We wanted to send you a short update and a thank you for having supported our solar cooker project in the past.
The solar cookers have been very well accepted in the schools. The students like it a lot and have been experimenting, and cooking is many things as possible. In the latest text message from the village, we received a little synopsis of the cooking efforts by the students. The students have been encouraged to keep notes:
Solar cooker- time to cook:
Rice: 2h30Zebu: 2h30 (zebu is beef eaten in Madagascar)Fish: 2hCassava: 2h30Dried bean: 3hBoiling water for coffee: 1hMadeleine (small cake): 1hCassava cake: 2h
Note: they let the internal temperature go up to 100 degree C (216F) before the pot gets put in the solar cooker.
Introducing solar cookers in the schools was a long-term project. The solar cookers have generated a lot of interest, because a solar cooker does not require firewood to make food for the children and, which seems to be even more important, there is no smoke in the cooking process, as with traditional firewood stoves.
Zahana will tie together the solar cooker project and the tree-planting project intertwined in a tangible way. In December 2012, it will be a year we launched the official tree-planting project. Working with the community leaders, we will identify the person, who has planted the most trees that took root successfully. Planting trees alone, is no guarantee that they will grow, if it is not tended to and watered by the person planting it. We had told from the community from the beginning, that we will give awards in the first, second and third year, to the person who has planted the most trees that are still growing. This year the price will be a solar cooker.
Dear friends,As a loose sequel to our last progress report about the water system and our participatory approach, The Tscherman Chef cooked something up again: a video with the community effort as ingredients. Development needs to be serious? (Although the issues sure still are.) If you spent 1 minute and 40 seconds watching our video on Youtube you can find out. The slide show about building the school is still my personal favorite page on our website. The video will also feature soon on our GlobalGiving project page “A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana” And a reminder GlobalGiving’ Bonus Day begins at one minute after midnight EDT on on Wednesday June 13, 2012 (Eastern Daylight Time or same time zone as New York). The formula is simple: your donations to Zahana will be matched at 50%. Last time GlobalGiving ran out of matching funds, please try early in the day if you want to supersize you donation by 50% with the click of a mouse. Details on our website.
Dear friends: In this report we wanted to take a step back, and look at the bigger picture beyond the scope of colar cookers. We apologize for cross-postings in our GlobalGiving projects.The report has been inspired by watching the TEDx talk by David Damberger: “What happens when an NGO admits failure” and our recent webinar hosted by GlobalGiving about the WASH Sustainability Charter. We learned from David Damberger’s talk, that many water systems built in Africa don't function much longer than one or two years, for many reasons, eloquently explained in his TEDx talk. We encourage you to watch his outstanding 13-minutes critical analysis. He is works with Engineers Without Borders having built many water systems over the years, but also has implemented the lessons learned in an innovative, inspiring way. Without mentioning it explicitly, if you look at the talk for our angle, he presents a good case why GlobalGiving's approach of directly matching donors with projects is better for both sides.Bonus Day begins at 12:01 am EDT on Wednesday June 13, 2012. The formula is simple: your donations to Zahana will be matched at 50%. Last time GlobalGiving ran out of matching funds, please try early in the day if you want to supersize you donation by 50% with the click of a mouse. There is a total of $75,000 in matching funds available. Once funds have been depleted, no more donations will be matched. Details
But now to the before mentioned bigger picture (keep in mind that most water systems might not work beyond two years after being built): Our very first participatory development effort in 2006 was to build a gravity-feed, clean, safe water system. We did this in a village that never had clean water before. This gravity-fed water system is still flowing uninterrupted for six years now, providing clean water for over 1000 people. Way up on the mountain, some 2.5 km or 1.6 miles away from the village, the clean spring coming out off the ground has been channeled with pipes in a water storage container on the mountainside. From there it flows, with the help of gravity, through PVC pipes into the village. Collected in a second large water container at the edge of the village, the water flows into seven communal faucets, accessible to all. It is still the only village with a safe clean water system far and wide in the region. We built this water system by hiring the water engineers, and paying them to live for three months in the village. Living in the community, they built the water system together with the villagers. This way, not only did they put in (unpaid!) village sweat equity, digging trenches, cutting stones, carrying cement and sand, and laying pipe that made the system more affordable; but they also learned how their water system functioned. A crucial part of this approach is that the villagers could be trained by the water engineers how to fix the system, should it break one day. All systems built by humans are bound to break sooner or later, but now the villagers are not only prepared for what to do, but also hopefully have the skills to do it themselves without outside help. As an additional safeguard, one man, jokingly referred to as the ’water police’, has been assigned to walk up and down the water system every day, to check for leaks or potential problems. Besides recruiting and paying the salaries for the water engineers, Zahana paid for materials the villagers could not afford, such as PVC pipes, the water storage containers and cement, with the help of our donors. It is exactly the participatory element that made it successful. Zahana worked together with the villagers to build their water system, instead of an outside organization coming in and building it for them, making it ‘their water system’, not ‘ours’. With this proud ownership of ‘their water system’, comes the responsibility to take care of it and maintain it for years to come. The only complaint that people from Fiadanana make (and that makes us proud) is that they don't like to drink the water in other places anymore, and are forced to carry their own water with them now if they are leaving their village.
It wasn't easy to find water engineers willing to live in a rural setting for many weeks, far away from home without any amenities, and work with an untrained workforce, since this was and is quite a novel concept in Madagascar. But it paid off in more ways than one as we were able to build the water system for less than 20% of comparable water systems’ (normal) cost, and it is still flowing strong for almost 6 years. Although still the single biggest success for us is that no child has died of diarrhea since the clean water system was built.Building our schools we have used the same approach: The community contributing the bricks and their labor and local materials and Zahana paying for the rest (doors, roof, cement, etc.,) they could never afford. We also hired and trained the teachers. We found an educational expert teacher-trainer willing to live in the village and train the teachers in their school and future teaching environment. Both schools are also still teaching children every day. Another first in the village’s history: four students have moved on to secondary school (more on CEPE). Our two gardeners live and work in the community where they grow seedlings and work the school gardens with and for the children. The gardeners salaries are also paid by Zahana.Participatory development means, and this is at the heart of it, to trust people that they will do their best when you give them a chance to take charge of their own development. That is neither easy nor commonplace in the development community. And there will always be failures and mishaps as well, as much as we would like to avoid that. And: Yes, it does require outside money, too. In a country, such as Madagascar, where a farmer may barely “makes” US$ 300 in a year growing rice with backbreaking manual labor, we will always need people like you supporting our efforts to make this participatory development possible. And yes, everybody wants to know, including us, how do you measure success? Well, get a glass of water (most likely it comes out of a tap or even a bottle for you), and take a good long look - at this clean, crystal clear, safe drinking water - and think about it where your water comes from, before you quench your thirst. Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus
Our solar box cookers have arrived in the village schools! These are the first pictures we got from Madagascar this morning. Zahana bought the all Madagascar made solar box cookers from ADES (Association pour le Développement de l'Energie Solaire). ADES is a community benefit organization active in the South of the country with workshops where Malagasy woodworkers built solar box cookers with locally available materials. After participating in a solar cooking training taught by ADES, our Zahana representative bought the cookers. He then took the solar box cookers, via the capital Antananarivo, to our villages. As you can see in the two pictures he is currently training the teachers on how to use solar cookers to cook rice and soup with the children’s for their school meals. Stay tuned for more pictures and news.Best regards,Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus
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
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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