12/14/2017

Entrepreneurship Training for Youth

In Pakistan, little by little people are returning to their homes following
the mop-up campaign against the armed groups. Look at the details here.

**********

With the help of JEN’s supporters and the Japanese government JEN is working
on a livelihood improvement program, targeting the repatriated inhabitants of
FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Area) Khyber Agency.
This program focuses on breeding livestock.

JEN conducted a three-day entrepreneurship training for the youth groups in the project area. The objective was to engage the unemployed youths in economic activities such as income generation. This kind of training was the first ever one as informed by the youth groups and village elders in the target area.

Before the training, JEN staff carried out screening to select the suitable youths. In the process, 20 youths were selected for the training. Since this activity was new for youth members, they showed a lot of curiosity in the beginning of the training.

[Youth group members screening]
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The training focused on improving business knowledge of the youths, how to develop linkages with local market and how to generate income from selling milk from our beneficiaries as well as other available local resources. Some of the youths already had some experience in small scale businesses before their dislocation from the area such as selling eggs, vegetables  and small livestock.

They actively participated in the training. The training facilitators found them interactive during the training. They asked different relevant questions during the session and the facilitators answered their questions.

[Youth group Training]
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From this training, JEN aims to encourage the youths to start entrepreneurship as an income generating activity. In the current situation, the government is not able to accommodate the huge number of youths in jobs. On other hand, the private sector could not grow due to the long emergency situation in the area.  Although the private sector has started blooming, it will take time to develop.

In this way, they can earn more profit than from jobs as well as they can accommodate several unemployed youths with them. Entrepreneurship has huge potential in many of the untapped areas and sectors in the region.

JEN staff ensured the youths that they would guide them in every step of their entrepreneurship journey. JEN will conduct a refresher training in 2018 to strengthen their capacity.

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

December 14, 2017 in Pakistan |

Eid ul-adha celebration in Afghanistan

The celebration of Eid ul-adha is one of the holiest celebrations in the Islamic religion. Meaning “feast of the sacrifice”, Eid ul-adha lasts for four days and dates of the holy celebration are determined each year by the Islamic lunar calendar.

Eid ul-adha is celebrated worldwide among Muslim communities. Eid ul- fiter and Eid ul-adha are the greatest celebrations in the Islamic religion that command such widespread worship and celebration. The Muslims celebrate Eid ul-adha for honors and willingness of prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son to show submission to Allah’s command.

Just when Ibrahim was about to kill his son upon Allah’s command, God put a sheep in his place. Muslims use Eid ul-adha to celebrate Ibrahim’s complete obedience to the will of God and this is a reminder of their own willingness to sacrifice anything to follow God.

The holy festival also marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

People send Eid cards to each other at this time. Muslim people also dress in their best clothes and attend a prayer service at their mosque. Some Muslims sacrifice a cow, goat or sheep in honor of Eid ul-adha. They eat meat as their basic meal and divide the meat of their sacrifices between families, friends, and the poor people. Muslims also give money for charity on this occasion.

[People sacrificing a sheep for Eid ul-adha]
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[Families celebrating Eid ul-adha together]
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[Eid ul-adha table with dried fruits and various candies]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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December 14, 2017 in Afghanistan |

12/07/2017

Final Workshop_Creating Hazard Map

It has been 8 years since the civil war was over in Sri Lanka. You can still see the impact of war especially in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka where the front line was located. For the past 5 years, JEN has been supporting the local people to rebuild their lives, and 2017 is the final year for these projects. The final project focuses on disaster prevention and mitigation in order to develop the local people’s knowledge of how to recover from a disaster by themselves.

JEN Sri Lanka Office held the final workshop. The workshop’s content is creating hazard map by each household of beneficiaries.

In the workshop, they reviewed the leaning from the last workshop which includes what kinds of disaster occur in Northern Province of Sri Lanka, checking the last time homework: where is the toilet, doors and evacuate roots in your house, and then introduced created Community Disaster Management Committee. After the review and introduction, all participants started creating the map.

Each participant confirmed his/her house in the village map, and then wrote participants’ houses, their neighbours’ houses, schools, religious buildings or any other public spaces, and shops. Moreover, they wrote down the wells, open channel and water reservoir tanks which might cause of disaster.

[Creating colourful map by participants]
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After creating the map, the resource person explained using the map, which roots should use the evacuation once disaster occurs; where you should evacuate your cattle and so on.

[The resource person explained importance of creation of hazard map and preparation by household level for disasters.]
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In the wrap-up time, randomly selected participants pointed their houses in the map and explained evacuation roots. In addition, some participants answered whose house they are, which JEN’s staff asked. All of them are correct! Villagers know their village well. The resource person emphasized repeatedly, “The government cannot response all disasters. The most efficient way to reduce disaster damages are preparation by villagers as well as helping out each other by villagers.

Through total 5 workshops, participants learned preparation for main disasters which related to direct impact on agriculture, such as drought and flood. Disasters are always around of us, and occur anytime and anywhere. We hope the participants, entire community and the government continue to make efforts to disaster prevention and disaster risk reduction.



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

December 7, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

11/30/2017

Role of HMC, HEMMT, DRRMC and DRREMMT for HE and DRRE programs in schools

Before 2017, the SMCs (school management committees) were the only committees helped to be formed in schools by JEN. These committees were established with 10 members including teachers, students and community elders. All members of SMCs were briefed about their responsibilities and the aim of establishing SMCs in the meetings which were conducted from time to time. In brief, SMCs had responsibility to create a comprehensive relationship between schools and the communities and assist schools to overcome their financial and social problems. Establishing SMCs solved many of schools’ problems and created great changes in the communities but over the time, the need of subcommittees with specified duties and responsibilities was more felt. The schools also needed committees to take care of facilities and environment in terms of hygiene and sanitation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) and to monitor the relevant educational programs.

In our current project, besides SMCs, two other subcommittees and teams were also formed in schools to direct, control, monitor and evaluate hygiene education (HE) and disaster risk reduction education (DRRE) programs. In addition to these responsibilities, committees and teams are also tasked to monitor school environment.

The monitoring team and the management committee have membership of teachers, students, Directorate of Education (DoE) and Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) representatives, school’s cleaning staff and security guards of the school. These members are always present in schools and with a closer relationship, they are able to conduct a fulltime monitoring of all HE and DRRE activities. Moreover, membership of DoE and ANDMA representatives gives them authority to conduct a wider direction on HE and DRRE components in schools as well as ability to make plans for continuation of HE and DRRE and for making the school environment hygienic, safe and risk free.

[HMC of Togh Berdi Boys High School during monitoring school environment]
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Although HE and DRRE management monitoring teams and committees in the schools were established for the first time, the result was remarkable. The members of both HE and DRRE management monitoring teams and management committees were very active. They also ask for ideas of teachers and students for betterment of programs. At the end of each monitoring, JEN team and the management monitoring team of each school shared their remarks about students’ hygiene and DRR knowledge improvement and discussed if more practice was needed.

By establishing these teams and committees, significant changes were visible in knowledge and behaviors of the students on hygiene and DRR also through improvement in teachers’ teaching attitudes and methods.

[DRREMMT members of Mir Abdul Karim Maqol Boys High School are fixing fire extinguishers in the school which were distributed by JEN]
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[HMC of Togh Berdi Boys High School beautifying school environment by bringing flowers pots]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

November 30, 2017 in Afghanistan |

Sports in Bara, Khyber Agency

In Pakistan, little by little people are returning to their homes following
the mop-up campaign against the armed groups. Look at the details here.

With the help of JEN’s supporters and the Japanese government JEN is working
on a livelihood improvement program, targeting the repatriated inhabitants of
FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Area) Khyber Agency.
This program focuses on breeding livestock.

******

With the return of displaced people to Bara, the government and humanitarian organizations started projects to restore the normal life of the people. Prior to displacement, the famous sports in Bara were cricket, hokey, volleyball and football. In particular, cricket was considered the game of the area as it was played all around Bara. After the return, people have lost the passion for cricket and other sports as they were busy with their settlement which always takes time.  Children, however, can be seen in some parts of Bara playing cricket. The schools were the first facilities for the children for promotion of sports, but after the war and long displacement, there is not much left with the schools as well in this regard.

Considering the needs and to promote sports in the area, the government has taken its first step. In November 2016, the head of Army inaugurated a sports complex in Bara Khyber Agency together with the most famous cricketer of Pakistan, Shahid Khan Afridi. The cricket stadium-cum-sports complex is named after him as Shahid Afridi Sports Complex. The complex is composed of a cricket ground, football ground, basketball ground and net practice areas. There will be one children park as well within the sports complex. One water supply plant (solar system plant) will be installed as well in the sports complex.

Although at the moment, the stadium and other facilities are not so crowded but in the future after people fully settled, they will start using it. Local people say that there is much talent in the area, however due to unavailability of resources and facilities, the talents can’t be brought forward. They are confident that with such facilities available for the people of Bara, many athletes of national and international standards will emerge. However, it’s a long journey ahead and this sports complex project is just a first step.

[Complex model]
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[Cricket net practice place]
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[football ground]
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[basketball court]
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[Solar power water tank]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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November 30, 2017 in Pakistan |

11/20/2017

A year and a half since the Kumamoto earthquakes—Challenges of agriculture and tourism in Kumamoto

Over a year and a half have passed since the Kumamoto earthquakes. Walking in the city center of Kumamoto, you may no longer find any scars of the earthquakes, but in the suburbs, local industries are still suffering from large impacts of the disaster.

20171116_ky_01

Aso City had been attracting many tourists before the earthquakes, mainly students visiting on school trips, however, after the quakes bulk cancellation of trips followed one after another. The earthquakes cut off rail and highway connections between Kumamoto and Aso Cities. Tourists visiting Aso via the only remaining mountain road are limited, and both tourism and agriculture with rice paddies, which had been providing local food and tourist attractions, remain unrecoverable.

After the earthquakes, JEN formed a partnership with Fumidas, a general incorporated association that has been fostering young persons for many years in Kumamoto, and through the joint project “ASUKUMA” we have assisted the entrepreneurship of young people who are contributing to the revitalization of the community. The participants have started up various initiatives, such as managing a community café and selling agricultural processed foods.

20171116_ky_02

The ASUKUMA project came to an end over a half year ago in March 2017. Now, “ASUKUMA II” is planned to start in order to support people who are struggling in the tourist spots where the impacts of the earthquakes are still evident. Unlike the previous ASUKUMA project that targeted individual participants from various parts of Kumamoto prefecture, ASUKUMA II will focus on Aso City and Minami Oguni Town and provide local people with help on problem-solving as groups. We would appreciate your continuous support for ASUKUMA II to create the future of Kumamoto through such initiatives as planning and pilot projects.

November 20, 2017 in Kumamoto |

11/16/2017

Tour of Gilgit-Baltistan

In Pakistan, little by little people are returning to their homes following
the mop-up campaign against the armed groups. Look at the details here.

Today I will take you for a small tour of northern areas of Pakistan, currently known as Gilgit-Baltistan.

One day, sitting with friends, bored from our highest level, hectic busy daily work routine, we decided to escape from our offices and planned a holiday trip. As we wanted to go to any peaceful area out of city life, finally after some discussion, we decided to go to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Our first destination was Hunza passing through Kaghan, Naran, Babusar top, Chillas and Gilgit. We took our route through the famous Karakoram Highway. This highway is often referred as eighth wonder of the world as being one of the highest paved roads in the world passing through Karakoram mountain range, connecting Pakistan with China. On the route, we sighted Nanga Parbat mountain (9th highest of the world), Rakaposhi (27th highest of the world). View of Rakaposhi peak at sunset was miraculous (not describable and you cannot capture what it looks like unless you go there yourself).

[Karakoram highway]
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[Rakaposhi at sunset]
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Hunza has enriched history having Altit Fort (founded in the 11th century) and Baltit fort (founded in the 8th century) along the silk route. Long time ago, Gilgit-Baltistan was divided into many small states. Among them, Hunza Kingdom was most wealthy and their rulers were called Mirs. Then we travelled towards Pak-China border and sighted the Attabad Lake formed due to massive landslide back in 2010 which blocked the flow of Hunza River, the Passu cones and the Khunjerab Pass (Pak-China Border).

The peace that we found in Hunza Valley overnight was astonishing. No noise, even we could hear sound of a river from miles away while lying on our bed at night. This is all because of no factories, no machines, no such traffic like we have in cities. Even after 15 hours of drive from Rawalpindi to Hunza, we were not feeling tired  because of such a calm atmosphere that we were enjoying there.         

BY: Samar Butt
      National Finance & Accounts Officer



【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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November 16, 2017 in Pakistan |

The strong bond between local people and Afghan refugees in Pakistan

Chakdara (my village) is the gateway to District Lower Dir. It lies on the north of Malakand on the north bank of the Swat River. District Lower Dir, especially Chakdara, is home to thousands of Afghan refugees when they fled war during the late 1970s. Most of the Afghan refugees were born here but are still citizen of Afghanistan. They are under the protection of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A Refugee camp has been in Chakdara since Afghans were displaced from their home land. I have lots of Afghan refugee friends from my school days. We studied and grew up together. We have participated in each other’s ceremonies for the last 40 years. The culture of our Afghan friends is almost the same as ours. Majority of the Afghan refugees are Pashtu speakers which is also the native language in my hometown. The language, clothing, food, art, music and ceremonies are same. We also have the common religion and beliefs. Even the physical appearances are the same so no one can differentiate between the afghan refugees and the local people. Lots of local males are married to Afghan women and vice versa. In short, Afghan refugees and Pashtuns in Pakistan have a strong bond and connection due to their common roots and culture.

[Local people buying vegetables from shops owned by Afghan refugees]
20171116_af_01_buying_vegetables_2


As Afghan refugees don’t have many job opportunities here, most of them prefer to do their own business. They are doing every kind of business like shop keeping, hairdressers,  property dealers, and gem dealers. But the majority of the refugees are doing the business of selling vegetables, fruits and cloths. The shops of fruits and vegetables are almost completely owned by Afghan refugees. Besides that, a large number of Afghan refugees have invested hugely in the business of clothes. Apart from that large number of Afghan refugees are daily labourers.

[ Fruit business is one of the preferred businesses amongst Afghan refugees]
20171116_af_02__fruit_business_2


The Afghan refugees in the area mix up with local people and both have been living together in peace for the last 40 years. Currently, a large number of Afghan refugees are returning to their homeland. Hopefully, they bring back the pleasant memories of their long stay in Pakistan.
Some more photos are given below:

[A view of an Afghan refugee in his shop]
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[A view of vegetable shops owned by Afghan refugees]
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Hanief Khan
Senior Programme Assistant

Note:
Pakistan is not a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees/1967 Protocol and has also not enacted any national legislation for the protection of refugees nor established procedures to determine the refugee status of persons who are seeking international protection within its territory (http://unhcrpk.org/about/asylum-system-in-pakistan/). Therefore, refugees’ life depicted in this article may differ from that in other countries.

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

November 16, 2017 in Afghanistan |

11/09/2017

Counter-Drought Agriculture: vol.4

The cultivation of fields conventionally starts in October in the northern part of Suri Lanka.
But in recent years, there are little rains till October, and the shortage of water threatens to delay the launch of rice farming, the major industry in this country.

That is why JEN has distributed the seed of drought-resistant crops such as peppers to the farmers, as well as the drip irrigation materials so that they can produce other products than rice and make a living with what little water they have.

As for peppers, for example, there’re various kinds such as the non-GM, the indigenous, the hybrids, and so on. And each one of them is graded by the quality. The highly graded ones are produced under the collective control of the Suri Lankan government.

Those peppers grow about in 3 months, and farmers can get income by selling them without any intermediation.

【Staff packaging the crops.】
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【Distribution ceremony】
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【Seminar of drip irrigation】
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【Installment of irrigation】
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Longing for the arrival of rainy season, the farmers are busy in cultivating the filed.

(We heard that it has started raining since the end of October, and now they’re working hard planting the drought-resistant crops and preparing the rice patches.)


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

November 9, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

Water saving agriculture 4

In October, farmers start cultivation in Sri Lanka.
However, paddy which makes highest income is not able to cultivate due to water scarcity and no raining in October.

JEN distributes seeds suitable for drought and drip irrigation equipment as these might help to generate income without paddy in drought season.

Chill has many types: original, hybrid and modified and several grades. High grade seeds are management of production by the government.

It will harvest after 3 months and will generate income directly.

[Packing seeds by JEN’s staff]
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[Distribution of seeds]
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[Explained by the company regarding drip irrigation equipment]
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[Beneficiaries set up the drip irrigation equipment]
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Currently, farmers wish it will start rainy season and cultivate their field.

(It seems rainy season started in the end of October. So that paddy field has spread around the farming location as well as other crops which are against drought.



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November 9, 2017 in Sri Lanka |