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.
Feb 20, 2015

Monthly Sri Lanka/Reviewing the past 10 years

Beneficiaries
Beneficiaries

During the past 10 years since the end of December 2004, we have been able to support living of more than 200,000 people by receiving about 620 million yens for emergency aid from Ajinomoto Co. Inc., the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kao Corporation, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. , Japan Platform, Japan Team of Young Human Power, Chabo!, Felissimo, Smile Heart Club of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd. Management Organization for Postal Savings and Postal Life Insurance, Yomiuri Light and Humanity Association and many other individuals.

3 year- assistance to the victims of the tsunami in the south of Sri Lanka
More than 30,000 people died in Sri Lanka due to the tsunami occurred in December 2004. Just on the next day of the tsunami, JEN dispatched its staff to the affected area and started to distribute urgent daily necessaries to the households that were going to move to the temporary housings in Hambantota District.

For the affected people who were living a brutal life because they had lost not only their family members, house and household goods but also their income source, we conducted job training (making coconut rope, fishing net, vegetable garden and so on) and group counseling for children through after-school activities in order that they could get new skill and regain positive force.

We have been able to rehabilitate living of more than 33,000 afflicted peoples during 3 years, and completed final self-reliance assistance project in the South by the end of 2007.

Holding a marketing workshop to increase incomes

A month after JEN held the Agricultural Training Workshop during mid-December, we held the next one that will contribute to increasing the incomes of our beneficiaries—the Marketing Workshop. Our main objective was to have our beneficiaries learn about how to efficiently sell agricultural products by gaining knowledge and skills in rural marketing.

To do so, we invited a facilitator who specializes in rural marketing in Northern Sri Lanka, and included topics such as:

1. 4 pillars of marketing (product, price, place, promotion)

2. Rural markets and customers

3. Quality improvement, price determination, distribution, selling techniques

4. Developing business plans

The workshop included lots of group works so that we could avoid too much lectures and have the participants were well-focused throughout the day. For example, the participants did role-playing. They were grouped and did a selling competition game by holding shops for fruits, vegetables, bags, stationary, etc. JEN staffs acted as consumers and walked around the room to see if they are convinced into buying products from each shop. It seems hard for our beneficiaries to practice any selling techniques and they just mentioned, “”What do you want? That is xxx rupees,“ as they lacked the knowledge. So the facilitator was able to assess the knowledge level of the participants based on this activity and include useful topics and group activities in the workshop.


At the end, the participants developed business plans using the marketing knowledge and skills they learned during the workshop. Each group was able to explain about their target customers, selling points of their products, price determination and selling methods.

Most of JEN’s beneficiaries live in areas where access to the local markets are limited, which deprives them of communicating with consumers directly. And they have to be dependent on middlemen who, in many cases, offer an unfair price to buy their agricultural products. We hope that the beneficiaries come up with better selling methods to increase their incomes by using the knowledge and skills they learned in the Marketing Workshop.

Interview to a beneficiary in Mullaitivu District

I’m living at Manakandal GND in Mullaitivu District with my three children. I got injured by shelling during last battle in my stomach. There are shells into my stomach without remove. I had problem to do hard work, out of my home to cate my family. I struggled a lot to manage daily life without fix income.

I am walking up and down every day around 1 km, to fetch water for my domestic use. JEN choose my family as beneficiary and provided seed, long term plant, barbed wire and workshop to start agriculture activities. I attended three workshops so far, such as community strengthen, agriculture and marketing. Workshop on agriculture gave me enough confident in my life. Especially training on compost making and organic pesticide killer are the new to me. Currently, I have started to make compost and organic pesticide killer. It is take time to make it. But, it is cost effective and healthy for our life.

I have cultivated black gram. I hope, I will be able to use organic pesticide killer to the black gram. Once black gram cultivation over, I will do land preparation for vegetable garden. At the time, I will use compost to fertilize land.
My dream is to build my life without dependability with the support of JEN’s assistance.  My joy is working into my garden with my children in a non-organic free environment. I thank to JEN and Japanese people a lot once again.

Getting advices from the facilitator
Getting advices from the facilitator
Beneficiary and black gram land
Beneficiary and black gram land
Feb 20, 2015

6th "Handicrafts Market, Hands-on Exhibition!"

Volunteers Weeding
Volunteers Weeding

On December 13 2014, the sixth "Handicrafts Market, Hands-on Exhibit in Ishinomaki: Making Handcrafting into Jobs", an event aimed at giving a leg up to women who do handicraft in Ishinomaki, was hosted by JEN at the central office of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives in Ishinomaki, Nakazato Agricultural Cooperative Hall.

JEN’s handicraft support project for 2014 aims at promoting the empowerment of women through handiwork and putting in place a mechanism needed to ensure women’s self-sustaining and lasting business by developing a network of contacts.

It all started with craft workshops held at temporary housing and public meeting places in disaster affected areas. Some female workshop participants wanted to find a market for their products, making their hobbies into jobs.

On November 15-16, they held a craft fair at Sun Park in Aeon Mall Ishinomaki. The “handicraft market committee” composed of female handcrafters arranged the fair in a new and different way that allowed “everyone to sell everyone else’s product, enhancing cooperation among the handcrafters. During the fair the handcrafters worked together on site management, product inspection, accounting operation and so on. Having diverse customers and selling others’ products seemed to have given them opportunities to learn a great deal.

From this year, the female handcrafters are going to come to host the event by themselves. We hope them to fully demonstrate what they have gained through their experiences so far.

 

Improving Children’s Park to Restore Their Associations

In the city of Ishinomaki, children have been having difficulty finding outdoor spaces to play because many of the city’s parks were left unrestored after being ravaged by the tsunami and other places like baseball parks and sports ground were used to set up temporary housing for disaster victims.

When JEN distributed questionnaires to children in elementary and middle schools and interviewed their parents this year, many of those questioned voiced the opinion that “the tsunami had taken decent places for children to play.” In response, JEN is now restoring two parks in the Kamikama district of Ishinomaki after carrying out a research at about seventy smaller parks on what kinds of needs for parks communities have, how many children will play in them, and whether there are any play spaces nearby. JEN is also helping the members of the neighborhood association bring the activities of the children’s association back into the district.

The neighborhood associations have held meetings many times among them about park restoration, providing a variety of ideas.

During the summer vacation in August, a total of seventy parents and their children in the district did exercise at the park every morning, just as they used to before the disaster, although the park was yet to be restored [The Japanese students have a custom to gather in a park early in the morning on their summer vacation to do exercise, but the district had been forced to give up keeping the custom due to the disaster.].

The neighborhood association and children’s association are now regaining their energy little by little by working together on restoring their park.

The construction work of the two parks was completed on December 7.

JEN will continue helping communities create a town comfortable for children.

 

Revitalization of Seaside Communities

On Saturday November the 1st and the 2nd, the second “Hamakon 2014 in the Oshika Peninsula”, a matchmaking event, took place in the Oshika peninsula in the city of Isbinomaki of Miyagi prefecture.

In line with locals’ request and with their cooperation, Hamakon was designed to address the challenges facing Oshika peninsula such as the outflow of population, the declining birth rate and aging population, and the difficulty of finding successors in the fishing industry. The event provides a chance for unmarried men and women to meet their partners.

This year’s event drew nine men from the Oshika peninsula and nine women from across the country. The male participants, who received prior instruction, made a united effort to make the event interesting. Thanks to the cooperation of local residents, the event created an opportunity for the female participants to see many interesting places in the Oshika peninsula and learn about how wonderful the nature of the Oshika peninsula is.

On the first day, the participants had one-on-one encounters, introduced themselves and played games in Meguro, a guest house featuring fine Japanese kappo cuisine in Obuchihama in the Oshika peninsula. The female participants seemed to like locally-hauled fish and seafood for dinner. After the dinner, the participants got along great and were excited to be chatting, smiling faces being seen everywhere.

On the second day, first, the female participants visited Yagawahama to talk with wives of fishermen. They talked about what it’s like to be married to fishermen over barbecued locally-hauled ascidians and scallops. Their next visit was at the “San Juan Park.” Under calm weather, the event went on as scheduled. Participants then had more get-to-know time, during which they played games, had good conversations and had lunch. Finally came the time for the participants to declare their interest for one another. Five couples were formed. Congratulation!

JEN continues to foster social revitalization of seaside communities by conducting activities such as this one. JEN’s goal is to bring more smiles to the people in these communities.

Redio Gymnastics Exercises
Redio Gymnastics Exercises
Couple Ringing the Bell of Happiness
Couple Ringing the Bell of Happiness

Links:

Dec 11, 2014

Assessing the needs of the internally displaced

Internally displaced persons camp
Internally displaced persons camp

Iraq has been the theatre of violent internal conflicts since December of 2013. The northern regions of the country have been particularly affected by the ongoing turmoil and as a result, over a million Iraqis have been threatened into forced migration. Humanitarian needs in Iraq are immense, and humanitarian access in many parts of the country remains a challenge for the aid community. Although JEN’s commitment of educational support remains, we have been refocusing our priorities to address the new challenges emerging from the current humanitarian crisis. We are presently monitoring the situation closely and are in the planning phase of a possible emergency assistance response.

The displaced Iraqis are living under very difficult conditions. Many are taking refuge in temporary camps for displaced persons. Cold weather, hunger and lack of access to bathing facilities are among the chief problems identified.

With winter fast approaching – temperatures in northern Iraq can drop to as low as – 15°C (5°F) – many people are in urgent need of winter aids. Kerosene is distributed as a heating and cooking fuel, but in some camps families receive a mere 10 liters (0.25 gallon) of the fuel per month. The queues to have access to bathing facilities are extremely long. In some cases, waiting in line to take a bath can take up to 10 hours. As a result, a high number of refugees bath very little, which contributes to the spread of infectious disease. At certain locations, most of the refugees eat only one or two meals per day because of a lack of financial resources. There is also a shortage of medicines, and camps are generally very poorly endowed with health care resources. Tragically, around 1,500 babies and children have died in the camps since June 10th till now. Many diarrhea and catarrh cases have emerged because of cold weather, lack of kerosene and blankets, lack of food and overall unhygienic living conditions.

JEN will continue to monitor the situation closely in Iraq and aims to bring emergency assistance to the displaced people of Iraq as soon as possible.

While we have refocused some of our attention to the current worsening humanitarian crisis, JEN continues on with its mission of improving educational environments through its school rehabilitation program.

Links:

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