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 2, 2016

Dry Food Production by ACS

The project officer, explaining the machine
The project officer, explaining the machine

JEN’s main approaches of supporting returnees are: enhancing incomes and, strengthening communities. The activities we describe below aiming for the latter one, through rebuilding the community and creating income sources.

The community we mention here is the ‘agricultural cooperative society (ACS)’, in which all project members participate. ACSs are established and supported in each project site. Each ACS selects a steering committee as its leader. The structure of a society is designed to enable all members to work together in order to seek solutions and address problems when they arise.

Previously they learned several skills at community strengthening workshops with various topics such as: what is leadership; problem-solving; relationship-building with local authorities; stakeholder analysis and, teamwork. The ACS provides opportunities for people to use these skills practically.

We also introduce activities which have specific themes, as ways to practice operational management of the community and also to create a source of income. This year’s theme is ‘dry food production’. The project is planned to be launched mainly by 7 to 11 steering committees in each project site.

Some days ago, a ‘drying machine’ which is need for dry food production arrived at the project site. Although its design is very simple, the machine is able to dry up to 20 kilograms of vegetables and fruit at once. We tried drying some edible leaves as a demonstration, just after the machine arrived.

JEN hopes that dry food production will lead to stronger communities and better relationships among project members and village residents, to motivate their cooperation in order to solve future problems.

 

Protect family members within long-lasting hardships

This is an interview of a lady who is supported by one of JEN projects in 2015. A tale of returnee lives in a village.

I am 43-years-old and a mother of two daughters who are 16 and 14-years-old. My husband was a war victim and it had carried on over 20years, and then suddenly our lives were destroyed by it.

After the forwards, we had faced on hardship and I had worked hard as a breadwinner. When I am participated in the JEN project, my life is given full of hope, as the project makes possible that I gain regular income which comes from my own agricultural business.’

Although I have some experience as I had worked in agricultural industry, I could not continue farming because there is no well. But, I will be able to start small-scale agriculture with JEN’s support and I’m looking forward to seeing a big change of my life.

Since the first excavation of the well has started, I cannot wait for completion of all the construction. After the construction finished, I’d like to start with a home garden for my family first. After that, if it goes well, I hope to sell vegetables which I produce and increase my income.

My daughters are also looking forward to the new well because they will not have to go out to wash their bodies any more. It has been our anxiety for a long time to go out since there are some security issues. I will be an excellent owner of the well.

To JEN and other staffs who are involved with this project, I have no other words instead of words of appreciation. JEN understands the fundamental problems which we have faced for a long time, and provided proper support for vulnerable people in our village when they need. Also, I’d like to thank all the people who supported JEN in terms of funding, to implement this project.

Access to water is necessary for people to live. We were touched by JEN’s warm support. I will remember the support whenever I draw water from the well.

 

She finished words with her future plan and showed a very cheerful face.

In the front of her house
In the front of her house
Jan 29, 2016

Moving on with the victims: JEN's New Effort

A partner organization, "Nursing Care for Men"
A partner organization, "Nursing Care for Men"

From the past experiences in Japan, it is said that there is an increase number of the victims who says that “the most depressing time comes three or four years after the disaster”. It is also evidenced by the various psychological studies.

Walking in the devastated area makes us realize that the reconstruction has not been made a progress yet. The reconstruction in the central city has been done. However; if we walk away from the city center, we see the bulldozers running in the devastated area by Tsunami.

The psycho-social of the recovery tends to be missed compared with the infrastructure because of its difficulty to be found out. As more time has been passed since the disaster, the problems, which existed before such as the number of youths decreasing, nursing care and poverty, have got worse.

Therefore, since October 2015, it is for the long-term solution in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures. JEN has shifted from its previous approach as a direct assistance to the victims to so-called “partnership” assistance with the local organizations.

As for the partnership, JEN works not only for providing the necessary material for their activities, but also for making plans together and providing a training to strengthen their ability to implement projects and building networks.

In Ishinomaki, JEN has a partnership with the local organization “Nursing Care for Men”. After the disaster, a lot of elderly couples are forced to live in their own, while being separated from their other family members. With the help of the medical and nursing experts, we are organizing a nursing care class for men to reduce men’s distress from nursing the elderly women, and their isolation. It also aimed to encourage the quality of lives of both nursing and being nursed people.

 

Aiming at Solving Regional, Social Challenges: SAVE TAKATA

As JEN started to provide a new form of support, this time, we introduce one of the organizations which we have a partnership: SAVE TAKATA. It is a general incorporated association acting in Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture.

It was after the Great East Japan Earthquake happened on March 11, 2011 that Mr. Nobuaki Sasaki from Rikuzen-Takada established SAVE TAKATA. Mr. Sasaki who had been working in Tokyo determined to drive back to his home town along with his friends from the same town with as many relief supplies on their cars as possible. Then he began volunteering to put out the information on the ground on the Internet, that’s how SAVE TAKATA started.

The population of the city of Rikuzen-Takata was declining before the disaster. However, this has been exacerbated by the outflow of young generations following the disaster.

The organization is working on helping farmers produce and market processed apples, the unemployed young find jobs by providing farming experiences, the youth acquire IT vocational skills, and students do volunteer activities. Thus, SAVE TAKATA aims to resolve both regional challenges which aging population and outflow of young people and social one which rise in unemployed young.

The goal of SAVE TAKATA is to build up rural areas where young generations can live with hope. With the partnership-based support from JEN, its members went on a tour to other rural areas in Japan to study how the locals have got through depopulation and promoted revitalization of the hometown on their own. Based on the findings from the tour as well as its activities up until now, the organization is planning to launch a new initiative to reach its goal.

Agricultural Support by SAVE TAKATA (C)
Agricultural Support by SAVE TAKATA (C)
Nov 24, 2015

For One Goal

Working on improving water and sanitation
Working on improving water and sanitation

JEN has continuously been working on improving water and sanitation environment at the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp. So we have meetings with other NGOs on regular basis. At the meeting, a new interesting idea came up by our senior staff. “Let’s organize a football tournament, where a sports event and hygiene promotion activity could be organized, with passing invitations to both of the local community and NGOs operating at the Za’atari Syrian Refugee camp footballers”.

The idea expected to bridge between the communities. “The gap between the local community and the NGOs community at Mafraq governorate is obvious, so the event could be one of the methods we can use to facilitate a joint understanding towards both of the communities”. JEN sponsored for all of the equipment required for the event, in a way that shows our commitment towards the local community and organizing such events for further integration process between the different targeting communities.

On Thursday October 8 2015, the football event was taken place. Eight teams attended the draw for the tournament. The participated teams were: JEN; International Relief and Development; and UNHCR teams; 4 teams from the local community, and one team from the Za’atari Syrian Refugee Camp. They all had one goal to enjoy the day with colleagues who they had not  had a chance to meet before.

For one of the purposes of the event as a hygiene promotion, the fifty children aged from four to five years old from the Za’atari Charitable Association came to join the event with their teachers. Previously, they had been invited by JEN’s hygiene promotion specialists for the sessions, role plays and activities that was targeting to get them familiar with the daily hygiene practices they should follow on daily basis while they were in school or at home like hand washing and teeth cleaning. The event concluded with distributing personal hygiene kits to the children. The excitement rose rapidly during the event and everybody seemed to have a great fun. All of the players were supported by the audience and it is the same as the players were joining international football matches with traditional songs, clapping or dancing over and over.

By the end of the event and after the final match, JEN honoured the winner of the tournament, the second place and the tournament best scorer. After announcing his name with the total of eight goals he scored during the three  matches, the best scorer Yazan’s smile was pretty. It seemed that he was proud of achieving a personal goal. This is because he was one of the main players to lead his team to the first place in the tournament.

After the closing ceremony, everybody agreed that we should organize such the event again in different villages surrounding the Za’atari Syrian Refugee Camp as it had a positive effect on all humanitarian operations that the NGOs were organizing. The host communities will also feel good when they are well supported by international NGOs even by simple activities like this tournament.

The best scorer
The best scorer 'Yazan'

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