It is hard to believe that 2023 will mark the start of the fourth year of the pandemic. While many around the world have been vaccinated and we deaths are much lower, in Japan we remain in high alert wearing masks and maintain social distance.
In early 2023 we will take a further step to realizing the promise of marugohan when we introduce a point system. This will give us more flexibility to tailor level of support with the household situation of a recipient. We will be able to provide more aid to single mothers with multiple children as well as elderly widowed women. Both groups suffer more when they fall below the poverty line.
Another change will be to institute a reservation system. This is part due to the rapid increase in construction in our immediate area. It is no longer safe or feasible to have long lines of people waiting to use enter marugohan market. The benefit for recipients will be a better user experience knowing their time will not be wasted waiting in line.
The world continues to be challenged by COVID and here in Japan things are no different.
On the positive side, 99% of people in Japan continue to wear masks. Moreover, people understand the need to take tempratures and santize before entering facilities. Our users are no different.
For nearly two years we have been using a coupon system. Each user is given five coupons which they can use over a 2-month period. This has been a highly effective method to provide food to a large number of people in a relatively short period of time. However, we are now looking at the next stage when we can return to the roots of marugohan which was giving back as one accesses the food they need.
Our goal is that by the end of the year we will have established the necessary processes and put into place systems to make this transition possible. When we first opened in October 2019, we provided 30kg of food each month to households. At the time this made sense considering how much aid we had provided pre-marugohan. However, in terms of logistics it was a cumbersome program to account for the kilos at checkout and it did not accurately reflect the value of the food being received.
Our goal is to operate marugohan like a store in which recipients are given maru points and the value of the food is very similar to what one would find in the supermarket. For example, if 1ltr of milk is ¥200 in the store, then in marugohan that same milk would be 200 maru points. We believe this shopping experience will make it easier and more equitabel for users.
On April 16, 2021, we had to shut down due to the increasing severity of the pandemic. We shifted to providing pre-prepared food parcels that were distributed to households seeking assistance.
On January 6, 2022, we began the first step in re-starting marugohan market by inviting recipients back inside to select what items they need. Households are given five coupons every two months. Each coupon can be used to come and select what they need from a wide variety of products. Last we began including frozen items.
To mitigate large numbers using the facility at the same time we expanded our hours to 12:00 – 18:00 (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). This has made it possible for us to still serve a large number of recipients while at the same reducing risk.
Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.