Emergency Aid for Kumamoto earthquake affected

by Japan Emergency NGO (JEN)
Emergency Aid for Kumamoto earthquake affected
Emergency Aid for Kumamoto earthquake affected
Emergency Aid for Kumamoto earthquake affected
Emergency Aid for Kumamoto earthquake affected
Emergency Aid for Kumamoto earthquake affected
Emergency Aid for Kumamoto earthquake affected
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 In order to continue and develop a sustainable society after JEN is withdrawn, the existence of a local actor is indispensable.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

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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

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Over a year and a half have passed since the Kumamoto earthquakes. Walking in the city center of Kumamoto, you may no longer find any scars of the earthquakes, but in the suburbs, local industries are still suffering from large impacts of the disaster.

 

Aso City had been attracting many tourists before the earthquakes, mainly students visiting on school trips, however, after the quakes bulk cancellation of trips followed one after another. The earthquakes cut off rail and highway connections between Kumamoto and Aso Cities. Tourists visiting Aso via the only remaining mountain road are limited, and both tourism and agriculture with rice paddies, which had been providing local food and tourist attractions, remain unrecoverable.

 

After the earthquakes, JEN formed a partnership with Fumidas, a general incorporated association that has been fostering young persons for many years in Kumamoto, and through the joint project “ASUKUMA” we have assisted the entrepreneurship of young people who are contributing to the revitalization of the community. The participants have started up various initiatives, such as managing a community café and selling agricultural processed foods.

 

The ASUKUMA project came to an end over a half year ago in March 2017. Now, “ASUKUMA II” is planned to start in order to support people who are struggling in the tourist spots where the impacts of the earthquakes are still evident. Unlike the previous ASUKUMA project that targeted individual participants from various parts of Kumamoto prefecture, ASUKUMA II will focus on Aso City and Minami Oguni Town and provide local people with help on problem-solving as groups. We would appreciate your continuous support for ASUKUMA II to create the future of Kumamoto through such initiatives as planning and pilot projects.

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Workshop Flyer
Workshop Flyer

This year JEN, with our partner organization, Muse Planning (contents available only in Japanese), gave help to single parents who were affected by the Kumamoto earthquake as part of our assistance activities for victims of the earthquake. 

The “Single-Parent Chat and Lunch Meetings” were held in Mashiki Town and Higashi-ku, Kumamoto City in March and April, respectively. In these meetings, single parents took the time to talk to each other about their daily lives.  A career counselor ran a workshop to give advice on how to get a job.

The participants really appreciated the meetings as exemplified by their comments:

“I was able to talk about my worries and anxieties and get peace of mind as I now realise that everyone is in the same boat”
“It was good that I could get to hear the stories of various people”
“My heart felt lighter when I met people who had similar problems”

Average annual income of single mothers in Kumamoto City has not increased for quite some time and has been stuck at about 1.8 million yen, which is less than half the average wage of the entire Kumamoto Prefecture.

Single fathers earn 2.91 million yen, which is about 70% of the prefecture’s average (according to the Kumamoto prefecture single parent family survey). The earthquake affected areas where already earning a living was not easy.

Kumamoto Prefecture conducted a survey on single parent families in August, four months after the disaster

Regarding the changes in income, only 2% of the people experienced a rise whereas 16.4% experienced a decrease; in particular, as many as 25.3% of the residents experienced a decrease in the Kamimashiki area where the extent of damage was most severe.

The single parent family survey which Muse Planning conducted with the assistance of JEN also clarified that people’s expenditure has increased.

Some people claim that not only did their income decrease but also that they spent their savings quickly because the cost of washing, bathing and eating out dramatically increased, so many face financial hardships.

Other people say that both cleaning-up after the earthquake and evacuation were costly too and that life has become very hard.

With their children at home people also said they had the additional problem of not being able to go to work.

JEN has learned from our assistance experience in the affected areas around the world and in the Tohoku region that after the disaster strikes the situation, rather than getting better, tends to at first get worse.

JEN is determined to continue our assistance activities all over the world by giving the highest priority to the care of people who are most in need.

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The final workshop
The final workshop

The previous report of Asukuma is available here

The members of the Asukuma Project have been working to address challenges to businesses in disaster situations for two months since the Project’s inception. The final workshop took place at the end of last year.

A total of 20 participants came up with 11 issues to be addressed. Some issues were brought to light by the earthquake and other issues were revealed during the Project activities. Importantly, the participants considered what kind of business would be able to survive natural disasters.

This presentation was a compilation of participant’s efforts over the past two months to consider the challenges involved with building sustainable businesses. These efforts evolved into their business plans. To support them flesh out their business plans, JEN has kept a close eye on their development.

A presentation on how to promote the Project
A presentation on how to promote the Project
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Organization Information

Japan Emergency NGO (JEN)

Location: Tokyo, n/a - Japan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @NGO_JEN
Project Leader:
Asuka Kuroki
Tokyo, n/a Japan

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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