08/18/2016

Building the capacity of new leaders

JEN aims for the world in which people are able to stand on their own feet and have power to face/manage/solve their own problems. Implementing a project is one method, but another way is by building the capacity of local staff so that they will hopefully become active leaders for the betterment of their own country.

Over 1 year and 8 months since JEN opened an office in Kurdistan Region of Iraq, we have seen positive changes and growth in local staff.
One example is a change of attitude of national staff towards beneficiaries. When JEN was distributing Hygiene kits for people in IDP camp, one of the local staff asked if he could give out an extra kit because he felt “sorry” for certain families due to their personal situations. However, doing so out of pity would have not only degraded dignity of those families but also lost fairness and equality of JEN’s support. When it happened, JEN’s international staff (=non-local staff) explained and thought with national staff why it was not appropriate to do so.
Now the staff understands the nature of JEN’s work (which is to “support” people with dignity and not to “save” people with pity), and able to make decisions in professional manner rather than in emotional manner without guidance.

This is just one of the small examples of positive growth of local staff, but when those small changes cumulate, it becomes a power to create big change, for the world in which JEN is no longer needed.

Madoka Matsumoto

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August 18, 2016 in Iraq |

08/12/2016

JEN’s Prospectus for Returnees in FATA

Sustainability is an integral part of all JEN projects in every country where JEN is operating. JEN staffs ensure it while making every project if it is emergency, early recovery or development.

JEN has been working with emergency affected people of FATA since 2011 both in the displaced and return areas. JEN’s interventions range from Shelter/NFIs to WASH and from food security to livelihood sectors for almost 70,000 individuals. With security situation improving inside FATA, more than half of the populations (161,064 families) have already returned to their homes. However, 142,727 families are still waiting for their return. But the return process is continued steadily and as per government plan more than 90% of the displaced families will be returned in 2016. Given this statistics, JEN is dealing with the issue on emergency basis as well as pursuing long-term sustainable goals for the rehabilitation of returnees at their homes.

To this end, currently JEN is assisting 22,855 individuals in FATA to enable them to grow agriculture products at household level for improved availability of nutritious food. JEN is also working on economic recovery of more than 5,000 returnees through livestock sector in FATA.

JEN is currently planning to re-align its relations with several clusters for the assistance of returnees in emergency scenario as well as seek partnerships with institutional donors for the rehabilitation of returnees.

[Agriculture field in Bara]
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[Post distribution monitoring]
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[Agricultural land assessment]
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August 12, 2016 in Pakistan |

Charikar

Charikar is the capital of Parwan province in the center region of Afghanistan and the main city of Kohdaman valley. The city lies on the road 69 kilometers from Kabul to Northern provinces and is at the gateway to Panjshir valley. People would need to pass this city when they want to travel to Northern provinces like Baghlan, Kunduz, Samangan, Takhar, Balkh, Badakhshan, Bamiyan and Daykundi.

[View of the main square of Charikar city ]
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Most of its residents are Tajiks and the spoken language in Charikar is Dari. Charikar is known for its arts, poetry, fruits and vegetable products such as grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. Charikar city is mainly known for its beautiful nature which has brought many beautiful promenades like Gul Ghundi (a beautiful mound full of purple flowers) where people come from other provinces for a picnic. Every year, the government officially celebrates the ceremony in Gul Ghundi.

[View of Gul Ghundi]
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Ancient history says that Charikar was found by King Jamshid (known as King Yama) and later established by King Kanishka or Kushanians. After establishment of a new
textile factory in Jabal-u-Saraj in 1930s, the modern history of the city began.

[View of a carpet store in Charikar city]
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But after that, Charikar turned into a battlefield during Soviet war and then Mujahiden war which lasted for many years and caused uncountable damages to the culture, knowledge and economy of the people. Since Charikar is a strategic city and the main gate to enter Northern provinces, the city was a border line between Taliban and North alliance during Talibans’ government which ruined the city and unfortunately,  for the last 15 years, the new government has not taken any development steps in Charikar.

Charikar is a small city with big population. Its single road has huge traffic (as it’s the main gate for Northern provinces). A person can find everything in this small city which were imported mainly from Kabul. Most of the population is farmers, some of them are government employees and others are skilled and unskilled labors. Many people’s economic condition  is under the poverty line.

Charikar is counted as one of the water scarce cities in Afghanistan, in which more than 80% of the people does not have access to safe drinking water. So a watering channel was designed and constructed in 1977. This channel comes from Panjshir river and flows towards south and finally enters Charikar. This water is not safe to drink but most of Charikar residents use it as drinking water.

Every day, many people and especially children are infected with different diseases caused by low levels of hygiene and drinking unsafe water. According to a research from 2015, most of these diseases are caused by drinking unhygienic water which comes from low level of economy. Another reason for inadequate healthcare is
unawareness of people on hygiene education and big population but a few health facilities.
In these circumstances, construction of new schools and clinics, upgrading  existing schools and clinics, conducting trainings and increasing awareness of the people can help the new generation enjoy a healthy life.

JEN has been working in Parwan province since 2002 and began implementation of WASH program in Charikar district from 2005. Another WASH project is planned for 2017 which aims to improve school environment and sanitation and hygiene through school teachers to their students and through them to their families and communities.

Zuhra Afshar
Field Officer

[Main Street of Charikar’s market]
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[Cheese shop and on the back side view of a dry fruit shop]
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August 12, 2016 in Afghanistan |

07/28/2016

Voice from Mursal Dor Mohammad ,student at the project area (school) 

Name: Mursal Dor Mohammad
Age: 12 years
Class: 6th
School: Hofyan Sharif Girl’s High School

Comment:
When I got admission in Hofyan Sharif Girl’s High School first grade, the school was in a rental home which had 3 rooms and 6 tents. The rent was paid by local community.  Our classroom was in a tent which did not have chairs and desks. We sat on plastic mat.

That rental house has one latrine which was unhygienic and school staffs were storing water in a GI-sheet drum and there was not enough water if a student wants to wash hands after defecation. This was the time that my parents decided to leave school and study at home but I want that no I have to study there together with my friends.

Based on these problems the school administration suggested to DoE to construct school building but DoE rented another house which is better than the previous one but with same WASH facilities problems, same water storage problem, lack of water for hand washing and only one latrine for big number of students.

We are still studying in this school but luckily in 2015 your NGO (JEN) came here for survey and we were hopeful that it is the time that we will have a safe school environment with WASH facilities.

Every day when I come to school I look to the new school construction site which gives me happiness and dreaming that one day I will study in that new building which look like beautiful scenery. It is not just that I am happy it is it that all my friends and community people are happy and optimistic for their children future.

[Mursal while interviewing]
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[Mursal in the classroom]
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In the end of the interview she smiled and said “We will have new classrooms, water well, new latrines along with Washroom, and boundary wall”. She added that I hope those children who are not going to school will be motivated to attend the school too.I am so pleased to say thank you so much for constructing our school facilities.

By: Najibullah”Khalilzai”
Senior Engineer
JEN-Afghanistan

July 28, 2016 in Afghanistan |

Community Needs in the Project Area

Between March 2015 and March 2016, some 450,000 dislocated persons returned to Khyber Agency, FATA.

As a result of the crisis, most of infrastructure has been severely damaged due to lack of maintenance. In many cases health, education and WASH facilities in return areas are either non-functional, or inadequately resourced. Meeting the immediate life-saving needs of dislocated people when they return to FATA is one of the key strategic priorities of the humanitarian community in coordination with the Government of Pakistan.

Livelihoods, health and protection situation remained poor in nearly all return areas of Khyber Agency. Protection issues including a lack of psychosocial support were widespread. Access to doctors, especially female doctors, emergency health and maternity services remained a pressing issue in nearly all communities covered.

It was also observed that education, shelter and WASH needs tended to be concentrated in specific communities. In terms of education, girls’ schools were less likely to be functional with significantly lower rates of enrolment than boys’ schools.

JEN addresses humanitarian needs in the recovery phase from self-reliant point of view. That’s why JEN targets the affected populations in terms of livelihood and economic recovery. For this purpose, JEN in collaboration with MOFA-JAPAN is going to start a 3-years livestock development project to support livelihood and economic recovery.

Important aspect of this project is building technical capacity of livestock department staff and livestock farmers on breed improvement through comprehensive training on artificial insemination. Youth in the project area will be trained on entrepreneurship to start their business.

[Meeting]
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[Bazaar]
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July 28, 2016 in Pakistan |

07/21/2016

Sports festival for IDPs, refugees and host community

Aiming at increasing intercommunication and mutual understanding, sports festival for youth living in refugees/IDPs camps and in host community in Duhok was held in the beginning of June 2016.

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Participants competed in athletic sports such as sprints, relay race, high jump etc. and also performed their traditional dances.

Many people from local community and NGO working in camps visited this festival and cheered for participants

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July 21, 2016 in Iraq |

07/14/2016

Construction of New Qalacha school building

Qalacha Sokhta village is located in Charikar district and in 2015 JEN did need assessment and technical survey here for 2016 year WASH program. As a survey team member I conducted survey here. During the survey I realized and noted lots of problems of this school. suddenly I faced with Principle of Qalacha girls high school by name of Bebi Amena.

She was interested to talk with me in giving detail about her school. She explained their problems of students, teachers and school. She explained the problem which they have faced during her duties as Principle. I recorded their all needs and problems such as no facility of school building, boundary wall, safe drinking water, hygienic latrines and water storage. At the moment girls students are using the Qalacha boys high school building for their educational activities.

The Qalacha Boy’s high school where we are temporary studying also have no enough class rooms for girls students. Students of 6 classes sets under old tents and veranda and some students sets under trees to carry on their study. I said to her that, what will be your and your community cooperation and contribution in this regard. She said if JEN promised to build a schools for the needy and deserving students, I am agree to donate land for construction of school.  She looks extremely happy when she realized that JEN is going to give them a big pleasure by constructing the schools which was out of his expectation. She said that I by myself and my entire villager will cooperate and contribute as much we can as your organization is going to support us to build our school and protect students and teachers from sun shine, unhealthy water, wind, rain and pollution.

After we got approval of the project and I went back for the construction site layout. I faced Mrs. Bebi Amena again. She was in hurry to reach me, when she got face to face with me; she warmly welcomed me. When she knew that JEN is going to construct their school, it was simply unbelievable for her. She said, it is my last surprise that I met you once again. With your support and now I am feeling that my dream turn into a reality. Today I am so happy that mine and my community residents’ dream came true.

On the day of opening ceremony Bebi Amena was so happy and much thankful to JEN organization and JEN’s colleagues in the site. She lay down foundation stone with other school management committee members. She said I am very happy because next year I will have more students because of new building.

From the date we started construction activities in Qalacha Girls high school she come for observing construction projects daily basis. She thanks JEN again and again for constructing the schools for the deserving students of the area.

[Currently Qalacha Girls high schools students are studying under trees and tent sheet]
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[Observation of new school building location by Bebi Amena the principle of Qalacha Girls high school]
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[Laying of foundation stone by Bebi Amena (left), the principle of Qalacha girl’s high school with a teacher]
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[Laying of foundation stone by SMC and community member]
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July 14, 2016 in Afghanistan |

1st Distribution in South Waziristan Agency, FATA

JEN carried out 1st distribution of agriculture inputs for 493 returnee families in tehsil Serwakai of South Waziristan Agency in FATA.
This distribution was carried out despite immense humanitarian access issues. JEN advocated the project importance to civil and military authorities and finally JEN’s implementing partner (SDO-State Development Organization) was permitted to access the target families.
Each targeted family was provided with agriculture/kitchen gardening seeds and agriculture tool kit. Detail is given below;

1. Maize seed (organic)    = 40kg
2. Tomato seed (organic)  = 50 g
3. Squash (organic)         = 100 g
4.  Okra (organic)          = 500 g
5. Onion (organic)            = 25 g
6. Bottle gourd (organic)   = 50 g
7. Bitter gourd (organic)   = 50 g
8. Brinjal   (organic)         = 50 g

AND the agriculture tool kit package included;

1. Wheel barrow           = 1 pcs
2.  Spade                    = 2 pcs
3. Hand Hoe                = 3 pcs
4. Sickle                     = 3 pcs
5. Digger                    = 1 pcs
6. Rake                      = 1 pcs 
7. Pick axe                 = 1 pcs

Remaining distribution for 1357 returnee families will be completed right after Eid holidays. In addition to agriculture inputs, the agriculture team will provide all men and women beneficiaries on agriculture farming and kitchen gardening to enhance their skills for better production. By the end of the project JEN aims to see improvement in food security status of the targeted families.

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July 14, 2016 in Pakistan |

07/07/2016

First Birthday Party

Today, we would like to introduce Sri Lankan culture that celebrates children.

Gorgeously celebrating child’s first birthday is a common practice in Sri Lanka. It is similar to Japanese “Shichi Go San” event, a celebration of child’s third, fifth and seventh birthdays. Last weekend, Mr. Sutharson, who is a technical officer, invited JEN’s staff in Sri Lanka Office to his son’s first birthday party.

Approximately 50 people joined the party. There were not only family members but also colleagues from work. The party started with pouring a tray full of traditional sweets called Kolukkadai, pens, notebooks, a car key, money, etc.  from the top of the birthday child’s head.
     

[The act of pouring Kolukkadai to birthday child’s head]
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[Thinking which one to pick]
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After that, a slide show of the child’s first year of life was shown on a screen, sharing his progress with people at the party. The slide show was full-scale with music, similar to the ones shown at Japanese wedding parties.

Then, the birthday boy entered the stage driving a toy car, and took photos with his  relatives and friends from the neighborhood. Three professional photographers and movie cameramen were hired to record the party.

After cutting a cake and making it through photo shoots, all attendees had a meal together and the party ended.
  

[Mr. Sutharson’s son enters the stage driving a toy car]
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[Party venue]
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It was a three-hour party. All the family prepared for their son’s special event. We felt that their relatives, neighbors, people in their communities, and colleages all celebrated and supported the child’s growth.

Sri Lanka suffered many years of civil war. However, an event like this may be a sign suggesting community bond is back.

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July 7, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

Ramadan ends soon, but heat continues…

Now here in Kurdistan, it is in the midst of Ramadan. During daytime when Muslim people fast, the temperature hovers around 40 degrees Celsius.

When windows are opened, heated air is going through. Electricity is frequently cut so that generator has supplied electricity more than a half of the day. Air conditioner cannot be used when generator is operated. This huge water cooler, which can be powered by generator, is a must-have item in Kurdistan.

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This water cooler provides cold air by vaporization heat. It seems like better for health than air conditioner but it is not cool enough compared to air conditioner.

The problem is night. Water cooler is not installed in bedrooms and the second floor where bedrooms are located is hotter than the first floor due to the heat from the roof. The amazing solution local staff suggested are; put soaked mattress on the roof and sleep there, or take cold shower with your clothes on and sleep. One of colleagues sleeps by wrapping herself up in soaked sheet.

This heat continues for a while, but Ramadan ends around on 4th July. One of staff met a cute sheep on the street.

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When staff left the shop, it has been already killed for dinner…

For Eid holiday after Ramadan, the preparation of celebration has been ongoing here.

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July 7, 2016 in Iraq |