Zahana is a non-governmental organization in Madagascar dedicated to participatory rural development, education, revitalization of traditional Malagasy medicine, reforestation, and sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.
It is Zahana’s philosophy that development must be based on local needs and solutions proposed by local people. Participatory development means asking communities what they need.
Collaboratively working with them on their priorities, a community claims true ownership of their own development successes. To realize the community’s priorities, Zahana hires in-country experts to assist with specific tasks and buys supplies and materials the villagers are unable to afford. Villagers donate their labor and locally available materials to each project. In the village of Fiadanana, on the high plateau of Madagascar, integrative participatory development has been implemented since 2005. It is still going stronger than ever before in its 9th year in 2014.
The three ‘original’ priorities were: clean water, a school and a communal grain storage building. Since then we built a clean water system that is still running after 8 years (not a given in development work, see out website), built two schools and grain storage buildings. We added solar cooking, a strong school garden and reforestation program, as well as a true ‘seed bank’ microcredit. Since 2014 Zahana also has brand new health center, where a respected traditional healer works, assisted by western trained medic. We are an all volunteer organization and the only paid staff members are in our villages: two teachers, two gardeners and two teacher’s assistants.
$5 buys nutritious food (soup or Mofo Gasy, a rice cake) for two days for all our students in both school. Our children get food every day in school, so they have energy to study.
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