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Recycling in Agriculture Activities

Recycling in food process for the local community is necessary in our agriculture project in South Waziristan Agency. The project brings arable land into life as organic seeds of maize crop and vegetables are cultivated and food cycle of the 1,850 farmer families revived again. The project brings re-cultivation of 925 Acers of farming land belonging to those of the families.
The law enforces agencies prohibit transportation of chemical fertilizer for agriculture purposes because it can be used for explosives. Thus, the farmers are worried about fate of their crops. JEN is training 3,700 female and male beneficiaries in agriculture with focus on proper compost making and use.
During trainings and field visits, the project staff train the community on compost making. The beneficiaries are being trained to make heap of wetted organic matter known as green waste (leaves and food waste) and then wait for the materials to break down into humus after a period of one month.
Since for all of the villages, cows, goats and sheep are common and they have been provided basic materials for compost making. The project staff train the beneficiaries to use animal residues mixed with entire plants or with leaves, small branches and weeds. When dung is properly decomposed with plant residues, it becomes more beneficial to crops than chemical fertilizers having no side effects on the environment as well as on yields. At the same time, there are little chances of disease or pest attacks.
[JEN staff held a training of compost making for local famers]
During the time of follow-up visits, the project staff demonstrated the local famers. Due to proper compost making, its large part of the nutrient uptake is improved and the results show its better crops and fodder production as well as proper recycling of natural resources.
The majority of the beneficiaries have started composting which following the ultimate method of recycling organic materials such as animal wastes, plant leaves and vegetable scraps into a rich soil amendment. The project staff are able to mobilize and train the local people during the period of the last 3 or 4 months on compost making and use.
[JEN staff held a training of compost making at home for local women]
[A lady, making compost at home]

October 27, 2016 in Pakistan |

IDPs escaped from Kundoz Province to Parwan Province

In early October 2016, the Taliban opposition group attacked the Kunduz Province and the war began in the residential areas. The group used houses as shelters to fight against the Afghan military forces. Many of the locals became displaced and flee to the nearest provinces such as Takhar, Baghlan, Balkh, Parwan and Kabul. I kept my attention on a family with three disabled sons. They cannot speak nor walk. They needed help with their two sisters and their mother every single day. The father is a day laborer now and the family could only afford to eat twice a day.

While they became Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Parwan, the family has no relatives neither social provision. At the beginning of their life there, they could not afford food. They have a life but it is far from being sufficient. Moreover, the lack of money makes it difficult for the family to go back to Kunduz. The anxiety towards losing all their assets in Kunduz through theft remains due to this turmoil.
[The father, talking about his family]
Written by: Shir Ali, Chief Engineer

October 27, 2016 in Afghanistan |


The beginning of a new school term in Iraq

The new school term in Iraq began on 29 September 2016. The Minister for the Ministry of Education rang the opening bell at an elementary school in Baghdad.

The education system in Baghdad in the 1970’s and 1980’s was at the highest level in the region, and the literacy rate was maintained at a high level. The then government’s campaign to improve the literacy rate contributed to this situation. However, since 1991, the education system has failed as a result of the outbreak of the Iraq War and economic restrictions in Baghdad.

Since 2003, many schools in Iraq have required repairs to and restoration of their sanitary equipment.  Many schools also face additional problems such as the lack of laboratories, libraries, and basic infrastructure like electricity and running water.  The failing education system and deficient school facilities have been, and remain, an obstacle preventing children from attending and studying at school.
Furthermore, economic difficulty in Iraq has forced children to seek income through labor, thereby also contributing to the decline in literacy.

[School toilets and a water storage tank that JEN restored]

I genuinely hope that the education system in Iraq will be improved and the day when schools are full of life with children’s voices will come again.
By Thikra J Elias

[Not only children but JEN’s staff also have meetings with school officials at the beginning of the new term]

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

October 20, 2016 in Iraq |

Kumamoto Earthquake, Six Months after

Six months have passed since the earthquake in April, 2016. JEN has been engaged in supportive activities since the aftermath. Nevertheless, the road to recovery is a long one, and we still have many victims needing support.

As of this October, 120 deaths including earthquake-related ones were recorded. The recorded damage to houses were: 8,849 completely destroyed; 30,809 half destroyed; 132,339 partially destroyed. Other than that, if damage to other property is included, overall toll will become really huge. As many as 8 municipalities are still providing 12 shelters, where 301 people are living the life of a refugee. Consequently, construction of temporary housing for victims is now underway. Even though 4,052 housing units have been built in 8 municipalities, they are not enough to supply the demand. Also, we must note that quite a number of victims are still living in their damaged houses or tents pitched in front of their houses.

Both private organizations and the government have implemented a variety of supportive activities for Kumamoto. When it comes to house-related support, the government subsidizes the cost of the demolition of completely or half destroyed houses, whereas private organizations help demolish the buildings that are ineligible for subsidies.

In each temporary housing complex, victims are making a collective effort to organize their own community, establishing a residents’ association or holding assemblies at a meeting place attached to the complex. Although each person who took part in supportive activities did their best to come up with ways to support victims, you can still see not only earthquake devastation remaining everywhere but also many victims in a difficult situation.

Six months having passed, the Kumamoto earthquake is nearly fading from people’s memory, but many victims are nonetheless making efforts to get their lives back together while busy cleaning away the rubble of their houses. The Kumamoto earthquake is by no means a thing of the past. Therefore, what we should do now is to express our renewed mourning for all people who died, and not to forget the victims who need our help.

JEN will continue helping the victims in Kumamoto move forward on their own.

October 20, 2016 in Kumamoto |

Construction of Thampakamam Community Center with Ford

As a part of the community strength support, JEN is establishing community centers where groups within communities such as agricultural cooperative association or village development committee can conduct activities. Under the idea “Buildings for the region should be built by themselves”, they don’t hire a building contractor and construction from the foundation to the roof is conducted by the regional village development committee.

On October 4, some employees of Ford Motor, one of the supporters of Thampakamam Community Center construction, came from Colombo to Kilinochchi to Colombo and helped with construction work under the program of Global Month of Caring as a volunteer.

The work for the day was backfilling after completing the foundation of the building and carrying the sand and soil to the 24 square meters place endlessly.
Vannankerny North village of Thampakamam district, which is a community center construction site, has limited woods and no building facilities because the place was released from the army last year and started resettlement of returnees.

For the employees who spend most of their time in the room with air conditioner, it was very hard to work under the scorching sun.

【Group picture before work】
【FORD and JEN staff who are preparing the foundation by moving remained block】
【Carry the sand by bucket or wheelbarrow like this】
Between the construction works, they visited the place where JEN constructs wells and spent some time with people in the community.
Houses made of block have been built in Thampakamam area by the recent government shelter support. However, there are still many houses made of tin roof or palm leaves and they shared 2 wells and 2 water tanks in 15 houses before JEN’s well construction for agriculture.
The employees of Ford Motor mentioned that Thampakamam area doesn’t look like the same country, after they saw its situation  when it was far behind the big city, Colombo.
Also, they were impressed by the people of Thampakamam area who are strong despite the lack of resources and opportunities.

Through these opportunities, I will be grateful if JEN has a chance to spread the history, beauty and people with full of hospitality as well as the situation of the northern area on be their behalf.
【JEN staff who serve lunch which community people made】
【The building which completes backfilling. It took all day】

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

October 20, 2016 in Sri Lanka |


The training for the returnees in SWA-FATA

Agricultural is the main source of livelihood in rural Pakistan. According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), approximately 65% population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. Keeping on eyes the urgency and importance of agriculture inputs for returnees in South Waziristan (SWA), JEN is working with 1,850 families in 2016.

One of the important components of our support  is training sessions on improved crop and vegetable management. The training sessions are divided into two categories. Training sessions to male household heads on agriculture farming and to female beneficiaries of the same families on kitchen gardening. JEN will conduct 148 training sessions for the male and the female beneficiaries with support from the government agriculture department staff.

【The male farmers participating a session】

【The training holding another area】

Duration of each training session is approx. 90 minutes. Several topics are taught to the beneficiaries in a training session followed by questions and answers. The participants are in need of help, an agriculture officer visits their farm to inject knowledge of the sessions into them. The topics of the agriculture farming training include: reclamation and preparation of the land for crops; methods for irrigated/rainy lands; sowing method and required seeds per acre, selection of best seeds; safe use of toxic seeds; use of different fertilizers, removing herbs from the field; protection from insects/diseases, and harvesting crops and its management.

【The lecturer’s session】

The topics for the female beneficiaries in the training sessions consist of nutritional importance of vegetables; preparation of land for sowing vegetables; use of productive seeds; calendar for sowing different vegetable seeds in a year; watering methods; removing herbs/sages; knowledge about hazardous insects and protection of vegetables from them, and effective use of toxic seeds.

The training sessions are meant to equip the beneficiaries with modern techniques and knowledge of improved crops and effective vegetable management. Another important aspect of the project is that the beneficiaries are linked with the government agriculture department by sharing contact numbers. In this way, the beneficiaries will keep in touch with the department staff even after JEN’s support in the area and it will help enable a sustainable livelihood development process.   

【The male participants】

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

October 18, 2016 in Pakistan |


A new project called “ASUKUMA” (looking for bright tomorrow) has been started to cheer up Kumamoto

It has been six months since the earthquake hit in Kumamoto. JEN has recently started a new project for the people in the prefecture. The name of the project is called ASUKUMA. ASU means tomorrow and KUMA is the nickname of Kumamoto. Thus, the project’s name implies that Kumamoto can look for a bright tomorrow. ASUKUMA aims to restore the pride of Kumamoto in terms of its people, things, culture, as well as those based on people’s entrepreneurship. It is a two-month workshop.
The kick-off day was Sunday, 2nd of October. A total of 20 participants came to “HARMONY”, a center that aims to encourage gender equality and holds events related to it.
The project just has started!


October 14, 2016 in Kumamoto |


Agricultural Workshop in Mullaitivu

JEN held an agricultural workshop in Mullaitivu district, Sri Lanka.

As a part of our current agricultural livelihood recovery program, JEN is enhancing people’s agricultural skills, so that people returning to the district are able to practice more productive farming. For this year we held an agricultural workshop for 38 households in Mullaitivu district with the support of the Department of Agriculture on 26 September.

During the workshop, attendees learnt about organic farming, apiculture, and mushroom production in seminars. They also went to a model farm run by the Department of Agriculture to receive instruction about making organic composts, how to make fertilizer out of plants grown in the northern region and how to make organic pesticides. Farming using pesticides is becoming increasingly popular in Sri Lanka but this is causing more people to develop and suffer from liver ailments due to their drinking water contaminated with pesticides. By learning about organic agriculture in this workshop, JEN thinks that we have instructed a more sustainable way to farm. Also the Department in the northern region of Sri Lanka is now focusing on the growing of mushrooms in addition to current crops such as eggplants, okuras, watermelons and peanuts. Mushrooms are a suitable commodity for the recovery of people’s livelihoods because they are sold at higher prices than other vegetables. However, growing mushrooms is a first for most farmers. So the program under which the Department of Agriculture provides mushroom spores at cheaper prices and provides guidance to farmers on how to grow mushrooms was also introduced in this workshop.

[Instructor from the Department of Agriculture gives a lecture about organic farming]

In the demonstration on organic compost, participants practiced making compost according to the instructor’s guidance. To do so, participants first laid hay within an enclosed area and covered it with soil. Next, they watered the soil and laid withered banana leaves on the soil and then, again, covered this with hay. Then, they sprayed the pile with water mixed with cattle dung. There were some who hesitated in watering the pile when they smelt the cattle dung. Repeating this process several times over several weeks will produce ready to use compost.
[1. Lay soil on the hay to make the base]

[2. Spread water evenly across the soil to raise humidity]
[3. Participants did not like using the water with cattle dung...]
[4. Cover with dry leaves such as bananas]
[5. Make multiple layers of soil, hay and leaves and the preparation is done]

Participants looked tired as they had practice outside on a hot day, but it seemed to be a productive workshop.
[The workshop ended successfully, with smiley JEN staff]

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

October 6, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

Disaster Risk Reduction Emergency Drills in Schools

Earthquake is a very common natural disaster in Japan as well as in Afghanistan. Historical records report destructive earthquakes in Afghanistan during the last centuries and modern seismograph networks show that earthquake activities are widespread throughout the eastern and the northern parts of the country more than others.

However, due to the lack of knowledge, the buildings are poorly designed and are not able to stand against strong quakes so they can be easily affected by strong jolts.
In addition, what makes people even more vulnerable is the lack of information in case of emergency. It is needless to say that people in Afghanistan need to know in advance what specific preparation is needed before, during and after hazards.

After a strong earthquake which struck Afghanistan and Pakistan on 26, Oct, 2015; JEN decided to include a new component of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in its Japan Platform’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene  project 2016. The DRR component aims to strengthen children’s skills so that they understand the risk of disaster and are able to take the lead in reducing the risk and impact of potential disasters. It is worth mentioning that JEN is the first to conduct the DRR activities in Parwan province.

Firstly, JEN conducted the DRR refreshment training for Master Trainers from Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) followed by the DRR trainings for 453 teachers of 20 schools in Charikar by the ANDMA trainers. The trained teachers are obligated to teach and pass the DRR lessons to some 20,000 students at targeted 20 schools. The students will then transfer the DRR messages to their families and the community.

After months of the DRR learning  in the schools, JEN team conducted the DRR emergency drills in the 20 schools of Charikar district, in which teachers and students brought all techniques into practice. The students assumed that they were in a real earthquake and not only tried to find a proper awning for preventing injuries or evacuated from the building in a proper way, but they also learned and practiced what to do after an earthquake that is assisting injured (if any) by using the first aid kit which was already distributed by JEN to targeted schools.

Sultan Mohammad, the Principal of Bayan Ulia Girls High School, appreciated JEN’s efforts in this regards. He commented
“at the last time when the earthquake struck Parwan and all Afghanistan, on the first jolt the students started screaming, rushing and pushing each other to the exit. It was caused by two students’ minor injuries and one student’s trauma.”
He also said that now the students can deal with planning evacuation maps, choosing safe escape ways and paying attention after shock hazards.
Finally, he carried on his words confidently
“we are ready for it now.”

[Sultan Mohammad, the Principal of Bayan Ulia Girls High School]
[The DRR emergency drill in Qalacha Girls High School]
[The emergency drill in Qalai Naw Deh Mula Yusuf School]
[School staff helping an injured student during the drill in Naw Abad Topdara Primary School]

October 6, 2016 in Afghanistan |


I want to share our health education project this time.
The department of education requested us to support the redesigning of their current poster about “Let’s think about hygiene together!”. The poster will be distributed to assigned schools.

【JEN staff are discussing about the poster】

Each school sets up a Committee on Environment to review hygiene environment in schools at the beginning of each term. The committee is important to improve hygienic environment not only for schools but also for JEN.

The chairman of the Committee on Environment said, “With this poster, we want to increase awareness of problems about health and environment among children first. We also expect that children talk about the problems once they go home, and their parents and adult family members share the story to their neighbors. Finally, we want to improve overall regional health condition.”

For this second poster, JEN created a message as follows: “Your health is our goal”. Through this poster, we want people to be interested in hygienic management including food, as well as to raise awareness of hygienic environment around schools and their health in general. I hope that this project will improve hygienic environment for students in these schools.
By Thinkra J Elias

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

October 6, 2016 in Iraq |