Sponsor Fellows for Tohoku and Japan's Recovery

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Sponsor Fellows for Tohoku and Japan's Recovery
Sponsor Fellows for Tohoku and Japan's Recovery
Sponsor Fellows for Tohoku and Japan's Recovery
New community space developed next to Onagawa sta.
New community space developed next to Onagawa sta.

It has been 5 years since the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The earthquake led to a rapid brain drain from the affected area to other areas. One of the most serious challenges is the sustainable revitalization of local economy.

Against such a backdrop, the fellowship program focuses on the following three areas.

1) Work to support people doing something new
Hope for Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization in Onagawa town, Miyagi prefecture, plays a hub function to connect local people with resourses outside the town, such as human resources, professionals and major companies. Fellows have made significant contributions to the organization utilizing their expertise.

2) Work to make money
Sweet Treat 311, a nonprofit in Ogatsu town, Miyagi prefecture, opened Moriumius, a new facility for experimental learning in 2015. Their 8-day retreat program to learn in rich natural resources, receives high commendations from participants from all over the world. Some of the fellows joined the organization as full-time staff.

3) Work to protect the lifestyle
In Tohoku, the number of elderly people who need public welfare service is very large. Link and Rehabilitation plus, a nonprofit working in Ishinomaki city, Miyagi prefecture, provide exercise programs to elderly people. In addition, working with fellows, they provided a training program to 60 local people so that they can support elderly people.

For more information, please refer to our new report that introduces various new initiatives in Tohoku (We are sorry that it is in Japanese only.)

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Fieldwork in Kesennuma, a large fishing town
Fieldwork in Kesennuma, a large fishing town

As four and half years have passed since the earthquake, the public's interest in Tohoku's recovery began to wane.

To connect Tohoku and young professionals who want to contribute to revitalization profects, ETIC. launched "Tohoku Open Academy" project, a collection of 3-day fieldworks with recovery leaders in the three affected prefectures, Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima.

The fieldworks of the 1st batch has completed in the end of May, in total 20 fieldworks with 134 participants taken place.

After the 1st batch fieldworks, we see actions taken place among the participants. Some moved to local communities. Some prepared to start their own businesses. Some support activities in Tohoku while working in Tokyo.

To further promote their actions, we plan to 1) hold additional workshop and dialogue, 2) collaborate with Social Design Lab. at Rikkyo University to learn social issues in Tohoku deeply, and 3) hold a business plan competition to grant recovery projects in December. These activities will be covered by the fund and sponsorships.

Now we are preparing for the 2nd batch to be held in the near future.

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201 Fellows to 111 Projects - 62% still in Tohoku
201 Fellows to 111 Projects - 62% still in Tohoku

Almost 4 years have passed since the Great Japan East Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Thanks to tremendus support from around the world, ETIC could have recruited 201 Fellows and sent them to 111 recovery projects. As we described in the previous reports, Fellows have made significant contributions to the recovery of Tohoku, where the aging rate is very high and thus the lack of workforce has been one of the bottleneck issues.

About 62% of the ex-Fellows decied to stay in Tohoku to continuously work for recovery. Fourteen ex-Fellows launched their own company/nonprofit.

However, Tohoku is still on a long way to the recovery. A number of leaders need Fellows who work with them as a right-hand person. Therefore, ETIC decided to expand its target for the Fellowship Program from 200 Fellows in 3 years to 300 Fellows in 5 years.

In order to achieve the target, ETIC has renewed its recruiting website to attract motivated young people. We will actively pulicize information and stories on recovery projects with good leaders in Tohoku (we are very sorry that the documents will be written only in Japanese).

New recruiting website
New recruiting website
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Content image
Content image

Three years have passed since the great earthquake on March 11, 2011. We lanuched Tohoku Fellowship Program to suppor recovery efforts by dispatching young professionals to good leaders in Tohoku.

We have sent 182 Fellows to 102 projects in 22 municipalities seriously damaged by the earthquake, tsunami and accident of the nuclear plant. This program could have met human resource needs in Tohoku, where the aging rate is high.

We have made a report on 3 years of this program. To share the progress with overseas donors, the report is written both in Japanese and English. Please see the report to catch a glimpse of Tohoku's recovery.

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Gouta (right) with a Fellow
Gouta (right) with a Fellow

Before 3.11, Gouta Matsumura, the president of ISHINOMAKI 2.0, used to support communities in the coastal city of Ishinomaki. The earthquakes and tsunami on March 11th severely affected  his office, which was situated nearby a river, causing flooding on the ground floor and demolition of nearly the half of the building. In the beginning of the disaster recovery, he was working hard to clean mud and rubles. Gradually, more and more people, including volunteer staff from less affected regions, also joined the cleaning.

This was how ISHINOMAKI 2.0 started as an established organization that aims to involve both the locals and volunteers in community re-building in Ishinomaki. Declaring a mission of making Ishinomaki a city of openness and creativity, the organization has actively developed a variety of activities, such as publishing free magazines, organizing events, providing spaces for community activities, broadcasting radio programs, and running an affordable accommodation. Two staff members newly joined the organization in April, 2013, and since then, they have contributed to accelerating the organizational development.

Gouta hopes that, towards 2017, ISHINOMAKI 2.0 will catalyze more bottom-up initiatives for the town of Ishinomaki, which will hopefully boost communication between the locals and non-locals within the community.


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Location: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - Japan
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Koji Yamauchi
Project Leader:
Koji Yamauchi
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Japan

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