A dedicated micro credit fund for rural Madagascar

by Zahana
Vetted
Fiarenana women
Fiarenana women's group infront of their pig pen

We were delighted when the women's groups in both villages approached us (again) with the request of starting a microcredit project: raising, or better fattening up pigs. We bought piglets that were about two-months-old* and provided them to both women’s groups to raise and later, after 4 to 6 months, sell for profit.

In Madagascar this endeavor is always accompanied with diligent record-keeping and signed contracts. In one of the photos you see the head of the women's group in Fiarenana signing the contract under the curious eyes of some of their members. As an integral part of our microcredit strategy Zahana only finances the purchase of the pigs, but the group decides who gets entrusted with the caring and feeding of the first round of new pigs. It is also up to them how to divide the profit from the sale. After the first batch of pigs has been raised successfully, they will rotate the care and feeding of the subsequent piglets among their members. We are doing this in the hope that one day every member of the woman's group will have at least two or three pigs at any given time. This would greatly increase their access to very much needed cash (as well as some meat for their families).

Based on past experiences it is of course possible that the women's group might decide to divide the meat among themselves, instead of selling it for cash, but only time will tell.

*According to our friend who is a specialist in animal raising and has worked for Heifer International for over 20 years in many countries, the raising of piglets is better left to the specialist pig breeder, who knows how to do that. They need vaccinations and other special care that a trained pig breeder knows about, because piglets are most vulnerable when they are very young and can die easily. Once they are two month old and bigger they have a much better chance of 'making it'.

Checking out the pig pen of one of the members
Checking out the pig pen of one of the members
Signing contract for Fiareanana
Signing contract for Fiareanana's women's group
Taking piggy for a walk in the hood
Taking piggy for a walk in the hood
Tending to the pigs in her care
Tending to the pigs in her care
Pig raised next to her house
Pig raised next to her house

Links:

Santa sighted at schools in Madagascar
Santa sighted at schools in Madagascar

Happy Holidays and a Good New Year - from Santa and our School in Fiarenana.

Our Founder, Dr. Ihanta used Santa’s visit to our school in Fiarenana as her official holiday card. Santa has become a ‘new’ tradition in our villages, since he started coming only in 2007 when our first school was completed.

Dr. Ihanta wrote: It was a big event for all of us. Santa brought lots of gifts: candies, coca cola, cookies, cake, bread and some lucky ones got clothes and sweaters. Good to know that they drink coca cola only once a year for a very special occasion [when Santa brings it]. One little boy was asked why he didn’t drink his coke right away, replied he wanted to save it for Christmas day. He politely didn’t agree with me when I suggested ‘everyday is Christmas’. I realized, he can indeed understand such things”

A beautiful bonus: the many trees in the background, making this cards truly amazing. Somewhere in the schoolyard it beautifully illustrates all the trees that have been planted over the past years, since the school started in 2006 (in the top right corner you can see the mountain, our mount Bevato, in the background, but the view in mostly covered by the trees).

Ihanta and Markus

PS: Yes we know all professional fundraisers and helpful materials tell us we should mention the end-of-year tax deducible donation. But you are smart and know that already, so why write more about it?

Potatoes and Mparany the head teacher
Potatoes and Mparany the head teacher

One of our most successful microcredit projects was to introduce potatoes in Fiarenana. Intended as an in-between crop for the time after the rice harvest and before the new rice planting. The project was so successful that we repeated it a second time the following year. You can read all about it the past success in our ‘potato story’.

One puzzling experiences in our participatory community development endeavors was, that the potato project did not continue a third time, let alone become a new tradition, such as tree planting every year. It sure was not for the lack of trying, hence the use of the word ‘puzzling’. We, that is Zahana, had been asking at certain intervals what happened to the potato project, and why they decided not to repeat it, despite an amazing harvest (two tons of potatoes with 100 kg of small potatoes as seed stock). All inquiries were met with very polite silence. In Malagasy culture not talking about something is also an answer. Despite our continuing curiosity or interest, why this most successful project did not continue, we got the message and at some time politely stopped asking. While this is frustrating for us, because we would really like to know what kind of impediments or difficulties might need to be addressed, we needed to take a step back and just ‘let it be’.

Needless to say that we were delighted when our schoolteacher in Fiadanana approached us with a request for potatoes. His, the neighboring village, did not participate the last time. What you see in the photo is a sack full of potatoes that was entrusted to him for a new micro credit ‘potato project’.

Now we just have to wait and see, with great anticipation, if potatoes might take off this time around. Three is a charm after all. And, we have a certain inkling based on experience, that this project has a huge potential for success.

Checking out the new potatoes
Checking out the new potatoes

Links:

Donne and Dore at home studying for the exam
Donne and Dore at home studying for the exam

Some events vibrate through the entire community and affect everybody. Seeing one of theirs off to high school has nver happened before.

At the end of June (2015) we got very exciting news: Donné and Doré had both been admitted to take the BEPC a nation-wide high school entrance exam (Brevet d'Etude du Premier Cycle).

Some of you may remember Donné and Doré, who had been living for past few years in the small town of Bevato attending secondary school  they were the among the first students who passed their CEPE in our school in 2011).

Over three days (August 3-5) they took the BREC in the town of Tsiroanomandidy. Their very proud parents and Zahana’s ‘Santa’ accompanied them to the town from their home in the village of Fiadanana.

For over a week everybody waited for the official results to be released. With great pride we can post this August 15 update from Zahana:

“Our brave country boys passed their exam! They are among the 51% in the entire region of Tsiroanomandidy who successfully passed their BEPC. I’m really happy and we will celebrate with them. Supported by Zahana they will be living in Tsiroanomandidy for the next few years and attend high school there. There is no better tenth anniversary gift for Zahana. Back in October 2005, when Raleva our traditional healer donated the land to built our community school nobody even dreamed of such a wonderful result for two of our students. They are the first in their community to ever attend high school”

*Explanatory note: Tsiroanomandidy is the next (and only) bigger town in the area. Tsiroanomandidy can be reached via a paved road from the capital (a four hour’s drive) and has such amenities as a hospital, electricity and a high school. It takes about four to five hours to walk from their village of Fiadanana to Tsiroanomandidy.

Donne and Dore
Donne and Dore's parental house in Fiadanana
Checking out the lists on the door for the exam
Checking out the lists on the door for the exam
Their parents the day before the exam
Their parents the day before the exam
Inside, waiting for the test to start
Inside, waiting for the test to start
ID Papers in hand waiting for the exam to start
ID Papers in hand waiting for the exam to start
Drying rice after harvest in the village
Drying rice after harvest in the village

This post rice harvest season we will do a micro credit project with rice, once again. It is based on the successful philosophy of the rice seed bank of years earlier. But this time we do it with the association of parents from the school in Fiarenana only. The goal of this project is to raise funds to maintain their school with the profits. This way the community gets empowered to support their school financially, without draining hard-earned harvest money from the parents.

The teachers in both schools have approached us as well to do a rice microcredit project with them. This will need some more meetings and clarification, especially if they envision this and a “private” enterprise, or a contract with them individually. We are very inclined to work with them, since out teachers are important opinion leaders in the community.

We decided to not re-launch the same project in Fiadanana again, based on our past experiences. The group in Fiadanana did not keep to the contract we had all signed. We think the best way to illustrate that there are consequences is to show them that we do continue to work with the people that do keep to their contract.

Rice paddy stored in bags for sale
Rice paddy stored in bags for sale
Zahana
Zahana's communal rice storage building
 

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 or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

Get Reports via Email

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

Organization Information

Zahana

Location: Antananarivo, Capital - Madagascar
Website: http:/​/​zahana.org
Project Leader:
Markus Faigle
Volunteer
Honolulu, HI United States

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

Find out what happens next. Sign up for email updates from GlobalGiving and this project.