Future of Kumamoto(2)

JEN’s business partner, Fumidas, has been working on solving social issues in regions since before the earthquake. Right after the earthquake, Fumidas visited regions distributing relief goods and made various activities to support local communities. Kumamoto, before the earthquake, faced a big problem of lack of people leading the society due to declining birthrate and aging population, as other prefectures do.

JEN agreed with the vision of Fumidas to “build a society where young local people can participate actively for the future of Kumamoto” and opened “ASUKUMA”. The 20 members of the inaugural class who joined ASUKUMA mostly through word-of-mouth finished its training program in March 2017, and each of them started to work on making a small business back in each home town.


Ms. Sato is one of the participants of ASUKUMA. When we first met, Ms. Sato was challenging on commercialization of Aso-Takanard, a mustard using pickled mustard leaf in Aso. He was in a dilemma of not being able to reach the point of making his living although he makes and sells Aso-Takanard. Through participation into ASUKUMA, Ms. Sato made its vision clear to put the business on track and built a timeline to systematically launch new products into the world.


Last year, Aso Takanard got a good evaluation and was awarded the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award in the Best Local Food Central Competition. The momentum goes on and she seems to have increasing number of opportunities to be invited to lectures and meetings for information sharing from all over Japan. She is spending very busy daily lives, meeting with local cooperators of her business as well as professionals and young people with similar ambitions, and expanding the sales network based on her personal human network. She hires a few part-time workers but basically does production only by herself. How does the production site look like?


Raw Materials of Aso Takanard


Work before product delivery

The production site is a wonderful place where they can have sharp eyes for every detail, condensing the personality of Ms. Sato who is cool and stoic under her great smiling face.


At the production site

By the way, all the visiting members this time are female. “These type of working women is hard to find partners….” This is the common feeling of the members. We felt from the bottom of our heart that we want to support Ms. Sato who is building her business with her determined vision at full fling while having some worries as a female.


The second generation of ASUKUMA is getting its shape. This time we will support a home business succession project for young farmers, aiming to increase the number of young people choosing to succeed agriculture as one of the appealing career by continuously communicating the appealing point of agriculture. We will also support a part of revitalization project of Minami-Oguni-cho which is suffering a reputational damage from the earthquake. We appreciate your support on ASUKUMA2 project going forward.


Scenery of Minami Oguni-cho

July 4, 2018 in Kumamoto |


Safe water from constructed wells

From the 11 water wells JEN constructed in Chaparhar District in Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan, people are getting safe water of about 100 liters per person a day on average. Family members per household altogether fetch about 200 liters one time with jerrycans as in the photo. They go to the wells several times a day.

The global standard about the quantity of water per person a day during emergency is 7.5 – 15 liters. This merely covers basic drinking, personal hygiene and cooking needs. So 100 liters is well above it and enough. On the other hand, the average quantity of consumption per person a day in Japan is 375 liters, more than triple of the amount people we supported are getting.

People are saying, “Children used to be busy fetching water but can now have time for school and playing”, “We can save money since we no longer have to buy water”. We are happy and proud to be of help.

But Chaparhar is not free from safety, either. A very saddening, unfortunate incident happened in which some water well beneficiaries were involved and killed in a crossfire between the government and an armed opposition group. Many people stayed away from home and returned to find they have to start their new life from scratch. We helped them meet one of their basic needs. I sincerely condone those victims and wish they’d rest in peace and strongly hope people will resiliently survive in spite of difficulties.



June 14, 2018 in Afghanistan | | TrackBack (0)


Future of Kumamoto (1)

Fresh verdure of ASO is very beautiful with wide sky. A person in charge of media does not have a chance to visit field, I had an opportunity to visit city of ASO with overseas supporter this time. I feel to become an ant in large palm. About 40 thousand years ago, Land was carved in by eruption and made caldera. The caldera became plateau with height 800m after long period. We acknowledge that there are people life in ASO with nature long time ago.



Ms Tomoka Sato who makes Aso-Takanard is one of them. Ms. Sato participated ASUKUMA form the beginning. She was born and raised in Aso and move to Osaka for her job. Ms. Sato is also person to leave home town such as young people living in country side. However, she wants to live in ASO.She wanted to reduce the abandoned land of Aso.In addition, she thought that she did not want to lose her favorite Aso-Takana who grows only in Aso.

ASUKUMA …Workshop program to generate projects to revitalize Kumamoto based on person, things and culture in Kumamoto.

She decided to return to her grandmother in Kumamoto from Osaka. Then, she has been fully engaged in ASO vegetables and had many challenges. Her love for ASO vegetable has been increasing and she had strong will to introduce ASO vegetable in future. Continue to part2.


Ms Sato,At the workplace

June 7, 2018 in Kumamoto |


Behavior change

JEN conducted hygiene education for returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as well as constructed water wells in Nangarhar Province.
So many people returned and fled from conflict to communities that they had to share scarce water resources with native community people and so they needed to have proper hygiene knowledge to protect themselves and their families from diarrhea, etc.
The education focused on such topics as handwashing, food hygiene, and diarrhea and proper response to it. Proper handwashing is easy to do and can prevent most diseases.

[Hygiene education of a women’s group]

The education was followed by hygiene promoters’ home visit to see how much correct knowledge people gained and how well they practice what they learned and give them some advice.

[Home visit]

Ms. Saifora with four children said, “I came to know handwashing with soap is important because it can remove germs and prevent diarrhea, but I didn’t actually practice it at all.”
“One day, a hygiene promoter came to my home when I was busy collecting animal dung for fuel. I simply washed my hands and then welcomed her with a handshake. She smiled and asked what she had taught me at a session. She then asked my daughter to bring soap and pour water for me. She emphasized my family and I should practice it every day.”

[Proper handwashing]

We saw many people starting to properly wash their hands with soap. This is a small change but a very important one to protect people from waterborne diseases that still kill many children.

May 24, 2018 in Afghanistan |

A meeting among LRC (Livelihood Recovery Committee) members and Project beneficiaries

The LRC is functional and the community elders and LEWs (Livestock Extension Workers) are providing support to the community.  The LRC members hope that with the passage of time the beneficiaries’ income from cows and small livestock will keep improving. The project beneficiaries have started receiving benefits from the 2 years project like selling milk by-products and getting baby calves of the cows.

The LEWs, during their engagement with the project beneficiaries have realized that the project is benefiting them in terms of livelihoods support through income generation. They have observed increased production from their livestock by utilizing healthy feed, implementing good livestock management practices and AI services.

During the meeting, the beneficiaries asked LRC members to communicate their request to JEN regarding the continuation of the same project in future. The project beneficiaries further shared that this project was unique because they were engaged by an NGO continuously for 2 years. Such long term project with consistency was never implemented by any organization in their area.

The most vulnerable beneficiaries in the meeting shared that they need support in terms of livestock shelter. Few of them expressed about the importance of awareness raising in women on modern livestock management practices. One of the village elders told that training on feed and feeding practices would be very productive.

The LRC informed that although the community received support in this 2 years project and learned about managing the livestock effectively, however, the needs on the ground are still high and everyone is hoping for such project in the future. It was shared that such projects strongly build the foundation for uplifting the livelihood of the community.


May 24, 2018 in Pakistan |


Activity of CHP

5th Nov 2017:
After returning the IDPs of Bashiqa sub-district to their home places, the voluntary group of CHP made cleaning campaign in sector B where IDPs occupied. They could collect about one truck of two tons of their remnants especially in empty tents. CHP members are eager to make these area clean and tidy, so these area is ready to face any kind of emergency case that related to displacement at the time that clashes are still ongoing in some area of Iraq.



27th Nov 2017:
CHP had cleaning campaign for Open Channel area, that channel is specified for flowing gray water of the tents and it should not be blocked at all. During the camping CHP asked the surrounded households to coordinate with them by keeping that channel empty of garbage so the gray water could flow, and to get rid of bad smells and diseases that may cause by garbage



17th Dec 2017: CHP had cleaning campaign in the main streets of Mamliyan Camp to make the view of camp tidy and clean, at the same time, CHP  delivers their message that related to encouraging camp residence to keep camp clean, as well as to throw their garbage into communal and private bins that provided by JEN. 



16th April 2018:
In cooperation with Camp management of Mamliyan camp, CHP participated in the public cleaning day in Duhok province. The campaign was unique because of the huge number of participations that reached to 120 participants to clean the occupied area of the camp. On the same manner, CHP was grateful to JEN who supported the campaign by providing gloves and garbage bags to all participants. As well as, CHP expressed their appreciation to Camp management for their efforts by involving all NGOs in the camp, students of Mamliyan School, and the security agency in the camp.



April 26, 2018 in Iraq |


131,621 Smiles

 In 2003, JEN started its support activities based in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. In the same year, we began providing educational support. After 2009, we expanded our activity areas to Kirkuk in the north and Anbar in the east, restoring 251 schools in the six provinces.

 After the Iraq War, people were living in fear of terrorism and conflict every day as political instability persisted. Children were particularly vulnerable, so JEN restored destroyed schools to secure safe places for the children and encouraged them to return to school. Our restoration of 251 schools allowed 131,621 children to attend school again, which also contributed to improving the capacity of teachers and the Ministry of Education in Iraq. Parents have been able to restore hygienic and safe livelihoods for their households.

 In March 2018, JEN ended this 15 year project. We would like to thank you for your warm support for this project.

 After 2014, JEN also established its activity base in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in the north. We have been carrying out emergency support activities such as supplying water, restoring water supply facilities and schools, distributing goods, and operating a refugee camp for people who have fled from armed groups. In the future, we will be based in Duhok and continue to support people who have returned to areas liberated from armed groups in the northern Nineveh Province where damage was most severe.

 In Iraq, many people are still unable to recover from the conflict. We would like to thank you for your continued support.


April 12, 2018 in Iraq | | TrackBack (0)

“The caregiving class for men” & “Aranami Kitchen” in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture

JEN is currently in partnership with five organizations to carry out its projects in Tohoku. Although our partners usually work separately, they gather at the JEN Partners’ Meeting once a year to share information about their activities and to hold a joint workshop.

In March, two organizations who had found mutual interests in the Partners’ Meeting last October jointly held an event in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture. The event was called the “caregiving class for men in Miyako—Aranami Kitchen—”*, aimed at men looking after their family members.

The two organizations that collaborated in this effort are: the “caregiving class for men,” which provides support to male caregivers in Miyagi Prefecture, and the Miyako City Council of Social Welfare, which operates the children’s cafeteria, “Shiokaze Kitchen,” and “Aranami Kitchen” for men in Iwate Prefecture. The two organizations shared their knowledge for this innovative challenge.

The event was joined by participants of “Aranami Kitchen,” who aim for self-reliance through the common interest of food and information sharing, and local men who were or might be caregivers.

At the beginning of the event, care manager Mr. Takahashi explained about the activities of the “caregiving class for men” and about “pack cooking”. The participants later tried this cooking method during the event.

“Pack cooking” is a cooking method that makes use of plastic bags. This method allows male caregivers, who are usually not good cooks, to easily prepare nutritionally balanced meals, and is also useful in the event of a disaster.

[Participants learning about pack cooking]

After learning this method, pack cooking was immediately put into practice.


Seal the ingredients and seasonings in a plastic bag especially made for this purpose and warm it up for about an hour in hot water, and you can easily make a nutritionally balanced delicious meal.

[Let’s try out pack cooking!]

While warming the packed ingredients, Dr. Kawase gave a talk about oral care and health.


The participants learned about the importance of proper meals and the care of the mouth, which leads to longevity. Dr. Kawase also explained about denture care in caregiving, to which the participants listened carefully.

[Dr. Kawase giving a talk about oral care and health]

As they listened to Dr. Kawase, the pack cooking meal was ready. The menu consisted of cooked rice, salted chicken, cooked egg and tofu with a covering of kudzu sauce, and steamed buns. The rice, side dishes and buns were cooked so deliciously that everyone was amazed.

[The meal is ready!]

The event was highly appreciated by the participants since they learned about valuable topics both for caregiving and for their own health. We hope that this event will be of great help for all participants.

[Participants and staff members]

* The present "Aranami Kitchen" was held with the cooperation of JEN and the “Red Feather” campaign.

April 12, 2018 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Good practice

It was in February 2017 when JEN took 10 progressive farmers for exposure visit to let them gain awareness on modern livestock management techniques and practices. The visit was carried out at four locations namely, AHITI (Animal Husbandry In-service Training Institute) in Peshawar, Harichand Dairy Farms in district Charsadda, and Achai Breeding Farm in District Dir and Jaba Research Center in District Mansehara. After the exposure visit, one progressive farmer built a separate proper livestock shelter for his livestock. It took a couple of months for him to build it due to managing and organizing money for the construction.  The remaining progressive farmers also started to build separate shelters for their livestock in February and March 2018. So 9 households constructed such shelters utilizing their personal resources.

In our monitoring visit to the project site in March 2018, these farmers informed that initially they learned about the importance of a shelter for livestock in the training and later on, in the exposure visit, they observed real instances. This practice was contrary to their past knowledge that they have to keep the animals in closed rooms so that weather doesn’t affect their health. They brought out their animals from closed rooms or made the rooms ventilated. Though they wanted to build shelters, their financial constraints kept them from starting it. But they finally did it with their limited resources. These farmers said that utilization of a shelter for livestock has improved their health as well as their production capacity.

It is encouraging that the people have started to work on their own to improve  conditions for their livestock, which is a very important source of their livelihood and food security. This is a positive change in  people’s practice. However, still more encouragement from the humanitarian community is required constantly to enable the people to get back normal and decent lives.

April 12, 2018 in Pakistan |


Safe water delivered!

JEN completed construction of 11 water wells and they were handed over to communities in Chaparhar District in Nangarhar Province. These wells will provide safe water to people who rapidly increased with return from other countries and due to displacement.

Children are over joy with splash of water. Adults look relieved getting a stable water source.

From now on, people will responsibly take care of the wells. They learned the structure of a well and how to maintain it and made plans of maintenance.

We are proud we’ve provided small but essential support for people’s lives.

[Children over joy with splash]

[Construction completion ceremony]

[Well maintenance practice]

April 5, 2018 in Afghanistan |