Difficulty of timing of rain

The anxiety caused by drought due to climate change in Sri Lanka was discussed in our previous staff blog. However, this time we are writing of the damage to farming caused by rain.
Once the rainy season begins, many families in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu cultivate beans such as black eyed peas, azuki beans, peanuts etc. They utilize huge plots of land, ranging from 500 square metres to 1000 square metres, which is beyond the imagination of ordinary families in Japan, and which allows them to harvest between 35 kg to 50 kg of beans.
The harvested beans are divided into three portions; those to sell at market, those to eat at home, and those to preserve as seeds for the next cultivation. Beans which are preserved as seeds for next time will be planted for longer and dried naturally.
Once these beans are harvested, they are stored in a dry place for 45 days. After that, people can plant these beans as seeds again. If beans are not dried enough and then planted as they are, an abundant crop of beans cannot be expected even if the seeds sprout. 
[Cultivation full of black eyed peas in farmland]
[Dried mung beans as seeds for cultivation]
Since black eyed peas and azuki beans do not require much water, lots of seeds could be
harvested this season notwithstanding the small amount of rainfall.
However, during this year’s harvest, heavy rain continued for a week in Mullaitivu damaging seeds which need to be dried naturally. Wet crops sprout easily so they are not suitable for food.
Moreover, they cannot be used as seeds for the next cultiv ation as they aren’t sufficiently dried. Farmers regretfully showed us their damaged crops.
[Black eyed peas which sprouted due to rain]
[Damaged mung beans]
Thus, it doesn’t rain when it’s necessary but on the other hand, it rains when sunshine is needed. This often occurring situation repeatedly places those people reliant upon farming for their living into a vulnerable position.
In Sri Lanka, where the weather is continuously unstable due to climate change, a further measure to minimize this risk is required.

February 16, 2017 in Sri Lanka |


Epidemic of mumps

It is well known that the various infectious diseases spread fast among students in schools, especially when the school environment is one lacking in knowledge of public health, individual health, and clean living.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the mumps are going around in elementary schools in Salahuddin Province.  Mumps are easily communicable among children and most of the students become infected.
JEN is implementing a project to raise awareness of health and a hygienic environment by providing training to teachers and textbooks for students.  Mumps is the topic included both in the training and the textbook.

[Hygiene training for teachers]

[Hygiene textbook for students]

I hope our new project will help more school students learn about the importance of hygiene.
Thikra J Elias

February 2, 2017 in Iraq |


2017, A Year of Drought

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "Disaster"? Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, landslides and what not come to mind easily, but how many in Japan would consider drought?

{Image shows a totally dried field, drought is a great concern across the world}

Droughts are long lasting water shortage caused by lack of rain. Unlike earthquakes and tsunamis, droughts start in an unspectacular manner causing water and sanitation problems as well as food crisis so that many people suffer from poverty.

Consequently, droughts are often referred to as a "silent killer". Sri Lanka has seen nine droughts in the past ten years, and around 310,000 people have been affected. For farmers, lack of water can be a matter of life and death.

[Dried water reservoir, in normal conditions, the water level should reach the road]
Because of the monsoon season in Sri Lanka there are two major harvesting seasons, Maha (September through March) and Yara (May through August).  Almost all of the rice consumed in Sri Lanka is harvested during these seasons.

Many farmers use rain water to run large-scale farming operations, however, this year drought has damaged yields from much of the harvest. Many in Sri Lanka fear drought during the dry season.

[Water does not reach the pipeline that connects with the waterway]

[A dried water way and drying rice fields]

Because of this concern, JEN is planning to strengthen the capability of disaster mitigation and prevention in Sri Lanka in 2017, including drought countermeasures.

Our goal is to support the self-help capability in individual families and communities so that people do not fall back into poverty. Our team will do our best to achieve our goal.

January 19, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

Christmas in Temporary Housing

Eight months have passed since the Kumamoto earthquake.

More than 2,000 houses were certified as fully or partially destroyed and 116 households of survivors are living in temporary housing in Aso City.

Christmas presents were given to five temporary housings on November 23rd.

They are preparing for the delivery of Christmas presents.]

Christmas presents are delivered by a modern reindeer, a.k.a lorry]

Dressed as Santa Claus and reindeer, volunteers from both inside and outside of Kumamoto Prefecture delivered aid from across the country.

JEN helped with preparing the presents, sorting aid and delivering the presents.

They are sorting aid and delivering presents.]

After delivering the presents, Santa Claus and a Rudolph are drinking tea.]

January 19, 2017 in Kumamoto |


Distributing farm animals at Aka Khel, Bara, Khyber Agency

[The 4
th meeting for cattle distribution by JEN]

The residents of Aka Khel, Bara, Khyber Agency had conducted cattle-breeding before evacuating to other areas. In particular, the Achi species were the most suitable cattle to the weather and geological features of this area.

However, there wasn’t any organization who would support people by distributing lost farm animals, especially cattle, because of the dispute, even after people were back to Bara. Therefore, JEN has started distributing cattle to the most vulnerable groups, such as families whose householders are above 60 years old, handicapped people, women and orphans.

All of those who received cattle and the elders of the village said in a breath that they didn’t expect to be able to receive cattle. Even though cattle play an important role on improving their livelihoods, no one expected to be given valuable cattle.

[A borrowed car to take distributed cattle to his village]

Cattle are quarantined for 7 days before being distributed to people. During this period, officers of the livestock bureau gave vaccination to cattle to protect them against various illnesses. After 7 days, healthy cattle without any doubt of illness were given to people along with vanda (foodstuff for alimentation) and anthelmintic.

The elders of the community said that the distribution of cattle is a big help for those who are in a vulnerable situation. People who received cattle now can get milk by themselves. This is an important source of nutrition especially for children.

Moreover, it makes a substantial contribution to save food expenses  such as on milk, yoghurt, butter, etc..

This support aims to improve people’s livelihood through cattle-breeding, which is their original occupation (livelihood). In addition to this, JEN enhances their knowledge about management of cattle-breeding and teach them to make foodstuff by themselves without requiring much expenses, even providing them with vanda at first.

We will proceed with selective breeding by artificial insemination and conduct vaccination and extermination of parasites to support people and protect the health of farm animals. Also by distributing young cattle, JEN supports to generate income by selling milk.

[Not only distributing cattle, but also explaining effective management of cattle]

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.

January 12, 2017 in Pakistan |


The Next Big Challenge: The Refugees’ Return

During the past three decades many Afghans have migrated to Pakistan, Iran, and other countries as refugees in order to flee from the conflict in their home. This conflict and diaspora has deprived them of a normal life.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan, and this has become a major humanitarian crisis. These people have a variety of problems, including that they have returned to a place where violence is an everyday occurrence and where they have to cope with severe winters.

Since the beginning of 2016, millions of people have returned to their countries of origin. Many of them had lived in foreign countries for decades. For this reason, they need assistance from the government and humanitarian organizations immediately after their return.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 239,724 unregistered refugees have returned to their home as of December 3, 2016. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IOM a large majority (80%) of the returnees have indicated a preference to return to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

The cultural similarities between Nangarhar and adjacent areas of Pakistan inspire this preference, as well as the refugees’ limited ties to their areas of origin after their prolonged absence.

Unfortunately however, less than 12% of unregistered returnees have reported that they have received some form of assistance, with the majority having received money and/or food.

In order to understand their current conditions, the JEN Afghanistan Team has met with some returnee households with the other international humanitarian organization, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), and the Department of Refugees and Repatriations of Parwan (DoRR Parwan).

It is apparent that there is not sufficient infrastructural support for the large number of returnees, and the arrival of the severe winter cold is the main concern.
[JEN staff collecting basic information from returnees]

[Severe winter is making the conditions worse for returnees]

[There are not enough infrastructures for returnees]

December 22, 2016 in Afghanistan |

The life told by Salma bibi, a participant in JEN’s activity

Salma bibi is a woman who lives in Bara area of Khaybar division with her 4 children.This is the area where JEN is working for the people who came back home. Her husband died 8 years ago while her family was forced to become refugees.

In 2008, Salma bibi’s family escaped to Peshawar from their home land. After her husband died, she says, she faced some hardships for 6 years during the life in the refuse. Before becoming refugees, they had 3 cattle and 2 goats, all of which they had to sell cheaply to make a living.

After peace returned to their village, the government started registration procedures on refugee families. After having her name registered as a female head of the family, she returned home.

JEN chose her village as a subject of support Salma bibi , who had her name registered as a subject of support, received a cow, 3 bags of nutritious feed and a bag of insecticide.

[Villagers are accepting a cow]

The cow given to Salma bibi was in the late month of pregnancy and gave birth to a bull a week after she accepted it. She was very happy because the birth of a bull made it possible to get 3-4 liters of milk a day.

[A baby bull is clothed over as protection against the cold]

Before receiving the aid, she was financially incapable of surviving daily life. Neighbors shared milk and yoghurt with her. Since she accepted and milked a cow, she has been able to lead a daily life at ease.

JEN advised her on how to properly take care of the cattle (such as proper feeding and watering or maintaining its health) to produce more milk.

From now on, JEN is going to carry out a two-day detailed training for cattle control in co-operation with the Cattle-Breeding Bureau.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.

December 22, 2016 in Pakistan |

A Thank You Letter for JEN’s Efforts in Kumamoto from Mashiki’s Mayor

It is our pleasure to report to everyone who has helped us that we have received this honorable letter from the mayor of Mashiki expressing his appreciation for our support following the Kumamoto earthquake that struck the town on April 16, 2016.


December 22, 2016 in Kumamoto |

Asukuma Project Comes to End

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 from December 2nd through 3rd.
【The final workshop】
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.
【A presentation on how to promote the Project】
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 help them flesh out their business plans, JEN has kept a close eye on their development.

December 22, 2016 in Kumamoto |

One and One Makes Two or More: What partnership-based project is all about

Reports from the government often paradoxically refer to the earthquake-affected regions in Tohoku as “a pioneering region in the emergence of ahead-of-its-time problems.” Indeed, the region is facing challenges in tackling a diversity of problems that either were worsened by or surfaced after the earthquake.

These are:
- Demographic aging accelerated by the disaster;
- Emergence of people who got separated from their families;
- Growing concern for poverty and isolation surfaced after the disaster; and
- Lack of stable jobs.

Trusting the resilience of people involved  and their communities, seven local organizations are squarely accepting the challenges in a progressive manner that was unthinkable before the disaster.

JEN aligned with the organizations from three prefectures and is supporting  financially and providing technical assistance.
We are not simply a donor. Having shared a vision that “leave no one behind, in efforts to rebuild the affected areas,” We are deeply involved with these organizations in operation.

JEN support them:
(1) Plan their activities;
(2) Monitor their progress and assess the results of their activities, and;
(3) Improve their capabilities to cope with challenges through custom-made trainings or building a network of contacts.
JEN held a partner meeting in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture on December 14th and 15th, 2016, bringing together all the partners for the first time and providing a workshop on how to run operations or organizations where they can share other partners’ knowledge.

Even if our partners are diverse, ranging from infants to the elderly, the partners are the same in that they seek to create a society where no one left behind in efforts to rebuild the affected areas.
<The participants were trying to develop team -building with fun>

<The partner meeting brought together JEN’s partners>

They trust the resilience of individuals and their communities. The participants of the workshop said:
“We could see possibilities to work with other organizations that have different perspective from us; we came to realize new challenges facing us.”
“Some projects appeared irrelevant to us at first, but I came to realize they also are trying not to leave anyone marginalized. Thus, it made us want to try harder. We are motivated.”

We got some other opinions: JEN’s involvement on the early planning stage helped us clarify the significance of our efforts, use an objective evaluation that looks at our results, and expand our cooperation with other organizations.

JEN partners with an organization in an effort to not only combine both performance  but also multiply the performance by many times just like throwing many birds with one stone until infinity, if possible.

This is achieved through coming up with necessary public services in order to realize a society where no one would not be left behind in efforts to rebuild the affected areas.

JEN is committed to playing a role in working with  the partnership function more synergistically.
<A group photo of the participants>

【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

December 22, 2016 in Tohoku Earthquake |