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07/31/2009

Traffic Jam

Traffic_jam1The IDPs are returning to their villages after the peace in their regions.  They just passed the worst time of their lives. The hot weather of Mardan and Swabi was too difficult for those IDPs who belong to the areas of Swat and Upper Buner, where they use blankets to sleep in the month of July. They used to drink fresh springs water daily which was naturally clean and hygienic. Those people had to drink the water carried by water tankers from the different government water tanks in the cities.

Even though IDPs are grateful for these support, no one knows if that water was clean enough for drinking or not.Some of them couldn’t acclimatize with the harsh weather of Swabi and Mardan, that's why JEN staff saw many IDP children with skin diseases.

Main road to Malakand which is also going to JEN's targeted Union Council in Mardan is always busy with the heavy traffic every day. The traffic is jam for hours. Hundreds of cars, busses and trucks are going back to Swat every day. People who brought their livestock with them are hiring pickups and trucks to carry their livestock. Due to this traffic jam JEN staff is always late to reach for assessment and distribution, but as the days are long so staff successfully finish their work before evening and return to Swabi, which is 75 KM far from the site in Mardan.

July 31, 2009 in Pakistan |

07/30/2009

Activities in the local area

090716_resized   There are concerns all over Afghanistan that the security situation is becoming worse. Especially,  southern and eastern areas close to the border to Pakistan, where tend to become worse. Even though there is a high need for assistance, there are many areas that need to pull out their activities.

  Incidents targeting foreigners are taking place quite frequently all over Afghanistan and the security for the supporting staff at the local area becomes a big burden occasionally.

  Due to unexpected security costs and the time consumption for security, it makes it difficult to accomplish the project within a limited budget and periods.

  Security must be kept in mind for projects in Afghanistan, the staffs of JEN are adjusting their activities daily due to numerous factors that interfere with the project. With support from various people, the local staffs working under numerous risks are making a lot of efforts, and with the tight connection between staff from Pakistan and Tokyo , projects in Afghanistan are being carried out.

We ask for your continual support.

July 30, 2009 in Afghanistan |

Community participation

20090715_2 “ Great job done at  the appropriate time”   

This picture shows, villagers got together and cleaning an abandoned Well in a village called Kudamunaikkal in the JEN  project site.  This well seems to be a drinking water well which was not used by anyone for more than two years.

JEN organized and conducted   Capacity building workshops of Community based Organizations on different topics.  Through meetings, project staff support for these Organizations to commune and help them to improve skills of leadership, communication, administration, management, planning, marketing and reporting.  Psychosocial support/activities also carried out at the same time. 
As a result of this, we are now able to see big changes in their day to day life. 

By way of express their change of mind they did the above mentioned great job.  They got together and cleaned the well with their own expenses. 

I consider the above “Job” done by the community is a good example to everyone.

(Nagarajah – JEN Field Officer)

July 30, 2009 in Sri Lanka | | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

07/23/2009

Welcome Back Home

090723_idp_return_2_resize_2   At last, Government and Pakistan Army announced that some areas of Swat are clear and IDPs(Internally Displaced People) should return to their origin. Soon after the announcement, hundreds of families started to pack their luggage and hired the vehicles for their return. IDPs in camps have facility to use the Buses and Trucks provided by the Government.

  Many IDPs living outside camps hired their own public transport to go back as soon as possible, they didn’t even wait for their areas to be cleared by Army. Army in Swat sent many families back to Mardan and Swabi, because their areas were not safe to return. Government has made the policy of their return which is based on the security situation of their areas. IDPs whose houses are in the dangerous and unclear area are not allowed to go back yet, but they are also waiting desperately to go back to their homes and start to live in their houses.

  JEN has provided the support to the IDPs living in the host families and schools buildings. JEN Staff went for monitoring to a school building, where one of those families living, have received support 3 weeks ago, but they were ready to go back, we could see the smiley faces of children, old people and women who were ready to go.090723_idp_return_3_resize_2

  However, many families who fled from their home town have not been able to go back to their home yet. Many families didn’t have the enough necessary items to use in their temporary spaces. Not enough kitchen items, beds and nothing for their hygiene, but after JEN provided them the support, at least some families said they were able to live normally in the school rooms and with the host families.

090723_idp_return_resize_2   Nobody is sure about the future, but all of them are hoping a normal life in their areas.

=== Emergency Assistance in NWFP ===

JEN has started its emergency assistance in the area of NWFP,

DONATE NOW!

=======  For People in Pakistan  =======

July 23, 2009 in Pakistan |

Old House Restoration Steadily Progresses

090723_r0018175   As reported before, there is an old abandoned house located just below the Iketani Branch School where the volunteers stay when the activity is held. After the earth quake in 2004, nobody had used this house, however, renovation by volunteers officially started this year.

  The volunteers completed the rebuilding of the house, repairing, renewing the exterior wall and coating it with an antiseptic material.  The photo shows a scene of coating of plaster for the wall by volunteers from Morgan Stanley. The plaster is very sticky and it was difficult to coat skillfully.

  JEN appreciates your contribution. We really look forward to seeing the completed renovation and the house will be a wonderful facility which is useable for many people who visit Iketani.

July 23, 2009 in Niigata |

Bacteria Are Spread By Flies....

090723_090122_p1040366_low   Assisted by supporters and the NGO Japan Platform, JEN has continued, since April 2009, hygiene education at elementary schools in both Morobo district and Kashokeji district, located in Central Equatoria State.  At present, we are carrying out preliminary research checking the "hygiene  level" of children and clarifying the reasons why children are reluctant to follow hygienic rules.

  The research results showed that children have their own idea of hygiene manners. For example, some children, who have no toilets in their house believe that "they will not be sick if they leave faeces in the bushland"  This idea might be a combination of things taught by adults and the knowledge that Bacteria is scattered by flies, which they have learned in school.

  Concerning how to relieve diarrhea, the local people have their own beliefs. Diarrhea is very dangerous for them, especially for children, as it might sometimes cause dehydration.  It is said that a patient, in case of emergency, should take water which has similar ingredients to body water. The water is a mixture of a certain quantity of water, sugar and salt.  But some people think that water would not relieve diarrhea. Others think they should add coffee, soil, and mud to the water mix.

  The purpose of JEN projects is not to teach the local children the right knowledge and rules of public hygiene, and to make them follow the rules. Rather, JEN aims to let the children identify problems facing them and solve and analyze those problems independently by themselves.

July 23, 2009 in South Sudan |

07/16/2009

Hope for the next spring

  Nobody in Swat knew in the beginning of previous spring season that the big disaster is on their doorsteps.

  All the farmers ploughed their farms and prepared land to cultivate wheat and onions. Wheat is the main crop of this area while peach is the main fruit. Peaches blossom in the beginning of spring season.

  During the interviews every person said

“Last spring season was ideal for agriculture as the rains were raining properly through out spring and beginning of summer and it was perfect for our crops and fruits farms. They said “We were happy that this year we will be able to save some money from their farming and will use this money to repair their old houses, children’s education, daughter’s marriages or for their families medical treatment.”

  But unfortunately none of their wish completed due to the worst conflict in their areas. Their crops and fruits were ready but there was no one to harvest it.

  Many of the farmers fled their houses and living far from their villages. They said

“Every day when we think about their beautiful crops which are spoiled now and fertile lands, we become frustrated but when we think that another spring will be coming next year and we will work harder so it make us happy again.”

  A new life is waiting for them in their own region.

=== Emergency Assistance in NWFP ===

JEN has started its emergency assistance in the area of NWFP,

DONATE NOW!

=======  For People in Pakistan  =======

July 16, 2009 in Pakistan |

Influenza outbreak

090716_img_0177s   On June 27th, the first case of A/H1N1 influenza in Myanmar was reported. Therefore, the inspections at the airport have become as strict as in Japan. The cost of masks has risen from 10 yen to 40 yen and stocks have been ran out. The only people who wear the mask are those of wealthy people and majority of the people of Myanmar are not able to afford to wear one.

  The people do not want to wear it from the fear that might caused the rumor that "you are ill", due to the common idea that those who wear a mask are in sick. JEN heard that there are quite a number of housewives who hesitate to wear one for go shopping.

  This picture is taken at a kindergartens for the wealthy family in Yangon. They have made a decision to wear masks. Although both teachers and children are wearing it, they are laughing at each others’ faces as it is strange to wear it. Some children even cry because they do not want to put it on.

  Despite the emergency of influenza's outbreak, JEN has come to realize that our planet is linked each other in various ways.

(Anh Kyi Win, a local staff)

July 16, 2009 in Myanmar |

Teamwork 2

090716_resized_2   Late night on July the 6th, the Program Officer who is in charge of Afghanistan and Pakistan of the Tokyo headquarter arrived at Islamabad. Even though it was late at night, the airport was crowded with people and we could feel the heat of Pakistan.

  From the next day, the Afghanistani staff, the Pakistani staff, Japanese and French staff who already arrived in Pakistan started the meeting to exchange information under the slogan “one team= two projects” removing the barriers between each countries projects.

  Opinions were exchanged, such as the progress of the program, the problems and the upcoming strategy. Since the staffs do not have a face to face meeting daily, the meeting time went very quickly and overran the schedule.

  The other night, we all had a Pakistani dinner with the spectaculer view on top of the hill. The scenery from the hill was worth a beautiful one to watch. The time was past 9PM still the weekday but the restaurant was filled with families. With the delicious dinner, we were talking about personal topics other than our work.

  Of course in an Islamic nation, under it's regulation, we are not able to drink alcohol but it was a very nice opportunity for the staff to understand each other.

  Due to the security reasons, it is not possible for the international staff to go the field office most of the time, to support our local staff on spot. But it was very fruitful for the Japanese, Afghanistani and Pakistani staff to meet together since they live apart.

  This must give a progress and strong team work to promote our projects in the future.

July 16, 2009 in Afghanistan |

07/09/2009

Treasure Hunt in Iketani and Iriyama

 On July 4th, A“Treasure Hunt in Iketani” was carried out as one of the village revitalization projects.

  There were 19 participants this time and they mainly came from FedEx.  NPO Community of School (Machizukuri-Gakko)  kindly contributed to facilitate this event.

  The purpose of the treasure hunt was to discover the attractive part of Iketani by the participants from outside of the village.  The villagers excited to share and discover the hidden secrets of Iketani with outside visitors that encourage all of you them to revitalize the v090709_r0017697_lowillage.  There were many wonderful surprises newly discovered in Iketani and Iriyama and they were there for adults , children  foreigners(!) and the villagers to discover.

  During the hectic volunteer activity, they discovered many things, too. For example, they were taught traditional recreations, such as bamboo-leaf-boats, water guns, catching beetles and fireflies.  It was a great experience for the children.  In addition, they experienced the culture of the village and the greatness of tradition by a culinary class took place as a part of the activity, which was taught by the village women.

  In Iketani, the villagers are planning a Bon-Dance festival first time after 30years of absence.  More information will follow.  Please look forward to it!

Old House Renovation Volunteers are wanted
Click here for details

Village revitalization Volunteers are wanted too!
Click here for details

July 9, 2009 in Niigata |

Solving problems using local materials and methods

090709neemtea   In southern Sudan, we can find a tree named “Neem” everywhere.  A tea made from its leaves is believed to help cure all kinds of diseases because it helps boost the immune system.  It is said that the tea works especially as a prevention and cure for Malaria which many people in Sudan have often suffered.

  It is said that diseases breed more easily in the rainy season.  Therefore we asked local staff to bring Neem leaves and make tea from it. We took a sip, it was much bitterer than we imagined.  It is no exaggeration to say that the taste was the bitterest we have ever tasted!  When we took one more sip, the strong taste was spread in our mouth again and we feel like needed something sweet immediately.  We thought that the Japanese saying “ a bitter pill has the best effects” truly describes this.  Local people drink this with sugar or honey as it is too bitter.

  Since we know Neem can be easily obtained, we have regularly kept Neem tea in our fridge.  When we feel under the weather we drink Neem tea.  We look after our health following JEN’s policy of solving problems using local materials and methods.

July 9, 2009 in South Sudan |

An episode with a family from Swat

090709_swat_family3_low_2   Identification of sad stories is continued in our daily working hours in Mardan and Swabi Districts, where thousands of IDP families are living in. Many families are living with a lack of food, basic necessary daily life items, water and basic sanitation facilities. 

  Last week we entered in a house where we saw a lady with 10 children. Children were crying and quarrelling with each others. We came to know that those children and their mother didn’t eat dinner the night before nor breakfast this morning. We have ever heard such kind of stories of hunger in other continents, but it is too sad to see same condition of hunger in our country Pakistan, which is very famous for its agriculture and fertile land.

  We checked the kitchen where we couldn’t find any kind of food item at all. Just saw a glass and old jug filled with water, which wasn’t cold. Children were asking for food but her mother didn’t have any food available. They had a couple of beds and an old mattress on which they were sleeping.

  Same as many IDP families, this family also couldn’t register themselves with the Government. It was just because there isn’t any adult male and all the children were small to register by themselves. 090709_swat_family_2_low_2  

  JEN has been providing NFI support to the IDP families in the area and trying to improve their situations. Other organization supposes to cover all the IDPs for food distribution, but it is always impossible in such kind of emergencies to cover the entire area 100%.

  JEN staff came back to the office and discussed the issue with each others. Next day, JEN staff provided NFI set to that family and in addition to this, all of our colleagues here contributed their own money and bought some food items and toys for the children.

=== Emergency Assistance in NWFP ===

JEN has started its emergency assistance in the area of NWFP,

DONATE NOW!

=======  For People in Pakistan  =======

July 9, 2009 in Pakistan |

07/02/2009

In the Shadow of the same Sun

090702_20090618_jpf_assessment_sw_2   During the assessment in UC Panj Pir in Swabi District, JEN staff visited a house and started to interview a lady, during the interview an old man entered the room, and he was not feeling well and upset at that time. We asked him that why he is upset.

  He replied that “it is my second day that I am going to IDPs registration point to register my family to receive food and other support. However, there are thousands of people waiting in the queues for registration. Old people and women have problems to register themselves because the weather is too hot and we have to stand and wait in the sun for many hours but still our turn is not coming. There is no rain and the weather is extremely hot.  Many people became unconscious due to hot weather. “

  Those people belong to the cold areas of Swat, Buner and Kalam. Thousands of tourists were going to those areas in summer holidays because there were a lot of picnic spots and the weather was always very pleasant in summer.

  Old man said that “I was working in his fields back in Swat for many hours under the same sun, but I didn’t feel hot. Now, environment around us is different from past time. We don’t have enough food to eat, beds to sleep on, and pans to cook food. We don’t have fresh water of our springs and we don’t have our sun which isn’t hot.

  I am sure that I will not be registered and I will not receive any support from Government and Organizations. “

  JEN staffs who were doing assessment felt that he would be supported by distributing supplies even if they were not registered with the government.

=== Emergency Assistance in NWFP ===

JEN has started its emergency assistance in the area of NWFP,

DONATE NOW!

=======  For People in Pakistan  =======

July 2, 2009 in Pakistan |

Capacity building for the teachers

090702__low   Today, thousands of teachers need to be trained in Iraq. The efficiency depends on the experience, but also they always need to continue their skills to brush up.

  It is believed in this decade that the sufficient changes should be implemented to education. For example, “illiteracy” is regarded as “a lack of ability to access the new knowledge”. The Ministry of Education of Iraq has continued to emphasize the importance of training teachers in its annual plan since 2003. However, apparently, this training has been really limited and making only a little progress.

  It is also planned that the government of Iraq should contain training for teachers by cooperating with international organizations. And it is proposed that teachers are to come to Japan for the effective training and also specialists should be sent from Japan to Iraq for the support of their education system.

  The Education department is always making a progress bit by bit. Recently JEN has emphasized the development of the education environment. This project not only develops access to education for children, but also educates students for the future of the country. At the same time, JEN hopes for the development of health and that our project can be used effectively.

July 2, 2009 in Iraq |