Hot off the digital press: Zahana, and its founder Dr. Ramihanataniarivo, are features in the latest issue of Malamalama, the University of Hawai‘i Magazine (Malamalama means ‘the light of knowledge’ in Hawaiian). We have included the link below and we encourage you to use their “Leave a Response: feature.
We wanted to share this exiting development with you: The inventor of the BlazingTubeSolarAppliance (link below) approached Zahana and offered us to collaborate on using his solar cookers in Madagascar. This innovative solar cooker with a vacuum tube and oil is more efficient than most other solar cookers currently on the market and also works in cloudy weather. The BlazingTubeSolarAppliance is currently undergoing field-testing, and will be manufactured in China. Switching from a prototype hand-built solar cooker to a manufactured model comes with its own set of challenges.
Since we are talking about possibly more than just a few units, the parts will be shipped to Madagascar and assembled there, ideally on location in the village. This will give Zahana the capacity to use solar cooking for all children in the school and expand the project to the second school, currently being built by the village of Fiarenana. We will keep you updated about the progress of this new lead. The current political climate remains unstable in Madagascar and international funding agencies have still put all but humanitarian aid on hold. Zahana has decided months ago that despite our limited resources it is important to continue our work with the rural villagers, since they are not to blame for the events in the political arena. Many existing projects, such as a communal water system and the building of their school have been realized in the village of Fiarenana since then and we encourage you to visit our website for updates and photos.
Zahana has decided to focus on improving wood burning cook stoves before solar cooking can be introduced to the community. Since people will continue to burn wood for their cooking needs, especially in the rainy season, a firm commitment by the community to reduce the need for wood is a pre-requisite before more exotic techniques such as solar cooking can be introduced. Without laying a good foundation and a firm commitment to changing old cooking habits, solar cooking projects internationally were often embraced enthusiastically just to be forgotten within weeks of their launch. This just puts the timetable of introducing solar cookers into the next dry season of early 2010, when hopefully the political situation might have some resolution as well. The teachers and the students are still the cornerstone of implementing this new idea and the new school in Fiarenana will be built and hopefully be filled with children and adults by then. Including the innovative community of Fiarenana in this project makes sense.
The latest news for Fiadanana is that the community decided to build a solid foundation and a fence around the communal water faucets to keep animals out. The pictures below are from the official inauguration of the “new” fences.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. The contact information can be found below under “Who is Running This Project”.
Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus