Zahana is a community benefit organization working in rural Madagascar. Zahana works with the communities to identify the priorities they set for their own development and helps them to achieve these goals. In an approach called ‘integrative development’ they try to address all the issues important to a community simultaneously, such as clean communal water system, building a school (and training and providing the teacher!), malaria prevention or introducing solar cookers to tackle deforestation.
By introducing and testing this new technology in the schools first, children will learn about solar cooking and solar water pastuerization benefits first hand and can take this experience home. Currently a variety of solar cooker models are sold in Madagascar, but the price makes them unobtainable for most villages. To identify the solar cooker most suitable for the local climate, Zahana plans to buy and test a few of the models currently available. Integrating the solar cooking of rice into the curriculum, the school children will test them, comparing the results over time. Applied math skills will be an added benefit to getting a warm school meal. By starting small in our two schools and showing that solar cooking actually works, Zahana plans to scale up the project as soon as the most suitable technological model(s) are determined.
News and recent developments
November 2012: The solar box 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 for
- Rice: 2h30
- Zebu: 2h30 (zebu is beef eaten in Madagascar)
- Fish: 2h
- Cassava: 2h30
- Dried bean: 3h
- Boiling water for coffee: 1h
- Madeleine (small cake): 1h
- Cassava cake: 2h
Note: they let the internal temperature go up to 100 degree C (216˚F) 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.
- April 2012: Our solar box cookers have arrived in the village schools! Below is 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 them, 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.
- April 2012: In the pictures you see the first solar cookers waiting in the capital of Antananarivo to be taken to the school in our villages. Iaga, our founder’s grandson, is diligently inspecting the new strange boxes in the hallway and they find his approval. All we need now is the end of the rainy season that makes the roads to the villages passable again, so the solar cookers can reach their final destination.
We anticipate that in the dry season, or any sunny day for that matter, the solar cookers can be used by the teachers and their students. Solar cookers are ideal to cook rice and soup for the school meals.
These solar cookers are entirely built in Madagascar by local craftsman, though the organization ADES (Association pour le Développement de l'Energie Solaire). These sturdy “box cookers” are built to last for years of continuous use. A Zahana representative spent a few days with ADES participating in their solar cooker training and brought these solar cooker boxes back as his “luggage”. We are very excited about this new collaboration and hope to work with ADES for years to come, benefiting from their experience in the south of the country for over a decade.
- February 2012: We added a short video with the basic priciples of how solar cooking works.
- March 2011: Solar water pasteurization is a great success with the school children
- July 2010: Solar cooking activities for July 2010
- May 2010: Zahana received a generous donation from Blazing Tube Solar for solar cookers and solar water pasteurizers in February 2010 that have been shipped to Madagascar.
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Tel.: +1 (808) 988-9941