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Case Study

JEN NGO started a project to assist conflict affected families of Central Kurram Agency in FATA. The intervention was started in month of Dec2012 by launching assessment and beneficiaries’ selection. In first step of assessment coordination was made with FDMA, APA (Assistant Political Agent) and village committees and then with support of village committees, the selection of beneficiaries started.

At this point of time more than 145 families have been selected. With consent of committee a widow named Hanan was selected to be first beneficiary of JEN. Her family is identified as most vulnerable family of the area. Both APA representative and committees were of the view that if JEN have to construct only a single shelter then without any doubt she is the one to have it.  Below is case study of BIBI who has been in camp as internally displaced.


Identified Case:
When JEN field teams started assessment for selection of beneficiaries Hanan was the first one where JEN team was taken by committee. Hanan is a 57 years old widow born in 1956 in village Bakhshali of District Mardan. In year 1976 she got married with Mr. AGA JAN of Kurram agency. Her husband was a labor.
It was a shocking day when the news was told to Hanan that her husband died of heart attack. After death of her husband she lost her one and only source of income and came into very difficult situation. She got 8 children, one son and seven daughters. 2 daughters died before the crises while the only son is disabled.
After the crises started in the area she had to leave her home due to precarious security situation and migrated to Sadda with other family members.  Her family faced many challenges in IDP camp as it was very difficult to have an appropriate living place there and before displacement her family never experienced camp life.

During disaster she faced very difficult situation when her mud room given to her by her brother-in-law collapsed and she became shelter less. After the return she didn’t have any room and were sharing only room with her brother in law family.
JEN team assessed her house on priority basis and selected for construction of first shelter. It was a very emotional moment, which might not be possible to explain in words, when she was told by JEN field team that JEN will provide a one room shelter material kit.


She said that she could not believe that someone like JEN would come into our lives and will provide an appropriate space for living to her family. She told JEN team that this is not just a room but it is means everything to her family because it saves her family from rain, snow and sun and above all now her family is no more dependent on her brother-in-law and his family.
She said she and whole community had very rough time. All the community around became conscious about their problems concern to shelters. In the beginning of this whole scenario she wept while she was telling her story and at the end when after completion she interviewed she was very emotional to have her own room and could not stop tears of happiness.
She was very thankful to JEN and people of Japan for their valuable assistance to her family and community.

February 28, 2013 in Pakistan |

Remote Project Management

JEN Afghanistan program is remotely managed from Islamabad (Pakistan). The team in Islamabad works closely with the Afghanistan local staff to smoothly run the project and achieve desired goals and objectives.


Remote management is one of the most difficult types of managing projects. It needs several things to be taken care very seriously and can called be as keys to success. Some of the key areas of remote management are as follow;

•Online communication: In online communication we only rely on words, you can’t see one’s expressions or gestures while talking on phone or reading someone email. Therefore every member of the team should know the importance and techniques of online communication.

•Proper flow of information is one of the key points in remote project management. In remote management the information should be shared very carefully. For example a staff is sharing some information and he missed a key member to put in CC or on the other hand if there is any confidential information and a staff who should not get those information is been put in CC of an email, both these cases are unfavourable which should be given proper consideration.

•Respecting cultural and geographic difference is one of the important aspect remote management. Time difference, cultural difference and other religious and social things should be kept in mind while you are talking to someone who I not present in front of you.

•Meeting Staff face to face: Once in a while face-to face meetings are very important part of the project management. The team from the field should be called to meet with international staff, it will help them to know each other’s better and to make the field staff feel that they are of the organization and team.

•Knowing your team: Managers know the capabilities of your team member and should trust their abilities and it should be communicated to the team member that how important they are for the management and project.

•Treating all Staff Equally: Staffs in the office and on the field are assets and they should be treated equally. Every member of the team whether in office or in field have their own jobs to perform, everyone should be treated and rewarded equally according to their performance.

JEN Islamabad team is trying all possible ways to get the things more effective and efficient.

February 28, 2013 in Afghanistan |

Hama-yu, Sasunohama's meeting house, to be refurbished for your enjoyment!

The oyster grill attached to Hama-yu completed the current season on February 24.

【On the final day, the oyster grill was crowded with customers.】

The oyster grill had opened every Sunday since last December, eight times in all. It had over 200 visitors not only from within the city of Ishinomaki but from outside as far afield as New York.
Looking back on the past three months, Mr. Hosokawa, the head of Executive Committee for Oyster Grill, said "We merely had got order for oyster out before, but we have got to know people who come all the way here to enjoy oysters and had chances to see our customers in person. That was the biggest benefit."

【Their service have got better each time, developing new dishes.】

"Kakisoba", buckwheat noodles topped with oyster fritters

"Ishinomaki oyster gratin"

Although the oyster grill ends this week, oysters are still in season. Inside Hama-yu, seasonal light refreshments such as kakisoba will be served from next month, for it's going to be refurbished as a lunchroom and will start to serve new dishes after the oyster grill closed down, Dishes using not only oysters but local, seasonal ingredients will be served. We do hope that you come and enjoy them at Hama-yu.

Hama-yu will continue to be used as a meeting place where local people gather to hold computer school or bee cafe and so on. JEN will committed to working on supporting reconstruction efforts of local people and getting as many people as possible to know about these efforts.

【A member staff said to the last guest "You'll come see me again, I hope?"】


・The address for Hama-yu is: Tonami Sasunohama, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi-ken 986-2135.

・How to find us: drive your car toward Tonami on Route 398, make a right turn at the Mangokuura intersection and drive into Route2, cross the Mangokuhara bridge, make a right turn at next traffic light heading for Sant Juan Park, and drive ahead about 500 meters after going through a tunnel; You can take a labarum on the left as the landmark of Hama-yu; It takes about 25 minutes by car from Ishinomaki station.

・The store hours are Saturday-Sunday 0 p.m.-2 p.m.

・Please contact Mr. Hosokawa (the head of Executive Committee for Oyster Grill) at 090-8256-1376.

・See below for more information about our future business plan.


February 28, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

The second school has also been started the rehabilitation!

Another rehabilitation construction has been started in the second school following of A secondary school, which we introduced last week. The second school is B primary school for boys in Baghdad.


The old water fountains which conditions are not able to be used will be demolished.

New toilet bowls, water tank, and pipes have arrived. The environment for students will be improved by this rehabilitation work.




February 28, 2013 in Iraq |

GOMAN, a place where difficult access rhymes with success!

Located 200m above sea level, the small community of GOMAN (Commune of grand Goave) has a million dollar view on the sea to offer to anybody who’s willing to leave national road number two and attack the climb!

The road starts in the mud before turning really fast into a mix between a dirt track and a river bed covered by rocks on extremely steep stretches.

The first time JEN tried to visit this community the car couldn’t make it, the team finishing by foot…

Arrived finally on the hill top the team was welcomed by inhabitants surprised and happy to see a little bunch of humanitarian workers arriving sweating in their locality.

After a quick introduction of JEN project to the local characters of the community we got invited for a new walk, downhill this time, in order to have a look on the only water source in the area.

30 minutes! 30 minutes climbing down a hill known as “Bouda Chita”, literally “Bottom seated”, trying every second step not to fall!

Arrived quite deep in what looks like a smaller version of a canyon we heard and saw the water! A small water fall with an impossible dangerous rocky access, some broken pipes here and there and downstream a group of people washing clothes, bathing or collecting water, sharing in addition the place with animals drinking!!!

The broken pipes made us think people had tried already to organize themselves regarding water issues, which was fast confirmed with the explanation given by the alder in the village.

After the regular process of assessment and survey GOMAN came of course as a location in which JEN should work. The need was extreme, this population is extremely vulnerable and quite isolated even though road national two is visible far downhill.

No use to precise the work has been particularly difficult for the construction team as items such as tools, iron or cement had to be transported all the way to the water source.

Sometimes partially by car or truck but mostly by motorbikes, manpower or donkeys!
Work on the track has been needed and the population fixed it!

San became an issue? The population started excavating directly in the mountain!

The enthusiasm, participation and involvement of the community have been also really important in the activities of hygiene promotion and definition and establishment of concept of WMC (water management committee) as the entire population could see how much improvement in their everyday life the project would bring!

I recall the visit organized later while JPF monitoring mission was in Haiti. All hygiene promoters and WMC members were present, proud to wear their tee shirts and explain how life had become better since they had a water reservoir and a safe kiosk!

February 28, 2013 in Haiti |


Wanted. Volunteers to help organize festival or bear mikoshi for Kitsunezakiinari shrine March 16,17

JEN is going to volunteer to help Kitsunezakiinari shrine at Higashihama hold a festival as its reconstruction support on March 16 and 17, 2012. JEN hopes that not only men who have the physical strength to carry a portable shrine but women will be joining us.


Why don't we help the community members in Higashihama who are making self-help efforts toward recovery with pumping up the festival? At the end of the festival, naorai 1(feast) will be held together with the community members. JEN and the community members look forward to your participation in naorai.

1. Naorai is an event that is held at the conclusion of a festival at the shrine where everyone who assembled for the Shinto ritual is made to drink sacred sake and eat the sacred food (a ritual to share drink and food).

The volunteer work will be as follows:
1. The work includes setting up the festival site, cleaning the precincts of the shrine, arranging mikoshi and labarums, carrying mikoshi etc at the Kitsunezakihamainari shrine.
2. The festival days are from Saturday April 16 to Sunday 17, 2013.
3. Please participate in clothes that you won't bother getting dirty, boots, carrying a rain cape, cotton work gloves and rubber gloves with you.
4. Applications will be accepted via JEN's website. Please check the notes on joining JEN volunteer carefully before application. Applications must be submitted by 18:00 on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Kitsunezakiinari shrine festival in Higashihama district

The mikoshi, which features Kitsunezakiinari shrine festival, has a history dating back as many as 300 years. But the number of persons who bear that mikoshi is on the decline lately due to a declining population. Last year's disaster spurred the depopulation and that makes it more difficult to ensure enough persons who organize the festival or carry the mikoshi. Although it's expected that young people from neighboring fishery villages come for help, volunteers from outside are really helpful in pumping up the festival.

Click here
for more information about JEN's activities on the Oshika Peninsula
Click here
for more information about JEN's assistance activities in Tohoku

February 22, 2013 in Volunteer Infomarion |


Attending the signing ceremony for our new project

On February 1, we attended a signing ceremony.   This signing ceremony was to announce the launch of a new project which is to be implemented with the support of JEN supporters and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.  As it was my first experience to attend such ceremony, rather than being nervous, I was very interested in how such ceremony was conducted. When I arrived at the Ambassador's Residence in Colombo, most of people of the press were already seated.  In Sri Lanka, things are usually carried out graciously and you always feel at ease, but I realized how solemn this ceremony was.

At the signing ceremony, the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka and JEN signed and exchanged the written contracts, and  JEN made a brief explanation about the project.  The Ambassador made a speech right after, and then there was a Q&A session with the press. The ceremony ended in about half an hour.

Our new project supports the recovery in the Mullaitivu District in Northern Sri Lanka and Ampara District in Eastern Sri Lanka. Specifically speaking, we will support constructing agro-wells and provide trainings to run workshops on agricultural knowledge, and form and empower agriculture communities over the next 12 months. The project will provide stable water supply to nearly 350 families, and will largely contribute to their self-sustainability.

Details on the project will be updated on this news blog.  Please look forward to our updates.



February 21, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

Road conditions to our project sites

It takes about six to seven hours from Juba, the capital city, to Morobo County and Kajo Keji County, where JEN ia providing trainings and monitorings. In order to explore the people’s needs for the assistance in Yei County which is located next to the two Counties, we have gone back and forth between those Counties for three weeks with Elizabeth, who is from Kenya and taking the role of project officer.
Since the road from the capital to the project sites was developed by the financial aid from Japan, we could drive very smoothly and comfortably for the first one hour by four-wheel-drive car.

For the last five hours, however, it was a very tough ride for us, driving on a chaotic and wide red soil road like above picture. The car was largely tilted to one side and we were bouncing in the car all the way. On the way to the destination, we could not find any shops except for a very small outside market at a village.


Sometimes when we passed villages along the road, we saw women and children carrying plastic buckets filled with well water on their heads.


We see young people traveling long distance on small motorcycles, but almost all villagers walk or hitchhike when they go somewhere.

There was a handmade bridge made of logs over a river, but when we were passing the bridge, one of our tires got stuck between the logs. (As you can see from the below picture, the tire actually got stuck in the middle of the bridge)


Sometimes when the bridges are too narrow for cars to pass, tires can get caught in the river below.


Even though we conduct regular check-ups of the vehicle and also check the car’s condition before every departure, because we drive over six hours everyday on bumpy roads, sometimes on the way back to Juba, the shock absorber would break down.
As described above, traveling by car, which is usually very comfortable in Japan, is not always easy here in South Sudan. Moreover, there are rarely alternative routes. Therefore, in South Sudan at times of emergency, it is essential to have secured some communication media, and always carry useful things like tools, fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, food and water.

February 21, 2013 in South Sudan |

"Come, join harvesting wakame, even shrimp! "NOW INVITING PARTICIPANTS!


It has been decided that a fishery experience event will take place in Higashihama, a fishery village on the Oshika Peninsula.

【"Come, join our fishery event", a spring festival where you can enjoy and experience firsthand harvesting wakame seaweed, even mantis shrimp. NOW INVITING PARTICIPANTS! 】

JEN and tsunami-stricken fishermen jointly decided to hold the 2nd "Come, join harvesting wakame, even shrimp!", two-day and one-night fishery experience event in Higashihama, a fishery village on the Oshika Peninsula. It's a new effort to boost disaster reconstruction by the fishermen from five areas in Higashihama. The first one took place last December, where participants enjoyed valuable experience in learning how to culture and shell oysters from fishermen.

【They tour an oyster farm by fishing boat.】

【They learn how to shell oysters.】

Higashihama's specialties vary with the seasons. The upcoming event features learning how wakame seaweed and mantis shrimps are cultured. It will be an excellent opportunity to experience fishery gusto, enjoying a beautiful sea in rich nature. JEN hopes the event helps bring smiles to fishermen's faces and make fishermen feel alive, keeping the fishery community alive. JEN does hope you will participate the event!

◆For details on JEN's assistance activities in Tohoku, click here.

◆What is Higashihama like?
Higashihama, which is located on the middle of the Oshika Peninsula, is divided into five districts, Makihama, Takehama, Kitsunezakihama, Kadatsuhama and Fultsukiura. It's a fishing-centered community and was worst affected by the disaster, but the whole community is working toward recovery.

◆What is "Come, join harvesting wakame, even shrimp!"?
JEN has worked on a variety of assistance activities since the disaster hit the area. In so doing, JEN staff members have had more and more chances to overhear fishermen saying "We want to show our hospitality to volunteers who came to help us after the disaster."

Since JEN staff members have heard the fishermen explaining what they feel like saying "We'd like to continue interacting different people outside our community. We want as many people as possible know about the attractions of the sea and our fishery." and overheard the conversations between the fishermen and the volunteers such as "Don't be a stranger!'", "I'll be back!", they have long hoped to respond these situations in a tangible way.
They finally cast their ideas into a program, aiming to realize revitalization of the fishery community through enjoying and cherishing every moment of interaction between the fishermen and the volunteers.

【Mantis shrimp fishing(April to July each year)】

◆"Come, join harvesting wakame, even shrimp!"
The event's details1 will be as follows:
・The opening days are April 13 - 14, 2013(two-day and one-night).
・The major attractions are Mantis shrimp fishing experience, wakame seaweed collecting experience, fixed-shore-net-fishing watching tour etc.
・The venue is Higashihama on the Oshika Peninsula, a fishery village in Ishinomaki city.
・The rest house is Kitsunezaki Fishery Village Center(986-2345, Miyagi-ken, Ishinomaki-shi, Aza Yashiki kitsunezaki 25-2 ).
・The number of participants is 20.
・The participation fee is not yet determined.
・The designated meeting place and time are the rotary outside Ishinomaki station and 11 a.m. on April 13(A complimentary transportation service to the venue will be offered.).
・The designated finishing place and time are the rotary outside Ishinomaki station and 3:30 p.m. on April 14(A complimentary transportation service from the venue will be offered.).
・Applications for the event will be accepted via JEN's website from the beginning of March.

Please contact the Applications and Inquiries (mentioned below) should you have further questions.

・Applications and Inquiries:
Please contact us at: Phone number 02225-25-5611; Fax number 02225-25-5612
Names of the contact persons are Shun Saijo or Hiroaki Chiba.
Please say to someone who answers your call "I'm calling about 'Come, visit our fishery event!'".
The department in charge is JEN (Specified Nonprofit Corporation) Tohoku Division Reconstruction Steering Group
The address for JEN's Tohoku division is: SASADEN BILL201, Zeniarai 3-13, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi-ken 986 0826

1. Once all our plans are set, they will be notified again.

【JEN invites donations for aid for the Tohoku recovery. DONATE

February 21, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Rehabilitation works in Iraq has been kicked off.

JEN continue to implement rehabilitation construction for damaged classrooms and water and hygiene facilities and hygiene promotion at 10 primary and secondary schools in Northern and Central Iraq this term.
In this week, the rehabilitation construction has been started at Al-Shurook secondary school in Kirkuk province in the Northern Iraq as the first school out of 10 selected schools for this term project.

At first, we break the existing but not functioning water fountain.

Cements for the construction have been arrived.

We reuse materials which are still useful and clear off the old and damaged things to make latrine and water fountain cleaner and more comfortable for students to use.

After this first step, we will construct the foundation of water fountains, connect the water pipes, and tiling to complete the works.

February 21, 2013 in Iraq |


Time to work in FATA

So the time has come to focus on returnees in Kurram Agency, FATA to ensure end to their protracted displacement. JEN has launched shelter project to provide “Roof Repair Kits” to 145 HHs in central Kurram Agency. These returnees were displaced from their homes due to the conflict. FATA and adjacent areas were directly affected with the situation after 9/11 and the war after those attacks and the community was in trouble. They had to move to the safer areas where they can save themselves and their loved ones. Those families have been residing in different parts of KP, FATA and in Camp organized by humanitarian community and government.

To address their early recovery needs; JEN adopted Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approach to know their most urgent needs. Through PRA we did the research through participation of local community who knows much better than the external people. This generates a confidence in the community who suffered from the disasters and they know they are one of the stakeholders instead of just recipient. In this process we changed into learners and community as speakers which show respect to local intellectual and their analytical capabilities. It was easy for us to learn and understand the people's culture, habits and customs.


Around 55 village elders of 7 targeted villages were called upon and their needs were identified and prioritized through deep and systematic consultations. All village elders agreed on 4 most urgent needs as Peace, Shelter, Water supply and Health.


JEN further analyzed the situation and selected water supply component in addition to hygiene education based on returnee’s needs and JEN’s expertise.


Rapid assessment of water supply schemes was carried out, consulted with relevant government department and the idea was presented to wash cluster for recommendation. JEN is hopeful to assist returnees in terms of water supply schemes and hygiene education in the near future with the support of Japanese people and government. 


February 14, 2013 in Pakistan |

'Faisal Mosque' — The biggest Islamic mosque in South Asia

In Islamabad, Pakistan (location of JEN office for activities in Afghanistan), resides the biggest mosque in South Asia, and the fourth biggest in the world.

Construction of the Faisal Mosque was completed in 1986, commissioned by the third King of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The temple took on his name as a tribute. 
It is now recognized as a national mosque, and on days of religious activity the reading halls are packed with followers.



Footwear is removed at the entrance.
Unfortunately pictures are not allowed to be taken inside. However, at the time of our visit, 'azaan' (time dedicated to prayer) brought together a large gathering of followers.
 The Faisal Mosque is built at the foot of mountainous land, with the base spanning roughly 5000m2. The reading hall can accommodate more than 10,000 people — the sheer size and aura are overwhelming. The mosque is also open to visitors of different/no religion, and is a work of art definitely worth seeing.

February 14, 2013 in Afghanistan |

Quick report on February 10 volunteering activity

An ascidian culture is under way in Tanigawahama waters off the Oshika Peninsula. The ocean current flowing along the Tanigawahama coast provides a fertile breeding ground for ascidians and so Tanigawahama has boasted ascidians and their larvae harvesting since pre-disaster periods.

【They make traps for ascidian larvae, running a string through holes in oyster shells(string oyster shells for traps for ascidian larvae).】

With some forty houses and fishery lodges swept away by a raging 13-meter-high tsunami, fishermen in Tanigawahama still take shelter in temporary housing and commute from there to their fishery harbor even twenty-three months after the disaster.

【This was once a residential area, which is scheduled to be relocated to a high ground nearby.】

Making traps is so human-intensive that many hands make light work. In addition, that even a small number of people continue to come to help fishermen who are making patient efforts serves them as powerful encouragement.

【Mr. Atsumi teaches volunteers how to raise ascidians.】


During the month of February, we are going to ask volunteers to help fishermen make traps. We are really looking forward to your participation.

【JEN invites donations for aid for the Tohoku recovery. DONATE HERE

February 14, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |


Who is Ken?

Although it's been awhile since I arrived to assume this post in Sri Lanka, I only know a little Sinhalese mostly for greeting like "hello", "my name is **", "how are you?", "I'm good", when I take a rickshaw, "please go straight", "I am not Chinese", 99% of people who I come across think I'm Chinese at the beginning.

And lately I figured out another Sinhalese expression!

Staffs at Colombo Office answer the phone saying "Oh, Ken!" which makes me wonder if Ken calls us that often? I have never heard of a person called Ken that I was wondering for quite some time.  What took me so long to figure this out? I asked them "what does Ken mean in Sinhalese?" then they just say "there is no such word".

The fact was that I had not gotten the sound right. It is supposed to be pronounced "kyan" with weak "ya" then it sounds like "Ken" when you say it fast. Its meaning is "tell me", "what's wrong?" Well, I feel better that my mystery has been solved.

February 7, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

Assistance that leads to self-reliance

On January 22, I was appointed to my current post in South Sudan. We are based in the capital Juba of Central Equatoria state. In Afghanistan where I was in charge before, I also implemented program support of improvement of environmental hygiene, or "WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene)". The key was how to promote autonomy of the local people throughout these programs. I feel that this is going to be a difficult subject ever in this country.
I'll show you an example. It was when I visited an elementary school in the city of Juba with local officials.


The principal told me that there was no bathroom, however, there were four pit grave toilets within a radius of about 50 meters in the school rear grounds.

The soil of the ground was of the type called “black cotton soil” , or black swell soil. The soil was weak and on the brink of collapse. The four toilets were sinking in the land and there was a big gap between the floor of the bathroom booths and the ground.

Behind the four-room bathrooms, there was a different type of toilets with three rooms. Not only these three-room bathrooms were leaning forward, but also were tipped to one side. There was another structure that looked like a bathroom even further behind. It was pit toilet with one partition, was obviously not kept in good condition, and the door was broken.

The principal told me that he had requested construction of new toilets to a variety of NGO.  It seems like as soon as there would be another support, these bathrooms were being used as if they were disposable bathrooms.
In order for people of South Sudan to build an independent nation with sense of sustainable autonomy, there needs an accumulation of small changes of consciousness. It seems a deep-rooted problem at first glance, but I would like to work on creating those “opportunities” that help people “wake” and realize the consciousness.

(Program Officer, Nahoko Araki)

February 7, 2013 in South Sudan |

"Watatsumi", seashell jewelry, officially goes on sales!

The Association of Miyagi Fisheries Cooperative's Women's Group, or FCWG, has developed "Watatsumi", seashell fashion accessories, and officially started selling them.

【"Watatsumi", handcrafted fashion accessories made of abalone young shell】

JEN has worked on helping FCWG resume their activities since Spring 2012.
FCWG, a voluntary organization serving as "fishing community supporters", promotes local production for local consumption, dietary education to children, assistance activities for children of marine accident victims, wearing life jackets and so forth. However FCWG, affected by the disaster, has been facing troubles: its members were forced to leave their home town; it had to give up collecting membership dues and so on, as has made it difficult to continue its efforts. Therefore it had to search for some income-generating opportunities.
Each Watatsumi product is made by hand, being manufactured in small quantities, and so at first the members used events as opportunities to sell their products. Now that they could get production off the ground, they have started selling the products over counter as well as through order. Customers can buy them at "Roman Kaiyuu 21" by the Ishinomaki station, a tourism and commercial museum, and also place orders through fax.


The members use the money from the sale to resume their activities.

【Members are making fashion accessories.】

JEN asked Mr. Yusuke Honda, a metalworking artist from the city of Higashimatsushima who runs a studio called POPPO, to teach the members how to design and make fashion accessories. Raised in the sea and living with the sea, the female members, who are generous-hearted but resilient, put their prayers for the tsunami victims into their products' name "Watatsumi(the god of the sea that appears in Japanese mythology)"

【JEN invites donations for aid for the Tohoku recovery. DONATE HERE

February 7, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

KITA NAGO, much more than a simple community symbol(part2)

What I didn’t know before reading a great article in a local newspaper was that they were many other symbols in Kita Nago.
A common expression in créole says “Mwen pap fè yon pa Kita, yon pa Nago”. Literally “I don’t make a step Kita nor Nago” which means “I don’t move”! Or “I don’t make a small step, neither a long one” when used in second degree.
Kita and Nago are also 2 nations among the 21 in voodoo religion. The Kitas have fragile feet while the Nagos are great endurance walker.

The Y shape of the wood refers to the Yoruba, tribe that was taken into slavery on a large scale. It also refers to a voodoo ceremony during which believers eat Yam.
The wood, oak, was once upon a time one of the biggest richness of the country and did contribute in a large scale to pay France the debt for Haiti’s independence.

The all project is also an opportunity to show that Haitians can do things without any foreign help as all resources in the project are locals.

700km so 14 stages of 50km, representing the 14 stations leading to Golgotha, meaning so that a failure can be turned on a great victory.
The walk is also the opportunity to recommend Haitians citizens to all plant a tree the day Kita Nago crosses their town in this year dedicated to environment in Haiti.
No doubt, the long road between les Irois and Ouanaminthe will keep the name of Kita Nago Road for long.
People say the wood is talking! They’re probably right! By reminding all these symbols the wood has talked to many lost souls and brought hope in many communities already.

By the way, did you know Kita and Nago were 2 geographically exact opposite points in Japan?

February 7, 2013 in Haiti |