The last Grassroots Women's Academy in Iwate
JEN has been partnering with local NPO’s as a new form of community support activity since October, 2015. In July, 2016, JEN partnered with “Women’s Eye”, a certified non-profit organisation based in the city of Tome in Miyagi Prefecture. In this report, we will see the types of activities that the new partner undertakes.
“Women’s Eye” was launched in July, 2013 after taking over the duties from its predecessor, “RQ Women Support Centre (Tome city, Miyagi Prefecture)” which was organized in July, 2011 by disaster-relief volunteers who came to work in and around the Sanriku shoreline.
During its support activities soon after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, they witnessed that women in affected areas take a backseat to men as the breadwinner, or children as students, either in their homes or communities. It became a calling for them to focus on helping such women to utilize their abilities and to play a more outgoing role in their homes and communities by giving them an opportunity to live life differently. In order to find out how to the help best these women, they carried out research from the point of view from women, mindful of the fact that people in the Tohoku region of Japan generally don’t talk too much about themselves.
As part of its efforts, the organisation hosted the Grassroots Women’s Academy in the city of Tamura, located in Fukushima Prefecture over three days from 5 August 2016. The Grassroots Women’s Academy is a workshop that provides learning and networking opportunities for young women from the Tohoku region.
The workshop was inspired by an international forum for young female leaders from the Tohoku region and experienced female leaders from both Asia and Latin America, which was held in the town of Minamisanriku and was co-hosted by Women’s Eye and Huairou Commission, a NY-based international NGO in 2015. Since then, Women’s Eye has been meeting to learn from others, share their own experiences with others, and grow themselves.
At the workshop, under the theme of, “how to get people in communities involved in our activities” women from Tohoku’s three prefectures weighed in with their own opinions about the challenges that they are facing and learnt from each other over the three days that the workshop was held.
Leveraging their partnership with JEN, Women’s Eye aims to help women to utilize their capabilities and to play an active role by giving women rich opportunities for mutual learning and cooperation in addressing the specific challenges faced by women.
The pictures: ©Women's Eye
The members of Women's Eye consulting each other