or researching new sources for carbon comes natural to him. In November 2021, we made him, loosely translated, a ‘controller’ or ‘independent evaluator’. In addition to being in charge of sports at the school, he now has a new role and position. He reports directly to Dr. Ihanta and not our local team leader. Solar energy to power the phones and computer at the CARMMA (the maternity clinic) makes this communication possible.

A skillful people’s person, his task is to visit all ten villages we work in and assess what is going on. On his agenda are questions like: do they indeed use improved cookstoves or make their own bio-charcoal?. And if not, try to figure out what is needed to improve the situation. It is a great plus that his family is the proud owner of a motorbike and he is very mobile.

The pictures of the gardens are from him as one of his first official assessments. Much to our delight, he had asked people why they started gardens. He reports, the most beautiful of all is run by a set of twins and their mother. Both twins have been students in our school. The other people he asked all have children who are currently attending our school. Another garden is from the president of the parents association.

It is our hope that teaching the children to garden in school, might in turn help them inspire their parents ‘back home’ to implement what they learned. Or implement it when they themselves grow up and become parents. This idea seems to bear fruit (or vegetables in this case.) We are happy the spirit of a family garden in Fiadanana came back. Welcome and we hope you stay for good!

Monthly donor drive – 12/17 Last day for a 200% match of your monthly amount

Thank you to all of Zahana’s current monthly donors!

This is a reminder: GlobalGiving’s monthly donor drive from Dec 13 to 17 is still on. In case the drive is over when you read this email we are grateful for any donation, monthly or in a lump sum you may consider for Zahana.

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 free 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 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, if you are able to donate, becoming a monthly donor for Zahana from Dec 13 to 17. Thank you.

If you prefer a single one-time amount we are of course grateful as well if you consider Zahana in Madagascar.

*Monthly donations are capped at $200 per month, and have to be actually made for 4 months to qualify, to avoid shenanigans

Watering the vegetables
Watering the vegetables
Tending the vegetables
Tending the vegetables
The garden with one of the twins
The garden with one of the twins
Sucessful gardening
Sucessful gardening

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Zahana

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

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.
 

Still want to help?

Find another project in Madagascar or in Climate Action that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.