Please note: check the links on the right "Latest web page additions" for current news. We have been switching to this format instead lately to avoid duplication (January 2013).
Solar box cookers arrive in the villages - more-
Chcek out the new Explorers Take Action pages for Zahana on National Geographic's new website.
Christmas is an important holiday for our villages in Madagascar. A Christmas tree is part of the celebration. In our first school in Fiadanana the tree is, as always, outside. In the village of Fiarenana the tree is inside the classroom.
For a few years now (since 2007) Santa Claus comes and visits the school children with gifts. This year Santa brought orange bags to both our schools with a toothbrush, toothpaste, a pencil, a ball pen, and soap. Santa also bought a package of cookies and a sweet treat (often the only sweet they get for Christmas).
And yes, with the end of the tax year coming up, you can still contribute to Zahana with a credit card via GlobalGiving (the tribute card challenge is still on until December 31) or with a check, as long as it is postmarked Dec 31 (more).
Ducklings in Basket, the latest update from our microcredit project.
August 2011: Our picture was chosen for the GlobalGiving 2011 photo contest! People could vote for our picture on Facebook until August 17.We are happy and proud to announce that Zahana has been chosen by GlobalGiving for the Project of the Month Club for August 2011. Please check in out and let all you friends know about this exciting opportunity.Link to GlobalGiving
June 6, 2011: We are happy to announce that the Children’s Council of the city of Hanau has decided to generously supported the school food program for both schools for a year! Thank you very much! See Children for a better World e.V. for more information about their work
May 18, 2001: Moringa oleifera in the schoolyards
April 2011: Solar pasteurized drinking water in Fiarenana
Soup for the children in school in Fiarenena
Zahanas latest News as of February 28, 2011:
Thank you for making us a superstar! With your donations and support as well as great work by Zahana, we were awarded “Superstar” status, the highest level that an organization can reach on GlobalGiving in February 2011!
Regular progress report by our amazing Malagasy team, combined with your donor support got us among the 30 superstars, a brand new program launched at GlobalGiving. We are very proud Zahana is among the 2.5% of the best!
January 18 2011: Sorry, we did not get selected for the Frod Focus test drive.DEC 21, 2010: Please view our video "Changing lives in Madagascar" More
As you might plan your end of the year giving options, we hope that you will remember Zahana. We have ready to use Zahana gift cards you can download off our Zahana website as a do-it-yourself project if you want to add a personal touch.
Drive through Spain in a Ford Focus and raise US$10,000 for Zahana
The latest Zahana Newsletter from November 2010 has been sent by email to our mailing list. We created a 2-page pdf file as well for those who dont have on-line access or like a nicer layout that can be printed on paper.
Nov 24, 2010: Two more gift cards have been added with the latest photos. Check out our do-it-yourself section for alternative gift giving this holiday season.
Nov. 20, 2010Please reports and photos from our latest site visit by Zahana in November.
A word about our master gardener in Fiarenana
Update: the second potato seed fund
A quick note about our solar activities
Solar cooker update - July 2010
Watch the new slide show of the opening ceremony for the school in Fiarenana
June 27, 2010: It is certainly easier to report about the opening of a school or the planting of trees, but on a more somber note, here is the latest sad news from Madagascar.
Our village of Fiarenana was attacked for the third time by "dahalo, or cattle thieves, a few weeks back. They came into the village at night, shouting loudly, throwing stones at the house and firing gun shots in the air. People huddled inside their houses in fear for their lives. They stole 11 zebu belonging to the pastor and 2 other people in the village. Our contact in the village reported on the cell phone: "The entire districts is devastated and in a state of shock, most villages have been attacked and robbed by dahalo at night, something that we have never experienced before in our area. In the village next to us a 15 year old boy was shot dead".
Note: Zebu are cattle and prized possessions in Madagascar. Poor farmers raise cattle as a living savings account. They need at least two heads of cattle to plow their fields and pull their carriages. Zebus are an important source of milk. For centuries zebu have had great cultural significance and are vital for funerals.
Guns are very uncommon in Madagascar and nobody in the villages owns any firearms or weapons. In the past cattle thieves were very uncommon in our part of the country and armed with sticks they occasionally stole a cow or two grazing at night far away from the village, scaring and making the child watching it run away. People in Madagascar, rooted in cultural traditions, do not go outside after dark if they can avoid it. Since the situation got more volatile, many farmers have gathered all zebu inside the village at night to guard better against cattle thieves, putting them at the same time as risk of a violent attack inside their village. Fortunately for Zahana, people do not feel that they are more prone to fall prey to dahalo because of their cooperation of working with us, the "outsiders.
June 24, 2010 Zahana is now on Facebook:
BONUS DAY: June 16, 2010
The GlobalGiving bonus day challenge on June 16, 2010 is over. For the first time in GlobalGiving history the matching funds were depleted before the end of the challenge. Check out the ledger board for details
May 2010: Our work continues...
Zahana is working in both villages. Our work is needed more than ever. This report by email from May 19, 2010 illustrates the impact of the economic crisis:
"The villagers got a good rice harvest this year, but what is sad is the price, they can get for it. During our last site visit the farmers complained about the price they could get for their harvest. This year they can only get of 360 Ariary per kg (less then 20 US cents per kg, or 10 cents per US pound), while it was over 600 per kg in 2009. To give you and idea what that means for them: to buy 1kg of sugar, 250 grams of salt and one small piece of soap they have to sell 10 kg of rice. This is beyond unfair, to grow that rice took almost half year, it is a way to kill the farmers and they will consider giving up planting rice at al
May 3, 2010
Thanks to GlobalGivings efforts Zahana was invited as a Global Action Atlas participant hosted by the prestigious National Geographic Society (yes the one with the yellow magazine!). Check out the beta version of the Global Action Atlas.
April 24, 2010, Washington DC, USA
We are grateful for the opportunity to visit GlobalGiving in Washington D.C. in April 2010 and present about our work with Zahana to the staff with a slide show and a question and answer period.
March 4, 2010: The official inauguration of the school in Fiadanana
The official opening of the school in Fiarenana was celebrated on March 4, 2010, although school already started in January after the completed teachers training. More
We wanted to update you about a very exciting development. The inventor of the blazingtube solar cooker generously offered by the end of last year to donate a large number of his innovative solar cookers and water pasteurizes to Zahana. We are very grateful, and this wonderful donation gives us the opportunity to expand the focus of our activities beyond solar cookers for the school in the future.
In January the first cookers were successfully produced in China. While we were in the process of figuring out the intricacies of shipping to Madagascar the devastating earthquake hit Haiti. With a dire need for water that is safe to drink the inventor decided to donate and ship most of the solar water pasteurizes and solar cookers to Haiti.
But since he is committed to support Zahana as well,
at this very moment a few solar cookers
and solar water pasteurizes are
en route to Madagascar on a cargo ship. Link
to a Hawaii TV newscast about the water pasteurizes.
December 27, 2009: Photos from the almost finished school in Fiareanana
December 22, 2009: the latest progress report from Fiadanana click here
November 7: Zahana publishes the first newsletter using Constant Contact. This will hopefully make updates and the distribution of electronic newsletters easier (and less time consuming than formatted PDF files for us volunteers).
First week of November: The agricultural expert joined the teachers trainer for a one-week intensive training in crop improvements. Based on the communitys interest he will come back prior to the next rice-planting season and conduct a tailor made training about SRI (System of Rice Intensification). Although he is only able to stay one week at a time, he is committed to coming back as often as possible. He was very impressed with the community of Fiarenanas interest in improving and diversifying their agriculture and their willingness to learn about new farming practices that abandon the traditional "we always did it this way" approach.
Hot off the digital press: Zahana and its founder Dr. Ramihanataniarivo are features in the latest issue of Malamalama the Magazine of the University of Hawai"i (Malamalama means the light of knowledge in Hawaiian). Thank you to the editors of MMalamalama to include us in their Magazine and thank you Kelli for the great article!
Sept. 15, 2009: The community in Fiarenana is building their school
August 29, 2009: The community started building their school in Fiarenana with the help from Zahana.
June 5, 2009
Congratulations to Hailee, a 9th grade student, at Spring Lake Park High School, Minnesota, for getting 5th place for her Zahana presentation in her school’s competition. More
April 29, 2009
The GlobalGiving Green Challenge was completed April 28, 2009.
Thank you! Zahana made it to 3rd place and got the $1000 bonus!
April 23, 2009
The new communal well in the village of Fiarenana is completed. To read more please click here
April 3, 2009
The GlobalGiving Green Challenge April 4 to 28, 2009
March 15, 2009
Some of you read about Madagascar in the news and contacted us, so we wanted to send a short message. Thanks to email, text messaging and Skype we have been in constant contact with our partners in Madagascar and they are fine. One thing becomes obvious: we have to increase our efforts in rural participatory development and education.
Zahana has been focusing on making village life more attractive and livable so people dont have to leave their village in the first place in search of a better life. This can be done for example by providing development partnerships to built access to clean water or a school for their children.
Almost a decade back Madagascar experienced a very tumultuous political situation and as a result many people fled the cities in search of safety in countryside. In the case of the village of Fiadanana, Zahanas pilot village, its population increased by 20% and after the political situation stabilized most of the newcomers decided to stay, since they discovered the advantages of the rural over the city life.
We encourage you to frequent your trusted news sources for more information. We find use a UK website since it lists many languages as links.
Please write to us directly if you want more information.
Jeannette and Markus
But despite the disturbing news out participatory development efforts in two villages in Madagascar continue.
Based on the ties established with the community of Fiarenana in October 2008 a formal meeting was held in February 2009.
Zahana has been providing a Mofo Gasy every day for each student since August 2008. In December it was decided to add soup once a week to improve the protein intake of the children. To Zahanas delight the parent decided that besides a soup with beans they need to add rice or cassava to make it more palatable and are contributing this as their share. Soup is currently served to one group on Mondays and the second on Tuesdays.
December 5, 2008
Make your own Zahana Photo Gift Card
You can chose between a 5 x 7 regular size 8.5 by 11 card. All you need is to print, cut and mail your card. Please click here
For News prior to December 2008 please click here