Ippan Shadan Hojin DSIA

The Durable Social Innovation Alliance (DSIA) stimulates sustainable Japanese-style social innovations through entre- and intra-preneurial activities, which are enhanced by alliances among diverse partners including companies, governments and NPOs. DSIA's goal is to create new social values and knowledge, but still path-dependently based on Japanese traditional and corporate culture, technology, socio-economic behavior and past experiences. The DSIA contributes to developing human resources who will tackle social issues, as "opportunities of changes" (Drucker), with a strong mind of social innovation and entrepreneurship. By doing so, we hope to re-generate and re-activ...
Sep 24, 2013

A New-stage Problem, but with Cooperative Solution

Tent as
Tent as

Dear Precious Donors,

     Please excuse my delay in sending my report on the Isatomae Tent Shop to GlobalGiving, since the Typhoon 18 which brought quite heavy rain and land slides on September 16, 2013, prevented me taking a trip there. It was too risky for me to travel and I might have been stranded in a train.

     The shop tent at Isatomae is still there being used as a storage, while the Fukko Publicly-financed Temporary Shops are attracting people over weekends with a newly added children’s facility. Situations are just the same as before. except that some serious discussions are taking place among diverse-involved partners about who will take care of the shop tent. This issue became really serious, since the strong wind and heavy rain of the Typhoon 18 might have torn the tent apart. One issue was that nobody was clear who owns the tent. In an early stage of emergency, the biggest concerns among partners were to have the Isatomae Community restarted and get the local economy working. Everybody was hoping to see the good effects of the tent, which was amazingly well achieved. But in this process, some tacit agreement seems to have existed who takes care of the maintenance of the tent.

     Until all members moved out of the tent in August 2012, the Isatomae Chamber of Commerce was fully taking care of the tent. Then, the remaining mountain school, which was closely affiliated with the Japan Forest Biomas Network, was maintaining the tent, according to the head of the Tengu Nature Mountain School in Isatomae. Since they also moved out in September, 2013, the issue of who owns and maintains the tent became a serious issue. The owner of the land where the tent is located seems to be claiming that the tent should be either removed or his company will use the tent for their storage. Discussions involving the Forest Biomas Network, the local Chamber of Commerce and the land owner seem to have reached a temporary solution that the land owner uses the tent for its storage under his maintenance, until newly arising needs of the local Chamber of Commerce comes out in the near future. The reason is that within two years the Fukko Publicly-financed Temporary Shop will be removed, since the land will be elevated to seven meters high adjacent to 8.5 meter-high dike (previously the elevation was reported to be five meters). All equipment and facilities currently used at the Fukko Temporary Shops will be stored in the shop tent, until they can all move into newly established permanent shops. When this final stage comes, three partners will discuss what to do with the tent, to be continuously used as a storage for the land owner or to be removed. This was a nice solution, since the tent is still usable and will be continuously used to support people in the Chamber of Commerce, though the final stage may be about five or seven years away.

     Thus, the cost for maintaining the shop tent does not have to carried by the local Chamber of Commerce. But donations are still in need to keep the dynamics of the Fukko Publicly-financed Temporary Shops. Your kind help for this cause is still very much appreciated by people in the Isatomae Community. I am very grateful for your help, since they still have a long and long way to go before they can really find their home and community in a permanent condition. Until then for about, may be seven years, everything will be temporary. It is a psychologically and really tough situation for people in the Isatomae Community.

Tent Shop Functioning as a Storage
Tent Shop Functioning as a Storage
The Tengu Mountain Nature School Moved Out
The Tengu Mountain Nature School Moved Out

Links:

Sep 24, 2013

Increased Programs for Future Survival

Children playing at the Kirarin Kids
Children playing at the Kirarin Kids

Dear Supporters of Kirarin Kids

Please excuse my delay in sending my report on the Kirarin Kids to GlobalGiving, since the Typhoon 18 which brought quite heavy rain and land slides on September 16, 2013, prevented me taking a trip there. It was too risky for me to travel and I might have been stranded in a train.

Kirarin Kids is really an amazing organization. Its staff is constantly making forward-looking moves as usual. They have now submitted documents needed for turning their organization to be recognized as an NPO, which makes them hopefully easier to secure their financial sources in the future. We will know within two months whether the status will be granted to them.

They are conducting regular children-mothers supporting sessions as they have been conducting in the past. In almost every month, they have a yoga session for both children and parents, an aroma session for mothers, music concerts, birthday parties and events, mobile toy library activities, mothers’ counseling sessions, childcare lessons supported by the UNICEF, local-food cooking sessions, baby massages, fathers’ day event, nobody perfect lectures for mothers, refreshing with a balanced ball, etc. They also have seasonable events, such as a Halloween party, evening events with bon dancing, etc. One program which is not working well is one for fathers to come to play with children. Although a session is scheduled once every month, Kirarin Kids is debating whether they should continue to offer the program, since nobody attends the session. One new program is to have a bus tour to the Tohoku New Zealand Village. It was surprising to find that children are not used to ride a bus in a collective way, since their life is more based on a family car. They added some interesting events. They are also planning to offer a lunch time coffee once a month, a bazar for exchanging used goods, and dispatched childcare experts to temporary housing areas.

With donations coming from the GlobalGiving, the Kirarin Kids started offering IT lessons for mothers starting from Sept. 30, 2013 and meeting five times. The purpose was to provide some opportunities for mothers to lean the basic of the IT operations, so that they may find some job opportunities in the future. Another type of training session is to provide English lessons for both children and mothers, so that they can be exposed to international environments. Such an early start of English for children may also trigger their future interest in learning English.

The Kirarin Kids is highly active, trying to satisfy the needs of mothers and children in Rikuzen Takata. Despite these achievements, the future for them is not certain, greatly due to increased competition caused by the nursing school. The key difference is that Kirarin Kids try to promote good and natural environments to build relations between parents and children, while a nursing school rather simply functions to take care of children while mothers are out working. Kirarin Kids seems to be promoting highly important values in the community, while mothers are showing a preference to work by leaving children at a day-care center. Your donation to support the Kirarin Kids means not only to support efforts to create good community environments for nurturing children for the future, but also to support Kirarin Kids’ belief that happy and warm parents-children relations, as it was a tradition in the Tohoku area, are indispensable to nurture the good future of children. Your support for this belief is very much appreciated, since they have a long way to go for building a nice environment.

Sincerely yours,

Yoshitaka Okada

Discussing Diverse Issues
Discussing Diverse Issues

Links:

Jun 24, 2013

Advancing Dynamically to Attract Outside Visitors

Isatomae Shop Tent
Isatomae Shop Tent

     The Isatomae shop tent still remains there, but it is closed for many days. Its usage has not been changed since my last visit. The nature school frequently uses the tent during a summer break for children, while it remains as a storage for shops in the Fukko Temporary Shopping Center located close to a shore road. But I have clearly identified the location of a new housing relocation area. As my picture shows, houses will be constructed in the nearest forest area from the tent. Since nobody is allowed to live along the coast any more, except building a shopping complex, people will move into the forest area. I am certain that this tent, being very close to the housing area, will be lively with people again as a community center.

      I visited Rikuzen Takata City first, and saw some construction of banks along the coast. But I could not find any bank construction work in Isatomae, Minami-sanriku-cho. It seems that an agreement among Isatomae residents has not yet been reached, though it seems to come very soon. They have agreed to build 8.5 meter banks along the coast and river, while the road will be elevated to 4.5 or 5.5 meters. It seems this road height is the source of disagreement. For residents, the elevated level of road determines the height of a wall created by banks, either 3.0 meters or 4.0 meters. The psychological effect of the difference will be quite big and important. Naturally, another issue is a disagreement between the government and residents whether the former has enough budget to accept local demand. So, they are getting a little bit behind relative to other cities, though they are advancing this issue democratically even asking a younger generation to develop an ideal redevelopment plan.

      Despite their delay, the local chamber of commerce is doing an excellent work to develop their local economy. The Isatomae community is too small to keep its economy going, and has to develop some mechanisms to bring outside people over weekends. They succeeded in doing so by organizing a local fish festival, a wakame (sea weeds) festival, weekend markets, a music festival organized young people, etc. It seems a reputation is well developed that if people come to Isatomae, they can always find some events and activities. In one event, they succeeded to attract about 12,000 people in the market. As a matter of fact, they have been so successful that the local police started having headache, since these events are eating into the police security budget.

     On Auguest 11, 2013, an event called “Festival for Utatsu Post: An Ocean Path which Linked People in its Drifting Trip” will be held. It involves a famous Okinawan singer, Mr. Shoei Higa, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIAC) which owns the Japan Post Corporations, and the Isatomae Chamber of Commerce. One red post box originally located in Isatomae was swept away by the Tsunami, and then one year and nine months later, it suddenly came ashore in Iriomote Island, Okinawa Prefecture. According to a specialist, it must have drifted away to the Hawaii Islands and back to Nishi Omotejima. Mr. Shoei Higa learned about this story, and his producer decided to use this post box as a symbol of helping the Isatomae Community. One day the Minister of MIAC invited Mr. Higa, a representative from the Isatomae Chamber of Commerce, and related others to give a permission to use this box for a festival and also to develop a plan for future use by the Isatomae Community. This August 11 event will become an enormously big one, which is naturally a serious headache to the local police. Students at grade schools and junior high schools are also to write about the wonder of how this post box linked people through its ocean passage. The local chamber of commerce is also to invite a group of hula dancers from the Spa Resort Hawaiians in Fukushima Prefecture, another victim of the disaster, to symbolize the distance the post traveled. The Isatomae Community is now much more livelier than three months ago.

Inside the tent, used as a storage
Inside the tent, used as a storage
Forest Across the Tent for New Hosuing
Forest Across the Tent for New Hosuing
Fukko Temporary Shopping Center
Fukko Temporary Shopping Center
Mr/Mrs Yamauchi, Vice Director of Local CC
Mr/Mrs Yamauchi, Vice Director of Local CC

Links:

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