Jun 22, 2018

Kumamoto, its people and its self-reliance

A participant and her neatly organized office
A participant and her neatly organized office

JEN’s support activities for the self-reliance of more than 10 million people in 24 countries over the past 24 years. Since the establishment, we have been implementing international humanitarian aid mainly in disaster affected areas of the most vulnerable, but since the Chuetu earthquake that hit Niigata Prefecture in 2004, we expanded the stage of activities to Japan as well. The support activities conducted in Japan are self-reliant support "to support the power to live" for each of us’s hometown to revitalize, not to be bound by the definition and framework of the countries and regions that require conventional international humanitarian assistance. As an effort to greatly contribute to the realization of sustainable development goals (SDGs), we are engaged in support activities to solve problems of local communities that have emphasized disasters by creating disaster-resistant communities and disasters. Currently, the field is the 3 communities in Tohoku and Kumamoto's disaster community.
People in the community aim to realize a sustainable society that draws the appearance of their hometown five or ten years ahead, flexibly responds to changes in the times, and develops the ability to move forward.

ASUKUMA Phase 2 starts
~ There is no future of Kumamoto unless a local society in which young people can make an active appearance ~

Prior to being affected by the earthquake Kumamoto, like many other regions in Japan, had a big problem as a result of a declining birthrate and aging society and the outflow of young people. After emergency support for the victims of the earthquake disaster, JEN became a partner to Fumidas, which is working on resolving the local social problems of Kumamoto, and began activities to support the movement of regional revitalization. In order to continue and develop a sustainable society after JEN is withdrawn, the existence of a local actor is indispensable. Twenty participants in "ASUKUMA” program that started in the fall of 2016 finished their training in March 2017, now they are running towards commercialization of local small-scale businesses.
One of the participants, she was born in Aso (in Kumamoto prefecture) and grew up in Aso and moved to Osaka as a job opportunity. Taking the East Japan great earthquake, the future of her hometown became a concern. A strong desire to reduce Aso 's cultivation abandoned land, that she does not want to lose her favorite Aso Takana which grows only in Aso boosted her to return.

She made a U-turn to the local area, was trying to commercialize mustard using Aso Takana, called "Aso Takana - do". Due to low production efficiency, it became expensive by all means, even if made, even when it sells, she was getting into the dilemma that she can not reach the point where she can earn her living easily. Through participation in ASUKUMA, she began full-scale development of mechanisms to clarify the vision for putting it on the track as a business, pull out the timeline, and send out goods to outside of Kumamoto. Last year, Aso Takana - do was evaluated and grew up to receive the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Prize at the Best Furusato Food Central Competition. She does not stop momentum, she is sending busy days everyday, not only local cooperators but also encounters with young people with like mind and encounters with experts, expansion of sales channels developing from there. There are still issues to be addressed, such as production system and distribution, but ASUKUMA 2 is planning to address this.

In the second phase of ASUKUMA that started in April, we will support some of the area revitalization of Minami-ogunimachi, where is suffering from earthquake rumor damage besides supporting small scale social business. Despite the proven track record that the Onsen brand developed independently, in particular, they are facing a decline in tourists in Japan, affected by the disaster. Please also support us on what roadmap will be completed with ASUKUMA 2.

Aso Takana-do
Aso Takana-do
Onsen is affected by the rumor after the disaster
Onsen is affected by the rumor after the disaster

Links:

Apr 19, 2018

The project in Za'atari refugee camp ended.

Photo: Kei Sato / JEN
Photo: Kei Sato / JEN

On March 31, 2018, JEN concluded the support activities in Za’atari refugee camp. We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to all the supporters.

 

In 2012, when the Syrian crisis occurred, JEN started emergency assistance in Jordan, where receives refugees fled from Syria. We also start supporting the host communities where accept refugees.

 

The number of people who evacuate to the camp near the border with Syria has increased day by day, and the population who was initially under 20,000 at the beginning was increased up to 130,000 people in a few months. It was indeed the emergency situation. After that, the activities continued to modify according to the needs.

 

Initially, the main activities were distribution of goods at the reception center (refugee registration place) and improvement of hygiene environment. We carried out various activities such as installation of laundry area, promotion activities to promote hygiene knowledge, awareness raising activities of water saving, installation and management of public toilets and water storage tanks, cleaning in camps, maintenance of water supply and sewerage systems and so on.

 

The Syrian crisis has prolonged, even in refugee camps, management with a mid- to long-term perspective has become a major issue. International organizations including JEN have worked more than ever on camp infrastructure development and community building support activities. The media project targeted at young people and cooperative activities targeting women were the activities we have done so that each one finds a meaning of life and takes the first step of self-reliant in the long-lived camp life.

 

These activities, supported and developed on the ground, were our local staff and volunteers from the residents who proactively participated. We would like to thank them for their dedicated contributions.

 

The Media Project
The Media Project
Community building activity
Community building activity
Goods Distribution
Goods Distribution

Links:

Feb 15, 2018

Support the younger generation; ASUKUMA II

Image photo from ASUKUMA I -1
Image photo from ASUKUMA I -1

As planned, ASUKUMA II(*) has finally started in January!

 

We had in fact a bit of delay due to the delay of brush up process of the project assessment. This time, it will focus on supporting the innovative entrepreneurs in the area of Aso City and Minami Oguni Town.

 

Learn the framework of being an entrepreneur such as; sustainable business model planning, problem-solving and how to make use of limited local resources. All the component of this project including team building are in order to revitalize Kumamoto prefecture. The target group is young farmers or those who are in agriculture sector and tourism industry.

 

Our challenge is to motivate each participants to let them grow by themselves that will eventually create larger impact when the project end. This way, we all achieve the true self-reliance.

(*)ASUKUMA - ASU(Tomorrow) KUMA (Kumamoto)

Image photo from ASUKUMA I - 2
Image photo from ASUKUMA I - 2

Links:

 
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