Peace Winds America

Our core belief is that disaster response begins with preparedness, and that both disaster preparedness and response should integrate the efforts of governments, militaries, NGOs and the private sector. By strengthening disaster preparedness and response in the Asia Pacific, PWA seeks to reduce the high human, political and economic costs of natural disasters in the Pacific Rim.
Apr 25, 2013

One more project to help fishery in Tohoku

Endo-san @ Shizugawa Fishing Cooperatives
Endo-san @ Shizugawa Fishing Cooperatives

Dear GlobalGiving PWA Fishery Project Supporters:

In my previous report, we announced the end of the Fisheries Support GlobalGiving Project, however, just as we put the report online we were contacted by the Fishing Cooperative in Shizugawa, Minamisanriku, who asked PWA to help them with building a windshield fence for their Oyster Processing facility to improve their working environment. PWA answered the call, and we wanted to report this activity to you.  We are very happy that we were able to respond and be involved in this project as PWA has been working so closely with Shizugawa Fishing Cooperative for the past two years.

 

 

Important Livelihood:

Oyster farming is a primary fishing industry in Minamisanriku. Before the tsunami, there were 43 oyster-farming families who brought in about 12 percent of the total fishing revenue of the Shizugawa Cooperative.

Processed oysters (those with their shells removed, then cleaned and packaged) are heavily favored by Japanese consumers. However processing requires a specialized facility with sterilization equipment and skilled labor. In spite of the these production costs, since processed oysters command a much higher market price, the net value to the farmer is considerably more than oysters in the shell.

The tsunami destroyed not only oyster farming/harvesting equipment, but also all the processing facilities in Shizugawa.  In 2011, oyster farmers lost the sales income of processed oysters, as the farmers were unable to rebuild and start the processing facility.

Secure employment for women:

Oyster farming and harvesting is typically done by men.  Oyster processing is primarily done by women, and provides them with an income opportunity rare in the Minamisanriku region.  Currently there are 23 women working at the processing facility.  

Adapt to the new environment:

The oyster season begins in October and runs through the frigid winter ending in May.  Winter processing is especially severe. The high winds created an unexpected issue for the workers at this new facility. Before the 3/11 disaster, the destroyed processing facility was situated among multi-story buildings, but now the new facility is close to the mouth of a river, with no buildings near.  Strong, cold mountain winds follow the river’s course and directly strike the factory and the workers.  Due to food hygiene regulations, heaters cannot be used while processing oysters.  People working at this facility suffer from freezing wind.

In order to resolve these intolerable working conditions, Shizugawa Fishing Cooperatives addressed the need of the windshield and PWA supported the project financially.

Voice from a beneficiary:

Head of Oyster Group, Katsuhiko Endo

"Thank you very much for constructing the wind shield. It is really helpful, and will aid us immensely as we shell the oysters. Although It is gradually getting warm during the day, the temperature in the early morning, when we are shelling oysters, is still very cold. Today's temperature in the morning was 3 degrees Celsius. We are still happy the shield is now ready, as there are also many windy days in April.  In the coming fall, we will be ready to start or work for the next season. We will do our best,"

This facility and windbreak will function for ten years or more, aiding particularly the livelihoods of women and contributing to Minamisanriku’s economy and well-being. 

Thank you GlobalGiving supporters!

Oyster Processing Facility without wind shield
Oyster Processing Facility without wind shield
Inside of the Oyster Processing Facility
Inside of the Oyster Processing Facility
No more cold gusty winds!  Wind shield completed!
No more cold gusty winds! Wind shield completed!

Links:

Apr 24, 2013

A diary from my visit to Minamisanriku in March

PWA Mari and Mr. Abe
PWA Mari and Mr. Abe

My coworker Ben and I visited Minamisanriku in early March to monitor project sites, meet with new district leaders and select shed recipients for the next phase of the project.  It was a short and intense trip, but otherwise very fulfilling.  I enjoyed meeting with all the district leaders and learning about how far they have come, and how far they have to go on their road to recovery.

We arrived in the middle of the wakeme and wakabe seaweed harvesting season, so we were served home processed seaweed everywhere we went!  Yum!

Day 1- Arriving in Tohoku.

On the day we arrived in Tohoku, it was 32 degrees and snowing. Our first stop was to meet with our local partner for the Fishing Sheds Program, Grace Mission Tohoku (GMT).  We have expanded the program to four new areas in Minamisanriku. Together with GMT we met with leaders in the four districts and announced the beneficiaries of the fishing sheds.

Takahashi-san, a leader from the Yoriki district had written PWA a letter last year.  He asked us to please help his district with sheds.   

            “…In my district, we lost 35 houses out of 45.  We have lost over 100 fishing boats.  All of our work areas have been destroyed.   It is painful to look upon our fishing port…”

When we met Takahashi-san at his home he was very happy to see us.  His first words were, “Peace Winds America! I’ve been waiting for you for a long time!”

When we announced his district’s shed beneficiaries, he was very pleased with our selection.  “These people really need a shed, and this will help them move forward little by little.  Thank you, PWA, for coming to my district.”

Day 2- Great local partner, GMT.

On our second day, we visited past shed beneficiaries.   As we met with the families, I couldn’t help but notice the trusting bond between shed recipients and our local partner, Grace Mission Tohoku. 

When I met with Kunio Abe, the district leader asked me “Where’s Akemi-san? She is such a delightful person and I really enjoyed working with her while they were building sheds in my district.”  There is great chemistry between us,” grinned Abe-san.  I knew then that PWA has a great local partner. 

Day 3 Tohoku still needs help.

As we drove around Minamisanriku, you could tell the recovery will take long time.  Where once there were houses now are vast empty stretches of land.  The tsunami not only took away people’s belongings but also erased many communities.  As time passes people will be relocated from temporary housing to new residential areas, but when and where?  People in the tsunami affected area face myriad problems ahead. 

For the fishermen, to be able to return to their livelihoods, whether harvesting fish, farming oysters or cultivating seaweed, helps them to move forward with their lives.

“Our house was swept away by the tsunami and we live in temporary housing far from the sea,” said Mr. Oikawa.  “At first we built our shed close to the ocean so we could store fishing equipment, but now we also use the shed to rest during work.  We used to have a much, much larger building big enough to store equipment as well as work.  This shed provides us with storage space and a place to invite our fishermen friends over for some hot tea.”

To them, fishing is their means of living, their way of life, and is the reason they are there.  Our sheds support more than just occupations.  They are places where neighboring fishermen bond with one another.

Thank you for your support.

Mari Poorman

Miura-san and PWA Ben with his new shed
Miura-san and PWA Ben with his new shed
With Oikawa-san at Isatomae port
With Oikawa-san at Isatomae port
Donor selection with district leader @ Yoriki
Donor selection with district leader @ Yoriki
Minato District Leader, Mr. Chiba
Minato District Leader, Mr. Chiba

Links:

Feb 28, 2013

Fishery Support Project Completion Report - Thank You!

Thank You from Shizugawa Fishing Co-op Staff
Thank You from Shizugawa Fishing Co-op Staff

Peace Winds America (PWA) thanks all the donors who have supported our Fishery Recovery Project.  This is our last project report, and we wanted to share our latest accomplishments and how you helped fishing communities in Tohoku region.

Abalone fishing traditional way:
Abalone fishing begins at dawn.  Fishermen navigate their boats to the harvest area, and catch abalone that are tightly stuck to the sea floor using water glasses and a specialized rod and hook.  Great skill is required to handle the rod while controlling the boat in order to have a good catch.  Abalone fishing is mostly done individually, and fishermen enjoy the friendly competition of the abalone harvest.

Bad weather, no boat, low market price, and harmful rumors – Nothing will keep Minamisanriku fishermen from going back to sea!
The Abalone season officially opened in November 2012.  During a normal season, there are five to six harvest days.   However each abalone harvest region only had three harvest days in 2012 due to bad weather.  

This season the abalone trading price was down 30% from previous fishing seasons.  No abalone was harvested last year due to the disaster, so abalone from other areas have taken Minamisanriku’s market share.   Moreover harmful rumors caused by the Fukushima nuclear crisis must have had an influence.

Additionally many fishermen still have not been able to replace their fishing boats damaged or lost during the tsunami.  Some fishermen were willing to share their surviving or newly-acquired vessels with those without, but demand for boats overwhelmed the supply during the harvest.     

Despite fewer harvesting days and fewer boats, the two fishing cooperatives were able to harvest almost as much as in 2010 (before the tsunami)!  What a great success!

Over 600 fishermen participated in the PWA subsidy program!
A total of 571 fishermen purchased abalone equipment through the PWA subsidy program.  PWA also extended support for sea urchin equipment since it only required replacing one component of the abalone equipment.  An additional 118 fishermen took advantage of our sea urchin equipment program. 

Ultimately  the PWA equipment subsidy program played important role in this year’s harvest.   Reduced equipment costs allowed more fishermen to participate resulting in additional income from the abalone harvest.

PWA continues supporting fishermen in Minamisanriku:
Though this project is finished, Peace Winds America will continue helping fishermen in Minamisanriku.   

PWA’s successful fishing shed program is now expanding to new districts!   This project helps fishing families who lost their homes, work spaces and fishing equipment.  By providing these families with a fishing shed (their base of operations), the families are able focus their resources on livelihood recovery and stabilization.

You can support fishing families who lost everything in the disaster.  Please  visit our new project site: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/sheds-for-japan-tsunami-fishing-families

Thank You for Supporting Fishing Communities in Tsunami Affected Areas!!

Why help fishermen?
Peace Winds America has helped Minamisanriku since the immediate aftermath of the disaster.  This created a strong bond between the people in this town and PWA.  We immediately recognized the importance of supporting the fishing industry as it is the economic backbone and the livelihood for the majority of Minamisanriku’s citizens.   It was natural for PWA to continue working with them to transition from emergency relief to recovery of the area.   For two years we have been working closely with two fishing cooperatives in Minamisanriku:  Utatsu and Shizugawa.   With a good understanding of the history and culture of the fishing industry, we have been able to identify rapidly changing local needs and provide effective recovery projects.

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $30
    give
  • $60
    give
  • $90
    give
  • $125
    give
  • $250
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $60
    each month
    give
  • $90
    each month
    give
  • $125
    each month
    give
  • $250
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Peace Winds America

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Peace Winds America on GreatNonProfits.org.