Japan Emergency NGO (JEN)

We put our utmost efforts into restoring a self-supporting livelihood both economically and mentally to those people who have been stricken with hardship due to conflicts and disasters. We do so promptly, precisely, and flexibly by fully utilizing local human and material resources, considering this the most promising way to revitalize the society.
Jun 1, 2015

World Water Day

Wash Your Hands Campaign
Wash Your Hands Campaign

“Water means life, health and prosperity,” said a young participant at a three-day campaign on the occasion of World Water Day on Sunday, March 22nd World. “I believe this event tackled an important issue to those who live in the camp whether we stay at Za’atari camp or go back to Syria,” he explained.

The awareness campaign, organized by JEN, was launched at Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees with the theme of water and the need to protect and conserve water. The campaign included the publication of two main messages: “For better health, we need clean water. Let’s keep the water clean”, and “Water is for you and others; don’t waste it”. The campaign targeted males and females from three age groups: Adults, teenagers and children. Three different methods were used to deliver the above messages in accordance with each age group.

For Adults: Group sessions were held with refugees from both genders. During those sessions, awareness messages were discussed with the refugees through two key points: Ensuring that water is always clean and the knowledge that the share amount of water is 35 liters per day per person. Also they were informed about how to save water by re-using the drainage water after cleaning the dishes to clean the floor. During the sessions, trainers received positive feedback from the attendees regarding the value of saving water, especially when someone referred to the issue of water shortage in Jordan compared to Syria. They also realized that water resources in Jordan are not as abundant as they used to be in their own country, which reflected positively on their behavior in daily water use. In addition, the process of water testing for safety and cleanliness in the camp was discussed. Attendees indicated that they are confident of the water quality provided to them.

For Teenagers: Many group sessions and activities targeted 14 – 18 year-old teens. Activities included a contest that aimed to raise awareness for water conservation by letting them pour the water from a big bucket to many cups without spilling any water on the floor. The winner won a site visit to the water borehole inside Za’atari camp to see the borehole operation and filling the water into the trucks.

For Children: Many games and activities were played to deliver messages in the simplest ways to the kids. The games and activities that were held were face painting, a play performance, songs and drawing.

Most of the refugees who attended this event said that such activities had positive influence on their children and encouraged them to adopt new habits concerning the usage of water.

 

Menstrual hygiene sessions for women in Za'atari camp (Part 2)

The Community Hygiene Promoters invited 8 -10 women to participate in the session. Sometimes the sessions are held at JEN’s community center and sometimes at the hygiene promoter’s household. Generally one or two of the JEN staff attend the sessions to support the hygiene promoter.

During the sessions, the women learn much new information. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about how they can care for themselves in a hygienic way. Many women began to understand the workings of their bodies each month for the first time. They also inquired many questions that went beyond our hygiene sessions, so we referred them to the doctors in the camp. The women were extremely interested in learning about this topic.

At the end of the session each woman received a hygiene kit that was donated to JEN by UN Women. It contained many supplies that can be used for self-care and also items used for house-cleaning.

What are the most surprising things we learned through creating these sessions?

Originally we thought that women would not be interested, and that they would already know everything we had to offer. However, we quickly found out that some of them had numerous questions. One interesting myth that came up is related to food; some women thought that eating certain foods like lemon, onion, or coffee would be harmful, and they also tend to stop cooking during menstruation fearing that the food would be spoiled for their families. The CHPs have become experts at uncovering myths and providing facts.

What will we do next?

The menstrual hygiene topic was so popular that many more women have asked to volunteer as Community Hygiene Promoters with JEN. Two weeks ago, we conducted an orientation session with 16 new volunteers. Now they know the general topics of how to communicate, how diarrhea spreads, and how to hand wash properly. The women who are already giving menstrual hygiene sessions are also seeking other topics to discuss. We have already begun developing training sessions for them about dental hygiene and after that we will decide on the messages about water conservation.

 

Hygiene education on hand washing
Hygiene education on hand washing
Jun 1, 2015

Iraq Scabies Outbreak in IDP Camps

Materials for hygiene education, developed by JEN
Materials for hygiene education, developed by JEN

JEN sent emergency response to one of the IDP camps in the Kurdish region, which accommodates approximately 13,000 individuals. In a crowded emergency situation, where people live close to each other, the likelihood of diseases developing and spreading quickly is high. Although each tent is allocated a private toilet facility in the Camp, which allows for greater privacy and better sanitation environment, some people still engage in risky hygiene behaviors.

One of the major issues many IDP camps in Kurdistan face currently is the outbreak of scabies. Scabies is a contagious skin condition transmitted by small mites, causing rash and intense itchiness. Scabies commonly occur with lack of personal hygiene. Although it can be treated fairly simply with appropriate medicine, the disease can spread very quickly through skin contact with someone who has scabies or even sharing contaminated mattresses and blankets. When one member of the family is infected, the whole family becomes vulnerable.

In the Camp, there have been over 150 identified cases of scabies for individuals ranging from ages 7 months to 60 years old. In order to quickly minimize the impact and spread of scabies, JEN is working in collaboration with the camp management, UNHCR and other agencies focusing on health, provision of hygiene kits, medicine and clean mattresses and blankets to families that are affected.

In addition, in order to ensure that people can properly protect themselves from scabies and other common diseases, JEN is preparing to launch hygiene promotion activities through volunteer groups in the camp.

 

 

Water trucking in Mountainous Areas

The majority of IDPs are living in tents and makeshift shelters in temporary settlements scattered around the mountain in the Ninewa governorate.

During the preliminary assessment conducted in January 2015, JEN staff witnessed the dire needs of the community, especially in areas of shelter, food and water. In particular, the need for water access came out as one of the most urgent priorities, as the location of water wells or water tanks that received daily water delivery was far from many of the informal settlements. In addition, there were many complaints regarding the water quality, as the communal water tank was old and rusty which often contaminated the water.

To alleviate the dire living conditions, JEN has been working to improve the communities’ access to clean water. To that end, in March 2015, JEN installed 12 new communal water tanks near the settlements and has been delivering water through water trucks. Each day, trucks deliver a total of 24,000 liters of water to around 1,200 families.

Water distribution monitoring is also being done by the community representatives to ensure that the allocated amount of water is being delivered to the water tanks every day. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the community and its representatives and the truck drivers, JEN has been able to confirm that water is being delivered every day and there have been no complaints regarding the water quantity and quality!

 

Tragedy of Halabja

In March and April, there are many anniversaries in Kurdistan. One of its anniversaries on March 16th is the Halabja chemical attack. On that day in 1988, over 5,000 people were killed by chemical weapon in Halabja located in Southeast of Kurdistan. Even now, 15 years after the tragedy, people line up in the road and take a moment of silence at 11am on March16th. During the moment of silence, even cars stop and only the wailing sirens are heard.

People in Kurdistan know much about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, considered as the similar tragedies as the one in Halabja. When I lined up, I was asked whether Japanese people take a moment of silence on the anniversary of the atomic bombings. Other than in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and in schools, it seems that there are not many people praying. Around 70 years have passed since the end of war, which seems like a long time ago for us. On the other hand, after Halabja chemical attack and even now, people in Kurdistan have been suffering a lot. They would keep praying on the anniversary of Halabja chemical attack which epitomizes the hardship they experienced.

May 19, 2015

Handing-Over Ceremony

At the handing over ceremony
At the handing over ceremony

We completed our project at the Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi District in the north on March 21 with a 3 week extension. At the end of the project, we held handing-over ceremonies to officially deliver the provided items. This ceremony served as one of the turning points in JEN’s concept of “self-supporting livelihood.”

The ceremony was prepared and managed by local people who participated the activities and consisted of deferent colors depending on project sites. The method is traditionally based on Tamil, derived from the Hindu tradition. Examples include lighting candles by the guests, decorating the venue, painting a red point on forehead, etc. From March 22, we started a new project again in the Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi District.

 

Distribution of Water Pump

JEN Sri Lanka has been constructing 38 agro wells in the Mullative District and 10 agro wells in Killinochchi District. Normally, the rainy season starts from October to March and the dry season from May to September in Northern Sri Lanka. Recently the situation has changed recently in which the dry season may start earlier than usual as it has been sunny every day since January this year. During the dry season, when the water level is low, people need to prepare a heavy bucket at almost 10 meters to fill with water. Because this can be heavy and time consuming, we have been distributing the water pumps in hopes to alleviate the locals’ workload.

The ceremony of water pump distribution was held in three locations of Mullaitve District this time. When we arrived to the community hall in the area, there were many women waiting for us. In this area, one well is shared by 2-4 households. Water pumps with hose pipes had been handed over to each group, where they shared a well with a mother, who was ecstatic and grateful after receiving a water pump with hose pipes 12 meters long.

In this area, people sometimes carry water from the common well, more than 500 meters to 1 kilometer away from home.  Water is used not only for domestic purposes, but also for agricultural purposes. This being the case, people need to go back and forth many times during the day. In spite of the workload shared by the family members, the work still amounts to 5 to 6 hours a day.  In addition, it serves as heavy lifting for women and the elderly. Also, in dry season, the common well is dried up, causing people to downsize their farming areas.  By constructing agro wells and providing enough water, JEN will be able to decrease their binding hours and increase their crop yields, and therefore raise their income and instill positive changes in their daily lives.

Digging well
Digging well
Water pump
Water pump

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