07/30/2015

Ramadan

Afghanistan is a dominantly Muslim country, so people there practice Ramadan every year.
The Fitr Eid vacation after Ramadan (the month of fasting) ended last week, and  Pakistan and Afghanistan offices returned to normal business hours.

This year, I also tried fasting just for a short period of time.  In Ramadan of the Islamic bloc, people do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. We heard they do not swallow even their own saliva. In Islamabad, approximate time of sunrise of July is 5:00 am, sunset time is 7:20 pm. So, during about 14.5 hours, people do not eat or drink at all. Ramadan period shifts slightly every year because it is determined by the Islamic calendar (lunar calendar). This year, Ramadan overlapped with the time of the longest sunshine in the hottest season.

At first, I intended to try a full fasting. However, as it deprived me of power for working, I was doing a partial fasting with water for a little more than 1 week. After this trial, I have understood how the full fasting is difficult. It made me respect Muslims who have done it for one whole month. At the same time, I have also realized why the work efficiency goes down across the country during Ramadan. It is difficult enough to work with empty stomach. It is, of course, even more difficult to keep the usual work efficiency. I didn’t understand its reason when I was out of Islamic world. But, after my little experience, I realized that Ramadan has meanings; to know the suffering to withstand hunger, to share the feelings of people who have been placed in the situation and to thank that we can eat every day without hunger.

In Sindh province of southern Pakistan, there are dead by drought every year. Now I can imagine how harsh the situation is where people cannot take a drink in the temperature of almost 50 degree. I expect certain protractive actions will be taken because they practice Ramadan. After all, Pakistani has the power to endure Ramadan! And I think again we’ll have to expand our support.

[Iftar(meal after sunset) with staff at Islamabad office]
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Makiko HORI
Administration and Financial officer


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July 30, 2015 in Afghanistan |

Floods and our preparedness

Once again the pre-monsoon and monsoon rains flooded different parts of Pakistan. The floods have affected 23 Districts across Pakistan with 81 reported fatalities, 45 people injured, 1,921 houses damaged, 172, 016 people have been evacuated to the safer places and total 793 villages are affected. (Source: NDMA situation report and media). Chitral District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and six Districts of Punjab province have been hit the hardest, with a high risk of floods in Sindh province in coming days. Pakistan Metrological department forecasted more rains in the coming week.


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Relief camps and other emergency services are started and efforts are continued by Federal and Provincial governments. Pakistan Army is working hard in the disaster affected areas to rescue and evacuate people to safe places.

This is worth considering that floods hit different parts of Pakistan each year and enormous resources are spent to help the affected population. However the risk can be reduced if activities are carried out to develop the community capacity for disaster resilience. Government and many INGOs/NGOs do provide trainings on disaster risk reduction; however the scale of these trainings needs to be increased with supporting the larger community with infrastructure development. This can be the primary responsibility of the government, where the organizations having the expertise and capacity for DRR can provide support to government efforts. Although the government (especially National Disaster Management Authority) is developing plans to cope with future disasters however the available resources (especially financial) are not enough due to which the required infrastructure and trainings of the communities lag behind each year. 

The humanitarian aid agencies and emergency response organizations can play an effective and vital role in sensitizing the community about disaster risk reduction. It will reduce the enormous burden on federal and provincial governments. It will result in minimizing sufferings of the people.

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July 30, 2015 in Pakistan |

Water Management Committee ‐Bas Gerard‐

We introduce Water Management Committee (WMC) in Bas Gerard, Grand Goave this time.

JEN Haiti has supported in Bas Gerard since November 2014, and construction of 4 kiosk shaped water facilities has been completed. Before, there were WMC organized by National Directorate for Water and Sanitation in this area but it is not active at the moment. In order to be managed kiosk shaped water facilities by local people, JEN Haiti works on re-establishment and capacity building of WMC.

Under the agreement with National Directorate for Water and Sanitation, the member of WMC has been selected. At present, the members have meeting for local people to encourage usage of kiosk and collection of water fee.

Sometimes, water facilities and water pipes break down. There are many water facilities that are left because of no existence of management committee and lack of repairing cost. WMC compensates repairing cost by collection of water fee to manage water supply by local people in sustainable way.

【The member of WMC explains introduction of water usage fee to people in Bas Gerard】
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【People in Bas Gerard listen to presentation conducted by WMC】
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【Technician repairs water pipe】
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July 30, 2015 in Haiti |

07/23/2015

We have been keeping assistance in agricultural income livelihood and community strengthening for returnees this year.

As we have explained before, we have been implementing the assistance in agricultural income Livelihood and Community Strengthening for the returnees similar to the last year from 22 March, in corporation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs NGO Grant.

About the project sites, there is 1 location in Mullaitive District, Northern Province, newly selected. In Kilinochchi District, there is 1 location, newly selected, and the same location as last year.

In Othiyamalai GN, Oddusuddan Divisional Secretary, Mullaitve District, there’s not enough electricity installed, and the road without maintained, so that it’s difficult to access to the town and markets nearby.


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(Quoted from Northern Province Council)

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There’s electric lines, but there’s no electricity to work.  Othiyamalai GN is located at  prefectural boarder, and it’s far from the center of the Divisional Secretary, where infrastructure maintenance is delayed.

In Vempodukerny GN, Pachchilaipalli Divisional Secretary, Kilinochchi District, there’s the many returnees, returned within few years after demining was over few years ago.  In Muhamalai GN, the site for the last year project, there’s still some villages without demining work done, so that it has possibilities that more returnees will be back after the completion of demining work.

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(Quoted from Northern Province Council)

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In Vempodukerny GN, there’s some returnees who are still living in temporary shelters, and many of them are waiting for the assistance in housing construction.


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Office for GN division official is still temporary one.

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In Muhamalai GN, there’s still demining on-going. 
It’s been said that it suppose to complete within this year.

About 4 months has passed after the project start.
Base line survey and beneficiary selection, and 1st general meeting for beneficiaries have completed. Various assistance activities will be implemented from now on.

We will introduce the status occasionally, so please check it.

Nishida Arisa
Program Officer


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July 23, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

07/16/2015

Tourism in Haiti

You might think that “Where is Haiti?” “Does it exist?” Even those who know Haiti, it might be recognized as the poorest country in the western hemisphere. However, Haiti has a potential for development of tourism industry because it is a country in Caribbean. We introduce such a tourism situation in Haiti this time.

According to the statistics by The World Bank, the number of international inbound tourists to Haiti in 2012 was 295,000 while that in Dominican Republic who is Haiti’s neighboring country was about 15 times (4,563,000 visitors ) (*1). The reason why Haiti is so less attractive is that other governments do not recommend people to visit Haiti due to deterioration of security and political instability. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan decides in oversea safety homepage “It is recommended to prolong to your trip ” in the capital Port au Prince. It is desirable to make sure information and ensure security when you come to Haiti. 

Then, which sites in Haiti people visit? First, Citadelle Laferrière which is world heritage site in North is popular for the travelers. The massive stone structure is said to have been built between 1805 and 1817 to prevent the invasion of France. Moreover, tourists can ride horse to go up to structure from parking owing to steep grade. In addition, Jacmel is considered for inscription on the world heritage list. The city still has historical French colonial architecture that dates back from 18 century, and we can fell such an atmosphere. We can also enjoy seeing coast as the city faces sea. These two sites are located in North and South Haiti where it is comfortable to visit because it is more stable situation.

【Citadelle Laferrière】
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【Tourists go up to structure in Citadelle Laferrière by taking a horse】
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【Sea in Jacmel】
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(*1) International tourism, number of arrivals. (The World Bank).


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July 16, 2015 in Haiti |

Promising Prospects in Pakistan’s Domestic Security & Public Welfare

Steadily maturing macro political situation, economic stability, improved domestic security, less Drone strikes in FATA, safely held Military Parade marking Pakistan Day 23rd March after a seven-year gap in Islamabad, improvement in interdepartmental operational coordination at all levels, launching of final phase of military operations in FATA (NWA & Khyber Agency) and subsequent commencement of return of TDPs were the key features of 2015. The total number casualties reported each month increased due to intensified law enforcement operations in FATA by the Pakistan Armed Forces. Return of DPs to FATA continues. Around 24,377 families have returned to FATA as of 9th May, 2015 according to FATA Disaster Management Authority.

The life styles affected by at least a decade long violence are gradually returning to normalcy. Local Government Elections were held across KP in June, 2015. The elections were contested by 84,420 candidates for 41,762 seats, which is more than a double of available seats. This election is going to bring a new age to Pakistan politics because the new system has designated seats for people with different backgrounds (such as women, farmers, etc) whereas only men were allowed to be candidates before. This new system is supposed to reflect real voices of local people. On the election day, people are so excited for this new change that they made a very long line to vote even under the heat.   Successful elections are deemed to contribute much to the socio-economic and political stability for improving overall environment for human security.

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A natural generic stress, however, prevails owing to feared reaction to ongoing security operations in FATA. Effective intelligence-led search & strike ops reportedly continued in/around Islamabad and elsewhere in the country. Reported militant and criminal activity meanwhile was specifically directed – Law Enforcement Agencies, Security Forces, Political Elite and Peace Committees unlike the previous years, which involved mass civilian casualties.


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July 16, 2015 in Pakistan |

Field Work and office Work

Some are here in NGO to help others, some are here to stay with flexible environment, and some may be because of their personal interest like me. But once you enter the sector, you get to know two different way of working. 

I always think about field staff that how lucky they are who can directly support the people who need us, because they are giver.
Yes they are getting for it as well but somehow they may feel inner satisfaction.  To support someone directly makes you happy from your inner.

There are many people who work with humanitarian sectors just for the purpose to support the people in the field, many works voluntarily especially in emergency or natural disasters. I am one of the example here in NGO sector to feel the interest in this sector When I applied my first job, the reason was that I can help disable people through this organization (Handicap International Org) .

It was true but I was wrong in my curiosity. I thought there will be so many disable people and I will provide help to them directly. This was so funny that I wasn’t aware of the NGO’s working setups. From that time I feel my inner feelings that for whom we are working? How they look like at the time when field staff of NGO support them. Why I couldn’t reach them and see them?

Thinking on the same thing I have worked for 5 years in the office not in the field. But still I feel like I want to see people who are in need I want to see their faces when they benefited through NGOs. 

I always think about field staff that they are doing more than office staff because they face many problems like security problems, weather circumstances, to face problems of people who may in trouble, culture norms, social norms of the area and also stay away from their houses and families. But they are lucky and brave working in the field. I must say that their inner will be so satisfied.

I salute to the staff in the field; you are the luckiest people, people who help directly to needy people.

I think this is not difficult to rotate myself to field area because my interest is motivating me to the field. But still I am enjoying that I am being a part of NGO sectors and could work somehow for such people.

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Humaira Wahab
Admin & HR Assistant


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July 16, 2015 in Afghanistan |

52 Months on; Continued Efforts to Find Missing Persons

Four years and four months passed since the Great Tohoku Earthquake, and efforts to restore crumbled infrastructure including road and dikes continue in disaster-hit areas. Landscapes have changed acccoringly with signs of the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami disappeared, leaving less and less traces that reveal the ravage of the disaster.
In the city of Ishinomaki, the worst hit area, as many as 3,453 people lost their lives either directly or indirectly by the disaster and 428 are still missing, and even now the search activities for the missing people are carried out on the 11th of each month.

【A photo in the Ishinomaki Nichinichi Shinbun】
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Combing a vast area for missing persons began this month in Nagatsura district, Ishinomki,
Situated at the mouth of the Kitakami River, Nagatsu district was inundated due to land sinking subsequent to the earthquake. While the Self-Defense Forces searched the district from boats right after the earthquake, no search activities have been conducted since then. The completion of dike restoration work accelerated the pace of draining the district, and made it possible to conduct full-scale search activities.

The tsunami destroyed dikes and submerged the right section of the Kitakami River’s downstream areas including not only Ngatsura district but Okawa district where a total of 2,489 people of 712 households used to live, killing 382 people including 84 pupils and teachers of Okawa elementary school and leaving 36 people including four pupils missing

Disaster restoration housing is now ready to receive victims living in temporary quarters, signaling post-quake restoration is rolling forward. In this situation JEN continues helping disaster victims find their way back to normal as soon as they can.

【A big-picture view of Ishinomaki】

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July 16, 2015 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/09/2015

Ramadan in Kurdistan

July is Ramadan month in Kurdistan this year. Ramadan is a holy month of fasting and prayer in the Islamic religion. During the month, many people who follow the religion refrain frome eating or drinking between sunrise to sunset, which can be as long as 15 hours during the summer. This is extremely difficult especially in Iraqi Kurdistan where the summer temerature can rise over 40 degrees celsius.

In order to avoid the heat, many people rest during the day and become active at night, which can be seen from the empty streets in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs). 

[Empty streets in a camp for IDPs]
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Even during Ramadan, however, WASH assistance must continue. With the temperature rise, demand for water has increased significantly in the camp and JEN staff work tirelessly to ensure that water is delivered to each household every day.  JEN technician provides WASH maintenance support to around 5 households a day, in addition to handling larger communal WASH maintenance such as repairing sewage pipes.  It must be really difficult to work in the sun for long hours without any water, but we admire and appreciate their spirit and dedication to the communities JEN serves.

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July 9, 2015 in Iraq |

Voices from the past project participants

Name of Interviewer:   R. Kuganesarasa (Field Officer)
Name of Interviewee:   Ms. Sayanthinie (Secretary-ACS, Muhamalai)
Date: 12th June, 2015

JEN: Vannakkam” (Good morning), as you are the Secretary of the Agriculture Co-operative Society (ACS), I want to know about the functions of the ACS and what are the benefits people enjoy? Also, (after the participation in the JEN’s project) would like to know about   any developments, changes you observed in your village.
Interviewee : Yes of course. Thank you for coming to us and the ACS.

My name is Sayanthinie, 25 years old.  I am the Secretary of the ACS.   Telling about ACS, as Secretary I am organizing  meetings  which is being held monthly and keep records, support to implement decisions that has taken up at the meetings,  that’s about functioning.  Our ACS functioning started without any difficulty this year and up to now had two monthly meetings. At these meetings we talk about additional products that can be grinded, faults in the machinery, income and how to improve further etc.   
People come to grind food products, mainly to powder rice and chilies.    Earlier they went to nearest city.  But visiting our ACS makes them reduce time waste and reduce cost.    About 3-4 families visit our society per day.

About our village, still there are people to come back to settle.    People depended on daily labor work as their main livelihood in the past seems to be improved to some extent to find their jobs on their own, living with happiness.  Almost all people have permanent houses, people are co-operative each other and they are freely moving, no security issue at all.  So People now enjoy a happy living environment, a BIG change.

Sometimes I used to grind food instead the main operator which gives me happy to do a job.  Reason is this ACS belongs to our village. So working for the village is a gift to me.    I am happy if all members join hands with me to uplift the society to a grand level.  I like this ACS activities expand more and more to benefit the adjoining villages too, is my dream and happiness.

[JEN FO meets ACS Secretary at the ACS building]
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July 9, 2015 in Sri Lanka |