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 |


Providing Mothers a Workshop on Weaning Foods

Enjoying each other's company, mothers are wielding kitchen knives in a test kitchen; one of the mothers is carrying a baby in a sarashi sling and the baby is watching them cooking over his/her mother’s shoulder.

This workshop, hosted by Fukushima Midwives Association, provides mothers an opportunity to learn how to prepare food for infants.

[Their first experience to hold their babies on their back]

This workshop was aimed at helping mothers by easing their concerns for weaning food and provided mothers with an opportunity to learn how to cook a family meal while strapping their babies to their back. On top of that, they were also able to get answers to the questions they had in everyday life, such as:
・what kind of age-appropriate diet mothers should give to their babies;
・whether mothers may feed breast milk or formula to their babies as much as their babies want;
・whether they worry needlessly about food allergies; and
・how to be sure they are feeding their babies a balanced diet.

[A nutritionist teaches the mothers.] 
Photo: © Fukushima Midwives Association

Choosing Fukushima Midwives Association as an alliance partner, JEN has been assisting the “Midwife-driven Comprehensive Expectant and Nursing Mothers Support Project” since June, 2016. While dealing with calls from mothers after the earthquake, the association realized that so many mothers were worrying about how to raise their babies. Accordingly that led the association to believe that addressing their concerns would help them feel good about themselves and become confident about themselves.
Consequently the association has implemented the project in which it teaches mothers how to make weaning diets and cook while rocking their babies on their backs so that they don’t have to leave their crying babies as they are.
Another important thing in addressing mothers’ concerns is to help them to enhance their relationship with local communities.

[The mothers and their babies eat meals together]
Photo: © Fukushima Midwives Association

Some of the mothers’ replies were:
・”My worries and anxieties disappeared thanks to the midwife’s advice;”
・”I was able to consult with other mothers.”

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

November 24, 2016 in Tohoku Earthquake |


Collaboration with Kumamoto Green Co-op on Support Activities

Following the devastating Kumamoto earthquake in April, 2016, support organizations, including JEN, came to Kumamoto and have been providing support to survivors. While it is true that organizations from other prefectures are working hard, local organizations have an advantage over outside ones in approaching affected people, understanding their needs, and providing precise assistance to them.
JEN regards assisting those local organizations as a pillar of its supportive activities in Kumamoto.

Kumamoto Green Co-op is one of the local organizations that have been supporting survivors since shortly after the occurrence of the earthquake. As one of the ways to assist the cooperative, JEN has been lending it a freight truck since September.
The Kumamoto Green Co-op has approached the aftermath of the earthquake on a number of fronts since 15, April, the day after the occurrence of the Kumamoto earthquake, including by: delivering relief supplies including food and water; helping with debris removal and cleaning up survivors’ houses; offering baths, legal aid services, entertainment for children, and a food van service; and preparing meals outdoors.

In each activity, it has been displaying the advantages of its connections in the area and a delivery capability to reach every survivor there.

Approximately 4,000 units of temporary housing for people displaced by the earthquake have been built around the prefecture. Local governments and social welfare councils are helping survivors move into the temporary housing.

Other displaced people include about 9,000 households of survivors who are living in rental housing subsidized by the government to make up for the lack of temporary housing, and yet more survivors are still living in their damaged houses. Unlike those survivors living in the temporary housing, the survivors living in rental housing, or in their own damaged houses, are in a vulnerable position because it is extremely difficult for local governments to track their whereabouts and understand the problems that these people face.

Responding to this situation, the Kumamoto Green Co-op has taken advantage of its own network of connections to approach those survivors, understand their needs, and provide meticulous assistance to them.

One example is a support activity being done in Minamiaso village. In some parts of the village water supply is still disrupted but survivors who have cows and fields to look after can’t leave their houses. The Kumamoto Green Co-op has been supplying water necessary for daily life and a tank of water for agricultural purposes to those survivors.
JEN is lending a delivery truck to the Kumamoto Green Co-op so that it can deliver aid more quickly to further parts of the area.
【A delivery truck carrying water necessary for daily life in a water-outage area.】

JEN’s support activities also include efforts to wash off volcanic ash with high-pressure sprayers in Miyaji district, Aso city, which was covered with volcanic ash from the nearby volcano which erupted last November.
【Washing off volcanic ash in Aso city】
JEN will continue helping the earthquake survivors to restore their lives.

November 17, 2016 in Kumamoto |


Milk and its by-products: A source of livelihood for people in rural and urban areas

Milk and its by-products serve as the main source of livelihood for people in rural as well as urban areas in Pakistan. Each day, livestock farmers bring milk from rural areas to urban areas and sell it to milk shops. One such example provides a story for the area where JEN’s office is located in Peshawar city where the milk is brought from JEN’s target area in Aka-khel, Bara Khyber Agency.

Farmers bring milk to shops and markets in Peshawar and sell it there. One kilogram of milk is sold at Rs.80/kg. One farmer sells approximately 8 to 10 kg of milk from 2 cows per day. This earns around 640 to 800 rupees for a farmer in a day. A large portion of this income goes to pay for kitchen expenses of the farmer’s family.

[A big plate full of yogurt]

[Yogurt plates ready to sell on a shelf]

According to one shop owner near JEN’s office, around 550 to 600 kg of milk is purchased and sold on a daily basis from morning to evening. Half of this portion of milk is converted to milk by-products such as yogurt and butter which customers use on daily basis. It takes around one hour to deliver the milk to market from the rural area. Milk trading is not only a source of livelihood for livestock farmers and milk shop owners but also contributes to the improved food security of the market. JEN staff are working on the supply chain for the milk market to capitalize upon it and to meet its project objectives in the future.
[Selling depending upon how much customers wish to buy. The price is 250g for 30 yen]

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

November 10, 2016 in Pakistan |

Global Handwashing Day

On 15th October, Global Handwashing Day was held across the world. People in both Afghanistan and Iraq, where are supporting countries of JEN, also celebrate the day.
I met with a female student at a Global Handwashing Day event in Qalacha Girls High School. Her name is Sajida and she was in third grade.

She said, “I was not aware of the importance of handwashing before our teachers had a training for hygiene education from JEN. After that training, our teachers learned and taught us all about health and hygiene”.

She also said, “I learned from my teachers how to keep my hands clean. I also learned about the importance of nail cutting. I learned that if a person cuts her/his nail, she/he should always be healthy”.
Sajida also talked about tooth brushing.

[Sajida talks about the importance of nail cutting and handwashing]
She said, “When I learned from my teachers about hygiene, I started taking care more of my health so I am healthy now. If a student takes care of her/his health and washes her/his hands properly, she/he will never get sick. As a result, she/he can attend school every day.

Before, I did not know that handwashing has a global day that is celebrated throughout the world. However, in this year before this day arrived, our teacher said that on October 15th, we would celebrate Global Handwashing Day."

Sajida further added that when she heard about it, she was very happy.

Today, she understands that celebrating this day is also very important. If all people generally celebrate this day every year and educated people talk about the importance of handwashing, all people could be informed that handwashing is very essential for everyone, especially for those who prepare food for others.

She also said that if the elders of a family wash their hands by soap and take it importantly, their children could also adopt the habit of handwashing using soap.

[Sajida talks about health and hygiene during the celebration of Global Handwashing Day]
By, Engineer: Najibullah Khalilzai

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

November 10, 2016 in Afghanistan |


World Hand Washing day

[Learned “dump trash properly” from coloring drawings]

[Small friends was seriously listening hygiene story]

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

November 4, 2016 in Iraq |


Recycling in Agriculture Activities

Recycling in food process for the local community is necessary in our agriculture project in South Waziristan Agency. The project brings arable land into life as organic seeds of maize crop and vegetables are cultivated and food cycle of the 1,850 farmer families revived again. The project brings re-cultivation of 925 Acers of farming land belonging to those of the families.
The law enforces agencies prohibit transportation of chemical fertilizer for agriculture purposes because it can be used for explosives. Thus, the farmers are worried about fate of their crops. JEN is training 3,700 female and male beneficiaries in agriculture with focus on proper compost making and use.
During trainings and field visits, the project staff train the community on compost making. The beneficiaries are being trained to make heap of wetted organic matter known as green waste (leaves and food waste) and then wait for the materials to break down into humus after a period of one month.
Since for all of the villages, cows, goats and sheep are common and they have been provided basic materials for compost making. The project staff train the beneficiaries to use animal residues mixed with entire plants or with leaves, small branches and weeds. When dung is properly decomposed with plant residues, it becomes more beneficial to crops than chemical fertilizers having no side effects on the environment as well as on yields. At the same time, there are little chances of disease or pest attacks.
[JEN staff held a training of compost making for local famers]
During the time of follow-up visits, the project staff demonstrated the local famers. Due to proper compost making, its large part of the nutrient uptake is improved and the results show its better crops and fodder production as well as proper recycling of natural resources.
The majority of the beneficiaries have started composting which following the ultimate method of recycling organic materials such as animal wastes, plant leaves and vegetable scraps into a rich soil amendment. The project staff are able to mobilize and train the local people during the period of the last 3 or 4 months on compost making and use.
[JEN staff held a training of compost making at home for local women]
[A lady, making compost at home]

October 27, 2016 in Pakistan |

IDPs escaped from Kundoz Province to Parwan Province

In early October 2016, the Taliban opposition group attacked the Kunduz Province and the war began in the residential areas. The group used houses as shelters to fight against the Afghan military forces. Many of the locals became displaced and flee to the nearest provinces such as Takhar, Baghlan, Balkh, Parwan and Kabul. I kept my attention on a family with three disabled sons. They cannot speak nor walk. They needed help with their two sisters and their mother every single day. The father is a day laborer now and the family could only afford to eat twice a day.

While they became Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Parwan, the family has no relatives neither social provision. At the beginning of their life there, they could not afford food. They have a life but it is far from being sufficient. Moreover, the lack of money makes it difficult for the family to go back to Kunduz. The anxiety towards losing all their assets in Kunduz through theft remains due to this turmoil.
[The father, talking about his family]
Written by: Shir Ali, Chief Engineer

October 27, 2016 in Afghanistan |


The beginning of a new school term in Iraq

The new school term in Iraq began on 29 September 2016. The Minister for the Ministry of Education rang the opening bell at an elementary school in Baghdad.

The education system in Baghdad in the 1970’s and 1980’s was at the highest level in the region, and the literacy rate was maintained at a high level. The then government’s campaign to improve the literacy rate contributed to this situation. However, since 1991, the education system has failed as a result of the outbreak of the Iraq War and economic restrictions in Baghdad.

Since 2003, many schools in Iraq have required repairs to and restoration of their sanitary equipment.  Many schools also face additional problems such as the lack of laboratories, libraries, and basic infrastructure like electricity and running water.  The failing education system and deficient school facilities have been, and remain, an obstacle preventing children from attending and studying at school.
Furthermore, economic difficulty in Iraq has forced children to seek income through labor, thereby also contributing to the decline in literacy.

[School toilets and a water storage tank that JEN restored]

I genuinely hope that the education system in Iraq will be improved and the day when schools are full of life with children’s voices will come again.
By Thikra J Elias

[Not only children but JEN’s staff also have meetings with school officials at the beginning of the new term]

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

October 20, 2016 in Iraq |