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A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar

by Zahana
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar
The New Midwife in her CARMMA
The New Midwife in her CARMMA

We have a new midwife at our health center in Fiadanana. Everybody in our vilage and beyond benefit from our well-stocked Health Center.

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.

The new Midwife with Regional Health Director
The new Midwife with Regional Health Director
Out-reach by motor bike
Out-reach by motor bike
The midewife
The midewife's daughter
The New Midwife in her CARMMA at work
The New Midwife in her CARMMA at work
Innauguration of our new school building
Innauguration of our new school building
New School building right, first one to the left
New School building right, first one to the left

The inauguration of our second school building June 2019 is exciting news and a major milestone for Zahana in many aspects. Watch the cutural dance performance of the inaguaration on our YouTube channel.

Looking back or context: Our first school was built by the community in 2006, right after they built their clean water system.*

We are honored the inauguration was attended by the education director of the Bongolava Region. (Madagascar is divided into 22 regions (faritra). A region can very loosely be equated an administrating unit, like a state, but without a governor. The capital of the 4th largest region is Tsiroanomandidy with an estimated population of over half a million. He is the highest ranking official for education in Bongolava. His presence to attend personally at this event is quite symbolic. Other dignitaries were the Medical Inspector for the Region and members of the ministries of health and local authorities.

Second aspect: Our second school building in 2019 was constructed and paid for by a French NGO. The founder Abel Legendre of the Association Pour que Vive Maroala attended the inauguration (with the white hat). Zahana was charged with buying the furniture and school supplies in addition to paying our teachers. We are very pleased at this collaboration and synergy that Zahana makes possible. This is the first major contribution by another donor for education, one of our core pillars of Zahana’s development philosophy. The same NGO also generously built the CARMMA, our maternal health focused health center in Fiadanana in 2014. The community got a beautiful, brand new second school building, without too much impact on our Zahana budget.

Aspect 3: This is more than a school.

This is the rural university we had always envisioned. Zahana has great plans for this school. It is designed to become a focal point for community wide education, including agriculture know-how transfer. The intention is to go beyond the scope of our current primary school(s) educational focus. “It is a school for all people living in the region,” our founder Dr. Ihanta explains. “It will provide an extensive curriculum that goes beyond traditional primary school education. Once the primary school in the morning is finished, the younger students can attend other classes oriented on their local needs, to improve their lives, when they become adult community members. Learning the ABC or math will be complemented by ‘real life skills’. We want to further involve and encourage adults to come, many of whom might have never attended a formal school before. As well as members of neighboring communities, widening the scope of our outreach exponentially. We are currently developing the new curriculum, and our rural university will officially ‘start’ in August.”

We are envisioning classes on agricultural improvements, by taking advantage of existing resources, but applying new innovative techniques (SRI comes to mind as a possibility), that lead to better yields or introduces new, diversified crops beyond rice and corn (maize). Reforestation and hands on building of improved cook stoves will also be part of our curriculum. Health, and especially maternal health and nutrition classes, will be offered. This new exciting challenge is very much an evolving process with a flexible curriculum that grows, changes and adapts, based on the community needs and the seasons.

Stay tuned for the new exciting developments in the coming months and years.

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

Students performing for the ceremony
Students performing for the ceremony
Dignitaries attending the opening
Dignitaries attending the opening
Traditional dance group performing
Traditional dance group performing
Regional education director cutting the ribbon
Regional education director cutting the ribbon
Visitors discussing the future of the school
Visitors discussing the future of the school
Education director, builder and funder of school
Education director, builder and funder of school

Links:

Coffee grown by Jean in Fiarenana
Coffee grown by Jean in Fiarenana

An important strategy of our microcredit framework is: Avoid spending your hard-earned money in the first place, if you can grow it yourself.

It has now been quite a few years since Jean our master gardener in Fiarenana approached us with the idea of growing (more) coffee (again). As a tireless innovator, he had already planted coffee in the past, before Zahana got to work with Fairenana, and knew from experience that it would grow well in his climate. At the beginning we hired him for the short-term project: growing coffee seedlings for his village. Since then a lot has changed, and Jean is now a crucial, indispensable part of the Zahana's staff in his village.

Sipping a cup of coffee as we write this report, we know all too well how important coffee can be for many of us… The same is true for rural Madagascar.

At the latest site visit earlier this year, Jean proudly showed us his new coffee plants that are indeed doing extremely well, next to the corn (or maize in the UK). As you can see from the picture, these coffee cherries have grown enough to bear fruit and are ready to be harvested soon. The ripe coffee cherry, if hand-picked dark red, makes for the best coffee. Since they don’t all ripen at the same time, this is a labor-intensive, picked one-by-one, process. Once again, our master gardener Jean is leading by example.

The irony is not lost on us that Jean will soon be drinking single source, hand-picked, sun dried, freshly (hand) roasted coffee...

Markus and Ihanta

Coffee cherries ripening (red)
Coffee cherries ripening (red)
Moringa leaves and flowers
Moringa leaves and flowers

Sometimes our activities can have unexpected, exciting consequences.

We have been planting Moringa oleifera for quite a few years in our villages. Since 2017 we have exponentially expanded this activity with the support from our teachers and our paramedic. Our paramedic told us, he now personally adds it to his diet daily, since it is literally growing across from his front door at our CARMMA health center.

You may be familiar with our Moringa activities, since we have posted about it on GlobalGiving and our website.

Much to our delight, since we started posting about Moringa we get an email our two almost every month inquiring about Moringa.  Some just want to know if it grows well and what we have done to successfully introduce it. Some local NGOs are requesting a more formal partnership and one is actually meeting our team in Antananarivo tomorrow, on February 26.

Of great interest from a microcredit perspective is: some actually want to buy seeds, or the dried leaves from us. While Moringa at the moment is first in for most an important nutritional supplement for us, these inquiries illustrate that there is a huge potential, also is an economic crop, for growing and consuming Moringa in Madagascar. As a very fast growing tree, this is a very feasible crop for generating additional income in the near future. 

Moringa in the schoolyard Dec. 2018
Moringa in the schoolyard Dec. 2018

Links:

Donne and Dore in Nov 2018 with study materials
Donne and Dore in Nov 2018 with study materials

Zahana has sponsored our two young man Donné and Doreé to secondary, then high school and now agricultural college (more on our website). The now young men spend all holiday breaks and quite a few weekends, if their studies permit it, in their home village of Fiadanana.

We have tried a variety of pig raising projects over the years.

Although we have not launched one in Fiarenana in a while, in this tailor-made project Zahana bought a gilt for their mother living in Fiadanana. The goal: raising piglets she could ‘give’ to her sons. Lucky for us, there were two piglets, one for each of her sons.

Now to the microcredit part: Zahana loans the money a piglet would cost, by providing each young man with their own piglet (raised by their mother). Once the piglet is a pig and sold, they are to pay us back the market price of a piglet into our micro credit account. The rest of the money they can keep, so they earn some income on their own, and don’t always depend on the Zahana stipend for everything.

Animal husbandry is part of their studies, but being involved in raising pigs in their village by having a personal stake in it, gives them a chance to put the learned theory into practice.

Please keep in mind: GlobalGiving’s 2018 #GivingTuesday with $150,000 in matching funds and 30+ bonus prizes are available for all 3 of our projects with GlobalGiving. The one day #GivingTuesday Campaign will begin Nov. 27, 2018, at 00:00:00 ET and end at 23:59:59 ET on Nov. 27, 2018.

Thier mother raising piglets for her sons
Thier mother raising piglets for her sons
The two piglets for Donne and Dore
The two piglets for Donne and Dore

Links:

 

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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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