08/14/2014

Personal story between JEN and me

I, Mr. Rajarantnam Mugunthan, 40 years old, am working as project officer in JEN Srilanka since 2010 starting period. I am a still internally displaced person, and living in a rented house in Vavuniya with my wife and two daughters.

During, 2011 JEN build transitional shelters in Mullathivu district. It was a new activity for me and JEN team. At the beginning we struggle a lot to manage logistic and construction part. Because, it were newly opened area for resettlement and heavy battled area.   There was damaged roads and no shops to do materials supply.  It were very disadvantage and dangerous situation  to stay and carry out our work. in order to manage the situation, we had team meeting every day two times and review our plan. End of the project time, particular activity was declared as very successful and timely activity by our stake holders. Normally guarantee period of transitional shelter is one year. But, JEN’s transitional shelter still exist in a good condition. it is the impressive aspect with JEN.

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If I see, my capacity development, day by day , I have been trained my supervisors in terms of project management, monitoring , reporting and evaluation. It is also good method, like on the job training.

During, livelihood assistance project last year, we made a compost making yard. At the time, we delivered charcoal production training to our beneficiaries. One of our beneficiary’s sons learned the method from father well and started a processing business and earning well in next district. It is a very impressive subject to me.

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Generally, I faced hard times, during beneficiary selection time. Because, we need to work JEN’s condition and criteria when we select beneficiaries.  But, sometimes, who are in real need and deserve to obtain JEN ’s assistant, have been neglected because of conditions.  In this case, I had discussion with our staff several times and get opinions from our stake holders to do our level best.

Generally, I feel happy when I worked with JEN.

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August 14, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

Childhood in Iraq

Half of the Children in Iraq haven’t had correct childhood in the period from 1980 and above.  In the period of 1980 and below, the children were really felling the affection from fathers and mothers, the children were going to the schools to get the learning from the primary school rising up to complete the university.

From 1980 up to 1991 high ratio from the babies and children losing the affection from them fathers because of the war between Iraq & Iran from 1980 to 1988.  The war took place and more than 2 million men killed in this war and about quarter of this number of captives had need to live in Iran for 7 years or more. Accordingly along the childhood period there is no directing from the fathers and there were no fathers affecting, and in this case, mothers must working to get living and the children couldn’t see their mother from the morning to afternoon.  High ratio from them didn’t get the required learning from the house and schools, at the result they were as lost generation.

At the period from 1991 to 2003 the Iraqi children have another sad  period because of the economic blockade on Iraq. Income only from the house father had been decreased rapidly and couldn’t run the family. Then more than 40% from the children started quitting the schools in early stage schools.

From 2003 till now, there are more than 4 million orphans with no fathers and some of them without mothers. These orphans with no fathers’ affection and most of them work with no learning, and large number of them were as a beggars in the main streets. The Iraqi childhood from affliction to other, they don’t see the childhood like other countries.

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August 14, 2014 in Iraq |

My Cultural Origin

I, Muni Cicilia, write my article about my culture (Kakwa).  The Kakwa are the people who are speak Bari.

By that time they are a group of people who speak one language; they do the same work of mixed farming where they cultivate different type of food crop e.g. sorghums, millet, simsim, cowpeas, groundnuts  and goats rearing. They had their beliefs that they only grow the sorghums, millet for food. And as generally the Bari speakers like paste much so they grow the groundnuts and simsim for paste as their traditional sauce.

By that time they came to realize that they know too many with a lot of deaths in their community, they start to move towards river Nile in central equatorial in Juba. From there they remain as Bari speakers of one community settled near mountain Ladu, and again from that settlement death continued. Because the Bari speakers thought that the continuing deaths were due to that people were staying together in close and are generally fear of death so much, they came to divide themselves from being a Bari speaker to several tribes in central equatorial. For example, others moves to Kajokeji are called kuku and those who move to Yei are the Kakwa where I Muni Cicilia belongs as a residence of Yei River County in a Payam called Mugwo and those remains in Juba are the Bari.

Muni Cicilia

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August 14, 2014 in South Sudan, Sudan |

08/07/2014

Goodbye Haiti

Last year around this time, I was assigned as Administrative and Finance Officer in JEN Haiti. First time I came to the office, there were over 20 staffs working here and I hoped that I can remember everyone’s name really fast. As most of the local staff only spoke Creole or French, and since I did not speak any French or Creole, I felt unease in communicating with everyone.

After a year has passed, now I am more or less comfortable in communicating with local staff with my broken Creole and I learned a great deal of how Haitian way works. My morning starts with greeting with everyone by shaking their hands. For me, you shake hands when you meet someone for the first time, and it took me a while to get used to the way our staff does greeting. My work involved bookkeeping and administrative tasks to make sure that the fund is used correctly and operation runs smoothly. Coordinating with donor for project proposal and changes are also important part of my work.
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As I had a place in Port-au-Prince, I commuted every day from Port-au-Prince to Leogane and this was a real time killer and exhausted me at the beginning. However, I was able to take this opportunity to learn some Creole with the driver every day and it encouraged me to speak more Creole. As this was the first time living in least developing country and working in a WASH sector, everything was so new to me. I learned the problem Haitian people face with water and what Haitian government is trying to do to overcome the situation. We see that the construction of the kiosks and reservoir, along with hygiene promotion can improve Haitian people’s lives.

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Nevertheless, it is time for me to say goodbye to Haiti. From October, I will be moving to another country for new start, but I will not forget the smile and laughter of Haitian people. Despite their tough life, people are very kind and sociable. I hope Haiti will develop further for future generation to come. Thank you for those who have supported me during my stay in Haiti. Orevwa Ayiti!

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JEN Haiti Office staff
Shiho Wada

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August 7, 2014 in Haiti |

Conflict affected Livestock from North Waziristan Agency

Around 1,000,000 people have migrated from North Waziristan Agency to KP since the launch of military operation in June. These people left everything behind and escaped the area in the effort to save their lives. The displacement was sudden and huge in number therefore the people faced various difficulties like panic among the community and lack of transportation etc. Those who managed to escape took some of their valuables including their livestock and reached the settled areas of KPK.

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Before this operation there were about 940,729 numbers of livestock including both small and large animals, half of which was expected to reach displaced area but according to government updates about 350,000 small and large animals and 150,000 poultry have reached there. In emergency situation like this, people brought their livestock with them which shows how much importance livestock have in their lives.

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The government has urged humanitarian actors to provide assistance to the IDPs and their livestock to protect their basic source of livelihood. Already above 6,000 mortalities of livestock have been reported due to severe transportation and little feed intake. So there are more chances of disease outbreaks and mortalities due to low immunity.

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The IDPs have already lost more than half of their livestock during displacement either selling at very low rate or leaving behind at homes. In a survey of displaced people it is found that people sold their livestock on 70% less prices.

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August 7, 2014 in Pakistan |

Summer in Pakistan

In Pakistan usually summer starts in May and finishes in the beginning of September, but from last few years this cycle is disturbed due to global climate change.  This year the summer started in April and it was on its peak in June & July when temperature touched 50 degree Celsius.

The weather becomes almost unbearable in June-July and people are more vulnerable to sunstroke, diarrhea and other problem specially the people who works under the direct sunlight.

People who can afford to buy air conditioners and other equipments; they use it to reduce the intensity of hot weather. But People in the rural areas where poverty is higher than the urban areas can’t afford it, thus they go to rivers and canals for swimming in the hot weather. Women at home are more vulnerable who can’t visit those places because of culture.

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August 7, 2014 in Afghanistan |

Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class Starts

It is “Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class” that aims at providing parents and their children with an opportunity to feel refreshed in body and spirit beyond their daily routine through learning their hometown, Ishinomaki, in either indoor or outdoor classroom. Following last year’s classes, this year’s classes are for fourth through sixth graders at elementary schools in Ishinomaki and their parents. A series of six classes are scheduled to be given in the June-December period, and are going to be improved so that they may become rich and rewarding opportunities to learn and experience various futures of hometown Ishinomaki.

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On June 28, based on the theme of “Mt. Makiyama hiking trip and photo class”, the first class was held for twelve families of twenty nine parents and their children. First offered was a photography class in a parking lot at the foot of Mt. Makiyama. Every children being handed out an instant camera, they learned the basics of photography from how to advance and rewind films to how to take photos. Although instant cameras are familiar to parent’s generation, most of the children have never seen them before and so they showed a strained look on their faces at first. When they were encouraged to take the pictures of their parents first, however, the children seemed to relax a little after they began shooting, the class being full of smiling faces and lively conversations at last.

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On the natural trail up to Hitsujisaki shrine sitting on the top of Mt. Makiyama, Mr. Seiji Henmi, a native historian who accompanied them, told them “From what time human began living in Ishinomaki”, “a legend about Maki clan that gave Makiyama its name”, and so on. They were amazed by his explanation that humans in early times were living in mountain areas because sea level was 5-6 meters higher than it is now when humans began living in Ishinomaki. Finding insects and plants that they usually don’t see, they enjoyed talking with each other and they had a look of real pleasure without even noticing.

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The natural trail leading to an athletic facility, the children dashed to it with not much time being wasted on lunch. The parents seemed to get refreshed, above all else, by seeing their children joyfully playing.

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JEN will hold classes on fishing, camping on a remote island, cooking, and so on down the road. JEN is committed to working on providing those parents and their children in disaster-stricken areas who are facing many challenges with rewarding time in which they can deepen their bonds while rediscovering their hometown Ishinomaki.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

August 7, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/31/2014

The importance to give hard look at the past project: investigation by the MoFA after the project

Short time ago, on 23 and 24June, some officials from Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka
visited 2 past projects sites for the investigation after the project, implemented by the
MoFA.

On the first day, they visited the livelihood recovery assistance project for the returnees,
where 40 agro wells were constructed in Batticaloa district of Eastern parts of Sri Lanka
from June 2009 to November 2011.On the second day, they visited the livelihood recovery
assistance project for the returnees, where 29 agro wells and 14 culverts were constructed
in the same district of Eastern parts of Sri Lanka from November 2010 to December 2011.

At that time, Agro Well Maintenance Committees (AWMCs) which consist of 8 households per well were formed. We provided with water pumps (for pumping out the well water, and spraying their farming lands), barbed wires (for the wild animals to be fallen down into the wells), vegetable seeds and perennial plants with the said AWMCs. Also, we implemented some workshops of organic farming and methods to share the common wells and water pumps.   By cooperating each other through the workshops, we targeted at promoting their bonding within the community.  After 3 years and half months passed, I also tried to give hard look at the past projects, when I visited houses of some past beneficiaries.

(photo: stone plate, filled in each well)
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(photo: officials from the Embassy of Japan, Sri Lanka, while investigating the situation of the well(2 persons in front))
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(Photo: JEN staff, explaining about the well)
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The bottom line is that we all found out that the effectiveness of livelihood recovery, which we targeted at, was still lasting.  By hearing investigation and dialogue we conducted research towards 16 households selected at random out of the past beneficiaries.  The result showed that the income of all of the said households has been increased from 3 to 6 times(LKR 3,000-6000,JPY about 2,340-4680).  By using the income, obtaining from agriculture, there are some households who extend their faming lands, who purchased domestic animals, or who increased kinds of vegetables to plant. Also, there are other households who started a variety store, or who increased their income more than 10 times. Furthermore, there are some households who shared their income (obtained from agriculture) fairly towards neighbors, whom they cooperated newly with by starting agriculture collectively.

(photo: dialogue with past beneficiaries)
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(photo: beneficiary, who started new variety shop, by using the money from agriculture input)
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  We have been taught from a beneficiary with disabilities that how he had faced with the
difficulties in his life without proper job before receiving the assistance from JEN and how
his living is stable now.  In the premises, we could see well-grown perennial plants like
papaya, mango and Jackfruit, provided in those day.

(photo: Officials from the Embassy of Japan, Sri Lanka and JEN staffs, hearing from
the disabled beneficiary)
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(Photo: well-grown perennial tree)
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Furthermore, there’s many households who have kept using some organic farming methods such as organic fertilizers and organic insect killers, learned at the workshop at that time.  I’m grad to say that as secondary effect each well have been used not only by the past beneficiaries, but also 20-30 neighboring villagers per well. I was relieved that there’s “Positive Impact” clearly we could see.  Similarly, it shows that we can expect it became positive investigation, where beneficiaries’ living will be going up increasingly in the future.

(photo: beneficiary, using the organic insect killer, learned at the workshop of organic farming)
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(Photo: other than Jack fruit, we had papaya, cassava and mango from each beneficiaries they harvested, during our visit)
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However, we need to admit that there are the cases that the effective will be changed easily by the external factors, all assistance agencies cannot control.

As was referred to earlier, I placed major emphasis on “giving hard look at” the past projects this time.  As the result, it reveals that some “unexpected negative circumstances”.  As one of external factors, there is “climate change”.  This year, it was unusually hot summer during this dry season and it looks like near-drought situation in the North and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka.  Because of that effect, there are many wells where the water depth of the well is low and there is a household who is using well water for domestic purpose only.  Because of shortage of water, there’s household who stop doing farming for a while and find other jobs.  Due to this situation, there’re a agro well maintenance committee, where well and water pump are shared by not 8 households, but  2-3 households.  We strongly hope that the said households will start doing farming again after the rain comes during rainy season soon.  Nevertheless, I debate myself how the beneficiaries’ lives will be if their wells water were dried up every year, and whether to think of the assistance project, adaptable to the change of climate in the future.

(photo: the well, where we almost could see the bottom due to water shortage, effected by drought)
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Except for “Climate change”, there might be the exceptional cases like “moving after villager’s death”, “shortages of capacity and budget of the government”, and  “policy change of the government” in the future, caused by many “external factors”, where we cannot control.  In fact, our on-going project is also affected by the drought somehow. There might be some other external factors, which are not comprehended, lied hidden. But, we’ try our best to think of measures against such unexpected external factors.  I thought I need to buckle myself to the work, considering the importance to look for points for improvement always and give it a twist in order for positive effects of the present project for more beneficiaries to go on, after giving hard look at the past projects though this visit
.
Arisa Nishida
in charge of Sri Lanka program


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July 31, 2014 |

Education in Iraq

Iraq established its education system in 1921, offering both public and private paths. In the early 1970s, education became public and free at all levels, and mandatory at the primary level. Two ministries manage the education system in Iraq: the Ministry of Education [MOE] and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research [MOHSR]. The Ministry of Education is in charge of pre-school, primary, secondary, and vocational education, while the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific.

The golden period of education during 1970-1984, in this period we can make the illiteracy coping, the age of illiteracy from 15-45age, in this period the illiteracy in Iraq became only 10% of people. The government spending in Education reached 20% of Iraq’s total government budget. This means that the average spending per student for education was $620.

However, after the war with Iran in 1980, from 1984-1990, it turned led to a diversion of public resources towards military spending. Naturally, this resulted in a steep decline in overall social spending. With this, the education budget suffered from a deficit, which continued to grow as the years passed. There was also no strategic plan in place to address.

In the period 1991-2003, the educational institutions debilitated in further. Some of the incomes of the weakening budget , about 8% from the government budget , Government Spending per student on education dropped from $620 in the ‘Golden Years’ to $47 , Teacher salaries dropped in real terms, from $500–1000/month to $5/month in 1994-1999.

After 2003 till now the education have a relative recovery. Many schools were rehabilitated by MOE, the international organizations and other sides.  Many private universities, colleges, schools, Intermediate schools and secondary schools were established in this period.

Still there are needs to recovery for education in Iraq, JEN will continue to support in this area.

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July 31, 2014 in Iraq |

07/24/2014

5th "Handicrafts market, Hands-on exhibit in Ishinomaki" Takes Place!

On July 12, the fifth "Handicraft market, Hands-on exhibit in Ishinomaki: Making Handcrafting into Jobs", an event aimed at giving a leg up to women who do handicrafts in Ishinomaki, was held at the central office of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives in Ishinomaki, Nakazato Agricultural Cooperative Hall (the fourth on February 8, the third on December 14; for more information on the third event is available here).

The event has become so popular that it marked its fifth kickoff on the day, attracting a lot of visitors from immediately after its kickoff.

Marking its fifth kickoff on the day, the event has become completely popular. The day’s event was crowded with a lot of visitors immediately after its opening.

【The event site was filled with many visitors.♪】
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“I like the warmth of handmade goods.”
“Each time, I’m excited about this event.”
“My hobby is making goods by hand, so this event is a fine excitement.”
“I want to have my own store someday.”
“Carefully guided by event staff members, I enjoyed the experience of making goods.”
The visitors seemed to have enjoyed the event in their own way.

【Communicating with visitors is important.♪】
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【The hands-on experience of weaving was popular.♪】
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The event’s participants and JEN staff members have a monthly meeting. In the latest meeting, many ideas were given by the participants; how to reflect them to the event were discussed such as deciding on making “summer festival” the event’s central theme, on what physical arrangement of the event site to be created, on how to hold a lottery and so on.

The participants also had actively worked on making a public announcement about the event such as handing out leaflets.

【They talked seriously about the event at the meeting.】
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In doing so, JEN is aiming to build up a cooperative system among the participants and for the participants to continue the event voluntarily.


====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN

 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.
○Credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

July 24, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |