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The Footstep of my Father and my Uncle (Part 1)

We would like to introduce one of the JEN Sudan staff two two-report series. He is Mr. Haileselasse Meles, an administrative assistant in JEN Sudan’s Juba Office.


“I had no dreams at all that neither my relatives nor I will go out elsewhere than my country, Eritrea, especially at this retiring age. After all, all of us were living in Ethiopia until the independence of my country. By the way, all of us are civil servants and hence are working for different companies and organizations.
Me, after having worked for different private and governmental organizations, fortunately I joined JEN in 2002, in Eritrea. But following its withdrawal in 2006, since the employment opportunity was so low, I had to apply to work in JEN Sudan and thanks to the management; the response was prompt and positive.
To the surprise of the reader, I had no passport until then and I was asked to report in Juba in less than a fortnight.  But to my satisfaction, I acquired the passport and the visa and reported in Juba within the deadline.

Some part of Meles Family
My stay in Juba working for JEN was really a pleasure not only to my family and me but also to my close relatives.”
(To be continued in the next report…)

February 25, 2010 in South Sudan |

The Third Session of Snow Busters Is Over!!

This year’s final session of Snow Busters, which lasted from February 19th to 21st, was a huge success.

100225_3sb_2 Sixteen people (eight female and eight male participants) participated as volunteers in this end-of-the-year session. Although there were many first-timers and participants who came by themselves, everyone bonded immediately. Not only did they participate in the volunteer activities, but they also voluntarily prepared meals and cleaned afterward.

100225_3sb_4 The next morning, participants sat at a presentation of the village revitalization project and were trained in safety and know-how’s of snow shoveling by Mr. Hiroshi Yamamoto, the chief representative of the Tokamachi Regional Development Planning Committee. Later, they shoveled snow off the roof and around the entrance of the Iketani branch school.

100225_3sb_5 After that, we trekked to a snow-covered mountain in Iriyama, the neighboring village of Iketani. Volunteers carried heavy luggage and walked through the snowy streets to have lunch at a lodge in Iriyama. Those who were in charge of preparing lunch refrained from trekking and cooked curry and rice. In Iriyama, adult participants had a lot of fun, having snowball fights and sledding, in addition to shoveling snow. It is curious that snow and nature take us back to childhood.

At night was the party where we exchanged ideas with the villagers, which has always been the tradition. The participants had a wonderful time with the villagers and felt inclined to come back to the village.

100225_3sb_7 On the last day, the volunteers dedicated themselves to cleaning the snow around the branch school and the villagers’ houses. Being the true snow busters, they operated the “snow dump” with such ease! Their vehemence was unprecedented. After the 2010 Snow Busters, we are certain that many experiences and encounters made in Iketani will serve as an inspiration to the participants.

JEN looks forward to seeing you at Snow Busters 2011!

February 25, 2010 in Niigata |


Competing for construction

We are currently transporting the materials to be used on the groundwork and doing a two-meter excavation work with the local people, after signing the contract with the construction company to build a cyclone shelter-type school.  This project has been made possible by all the supporters in Japan and the will of late Ms. Kiyohara.

We’ve initiated both projects in Gwe Chaung Gyi and Tha Yaw Chaung at about the same time, but there is some gap between their work progresses. There are many reasons for such discrepancy, but the biggest factor seems to be each community’s distinct work ethics. Even with preparing the documents for school registration, Tha Yaw Chaung lags behind Gweng Chaung Gyi, and similarly with the actual construction.

Tha Yaw Chaung locals, nonetheless, start working harder when we show them the pictures of progress the other town has been making. With the right stimulus, their pride converts to competitiveness.

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Gwe Chaung Gyi


Tha Yaw Chaung

JEN will continue to work while encouraging the local people and maintaining a tripodal cooperation scheme between JEN, the people, and the construction company, all in order to start the school construction before the rainy season.

February 18, 2010 in Myanmar |

To teachers, and to children

JEN in Afghanistan began its hygiene educational program from January 24th for 225 teachers from seven different schools in Charikar District, Parwan Province.

The teachers are currently having their winter vacation, but they come to school to attend this three-day program. The person who trains them in hygiene education is a specialist from the Health Division in the Education Department, and is monitored by the JEN’s local staff. This time, the Education Department of Parwan showed interest in this program, attended all seven schools’ programs, and monitored them as well.

The teachers did have basic knowledge on hygiene but it wasn’t practical. While we were organizing programs, we incorporated games so that participants could enjoy the training without getting bored. This attracted a lot of interest, and made them attend the three-day-long sitting training and workshop with passion and enthusiasm. 

100218_2 Since the impact at the two girls’ schools was so big, JEN was asked to continue holding various programs on capacity building. The local male staff also seemed overwhelmed by the power of women.

After this program, the teachers will start conducting hygiene education to the children from the new semester.

February 18, 2010 in Afghanistan |


The death toll of the Haitian earthquake

20100213 The Haitian government, on 10th February, has reannounced the death toll of this earthquake, from 200,000 to 230,000.

With population of around 10,000,000, this death toll means that more than 1 out of 50 have lost their lives. To come to think about it, I realized how destructive this earthquake was.

For example, the number signifies that out of 400 of your high school graduating class, 8 have died. Out of 20,000,000 that watched a soccer match, up to 400 have died, all at the same time.

20100213_2 Those that survived the earthquake fortunately must bring themselves together to rebuild their lives. This is going to be a very, very long journey.

JEN aims to assist in their ‘self-reliance’. We are determined to support as much as possible in this earthquake-stricken country.

February 13, 2010 in Haiti |


JEN’s shelter kits…

20100211_2 JEN’s staffs have returned to the community to assess the usage of the distributed shelter kits, from February 4th ~ 7th.

Roofs and walls that used to be sheets and curtains were now corrugated iron sheets distributed by JEN. Since we distributed some tools along with materials, we heard that the people could quickly translate into action in building their temporary shelter.

20100211_3  20100211_4 

February 11, 2010 in Haiti |


Arriving at Iketani, having “a Narrow Escape from Death”

100210 The 2010 Snow Shoveling Dojo, co-hosted by Chuetsu Disaster Prevention Frontier and JEN, was a great success!

100210_2 This year, Niigata had the heaviest snowfall in more than twenty years. A female college participant claims that she experienced a narrow escape from death when arriving at Iketani.

100210_3 Participants were divided into beginner and intermediate levels, and learned complicated skills such as knotting ropes. Later, they set up a banner that read “Snow Shoveling Dojo” and shoveled large amount of snow around the Iketani meeting center. In addition to working at a farm in summer, I will be joining the Snow Busters this weekend, too, since I really enjoy supporting the villagers.


Program Officer in Niigata Ayako Wakano

On February 28th, that person in the Tokamachi Regional Development Planning Committee is coming to Niigata City!

For more details, click here!

February 10, 2010 in Niigata |

After the resettlement

100210_3 The Sri Lanka Presidential Election has finished on 26th January without any major troubles and the present President was re-elected. Due to this event, the Return process were affected and getting delay but going gradually.

In the end of January, JEN survey team visited the people who have returned to their origin in the northern part of Vavuniya District, where heavy battle had once occured. Since the Water Board has requested us to clean the wells, JEN sent the team to check the situation.

We visited Ayladi Village and met Mr. Asokan (age 40) who came back from an IDP camp with his wife and two children. His well is dirty because nobody maintained it while their absense. In order to use it again, all water has to be taken up and cleaned. His house was destroyed as well, so that he started to rebuild it as shown in the photo. The roof material (tin sheets) will be distributed from the government. However, they cannot live in this house yet.100210_4

So, after Mr. Asokan rebuilds his house and clean the conpound in the daytime, he goes to the transition camp in Nainamadu Village, 3 km away from his village in the night foe catching sleep. In this camp, around 50 families live together because there are cleaned wells and people can sleep without fear in the night.

This is the reality that people could come back near their village but cannot settle down yet. So that the distribution of tin sheets, cleaning of wells, and agriculture assistance are the highly needed assistance to restart their life.

How can JEN support the people for their self-reliance? JEN keeps talking with people. 

February 10, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

A trip to Terekeka…

A recent assessment mission took me to one of the most underserved areas of Central Equatoria named Terekeka.

Terekeka is mainly predominated by nomadic communities whose main source of livelihood is cattle keeping.  JEN has implemented a school water and sanitation program in this area in the past.  It was very interesting to carry out our assessment in one of the hot spots in Sudan after reassurance about the now existing peace and security in the area.

There were lots of interesting things going on in Terekeka: fishing, marriage ceremonies (by the way you need at least 50 cows to announce that you want to get married to a girl.)

Aside from all these interesting phenomena and the fact that the town lies just beside the Nile River, I was thrilled to see women walking along carrying what appeared to be hand bags…

Picture 1: a newly married gal attending MCH clinics in Terekeka PHCC

Take a closer look at this picture…Looks like a girl carrying a handbag! But look closer…perhaps you missed it.  Yes there is a baby in it!
In this part of the Southern Sudan babies are carried in hides and skins of goats…very innovative!

February 10, 2010 in South Sudan |


Completion of distribution of shelter kits to 700 households!

After 4 days, on February 7th, we have successfully completed the distribution of shelter kits to 700 households. The last day of the distribution in coincided with the Christian day of prayer, so the distribution began after noontime in the camp.

It proceeded very smoothly with the cooperation of community leaders and young volunteers, and we were able to distribute to 160 persons within just two hours. Some were so delighted to receive the shelter kit that when their names were called some mothers came running to the desk shouting with joy.

We pray from bottom of hour hearts that with the distributed shelter kits, the people can live through the rainy season starting in May. Our program officers are planning to come back to the project site sometime next week to check how our kits are utilized.

February 7, 2010 in Haiti |


[Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance] Distribution of Emergency Goods, mission completed!

Photo_8 We have distributed our first set of emergency relief goods on February 4th (5th Japan time).
We have targeted 4 spontaneous camps in the town of Grand Goave.
Luckily there was no chaos during the distribution, and the goods have reached the hands of the affected, safe and sound.
The content of the tool kits is as follows: 10 corrugated iron sheets, 1 hammer, 1 saw, 1 pair of gloves, and 1 kg of nails.

Jen After the distribution, Ms Yonekawa has visited some homes of those that received the kits.
We were able to see some relieved faces, successfully set their first step towards recovery.

February 5, 2010 in Haiti |

[Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance Flash Report] Distribution of Emergency Goods #1

Here are some photos that just arrived from Haiti.
Faces brightened up with smiles…




Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage

By postal transfer (available within Japan)
00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN

February 5, 2010 in Haiti |


Haiti Emergency Assistance Reporting Session

JEN is organizing a reporting session on our emergency assistance activities for those Haitian people affected by the earthquake, on February 15th Monday 2010 at 18:30.
At the Session, Ms Masako Yonekawa, who has been engaged in the emergency relief activities onsite, will report the environment of the preliminary needs assessment and voices of the affected people waiting for distribution of emergency goods... Many photos and video clips will be shown during the reporting.
JEN has dispatched 4 members to the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince from the Dominican Republic.
We are currently active in Grand Goave, a town about 50 km West from Port-au-Prince, where the need for sheltering is very high. We are distributing tool kits for removing rubbles and building temporary shelter, for 700 households of refugees. These kits include corrugated iron sheets, hammer, saw and nails.
One month has passed since the earthquake that left the infrastructure critically damaged. According to the Haitian President, by February 2nd, the death toll rises 200,000.
In addition, the hurricane season is approaching soon.
JEN is planning to continue with the assistance to help the affected people regain the life and be self-reliant as soon as possible.

<JEN Haiti Emergency Assistance Reporting Session, by Ms Masako Yonekawa>
Date; February 15th Monday, 18:00-20:30 (Opens at 18:00)
Shinjuku Tabunka Kyosei Plaza
Tokyo-to Kenko Plaza Haisia 11th floor, 2-44-1 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku
(5 minutes walk from Shinjuku station, JR and Tokyo Metro)
(Access -> http;//bit.ly/dk4Nu6 )
Capacity: 35 people
Fee: JEN&JSE members are free, otherwise 500 yen
Please contact the Tokyo Headquarters, Hamatsu or Ikeda, by telephone or email (Please include your name, company, and contact).
(Tel: 03-5225-9352 / E-mail:

Reporter: Ms Masako Yonekawa (Francophone Area Emergency Assistance Specialist)
Field Director at UN Volunteer and UNHCR since 1992.
Adviser to the UNHCR High Commissioner, Specialist of Peace Building Operations.
Associate Professor at Faculty of International Studies at Utsunomiya University.

NGO JEN, Hamatsu/Ikeda
Daini Tobundo Bldg 7F, 2-16 Agebacho, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 162-0824
Tel: 03-5225-9352  Fax: 03-5225-9357
info@jen-npo.org  URL: http://www.jen-npo.org

February 4, 2010 in Haiti |

[Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance Flash Report] Photo Archive #1

Overseas Program Department Director, Cyril Cappai, has completed the preliminary mission in Haiti and has returned to Tokyo.
Here are some pictures that he brought back to Japan.





Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage

By postal transfer (available within Japan)
00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN

February 4, 2010 in Haiti |

Earth-Sanctifying Ceremony

An earth-sanctifying ceremony was held on January 19th and 21st at the Tha Yaw Chaung and Gwe Chaung Gyi villages where we’re building cyclone shelter-type elementary schools.

The ceremony seems to have similar significance as in Japan, in which they sanctify the earth’s soul and cleanse it. The starting times and equipments seem to vary by place and calendar they follow.

100204_dscn2000s_2 A group of five monks conduct prayers, first centered on the construction site, then at the four corners. Then they drive in a wooden stake at the corner of the building that is propitiously located according to the local fortune telling. The Sunday-born people hold the edge of the string, the Monday-born’s the opposite end, and the Tuesday-born’s drive in the wooden stake.

100204_dscn1850s_2 After that, the local people and JEN’s staff donate stoles and food to the monks. We then end the ceremony with a water-splashing ceremony, which signifies the sharing of the virtue among all people in the world, live or dead.

100204_dscn2031s_2 JEN plans to continue our work while embracing the region’s customs and traditions together with the local people.

February 4, 2010 in Myanmar |

Working in Afghanistan

I know I must talk about this year’s project in Afghanistan, so I would like to tell a short story of hardship like my colleague’s previous calendar story. This time it is about insurance.

Last year, one of the JEN’s local staff working for a long period asked for insurance. What they asked for was social insurance such as health insurance and employment insurance. The colleague who had a difficult time figuring out the calendar is having yet another difficult time for insurance companies, but there is no insurance company in this country.

In Afghanistan, the concept of compensation and responsibilities is not common in the community. There is an insurance company for JEN in Pakistan, where we remotely manage the projects for Afghanistan. Recently, however, these insurance companies began to add conditions that don’t cover injuries that are involved with terrorist attacks. Even these insurance policies differ from what’s intuitive in Japan, and they reflect the situations of the country.

JEN has to confront these different cultures and social atmospheres while carrying out our projects. There are staffs that play active part but whose efforts are not easily seen on the surface.

February 4, 2010 in Afghanistan |