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Providing Mothers a Workshop on Weaning Foods

Enjoying each other's company, mothers are wielding kitchen knives in a test kitchen; one of the mothers is carrying a baby in a sarashi sling and the baby is watching them cooking over his/her mother’s shoulder.

This workshop, hosted by Fukushima Midwives Association, provides mothers an opportunity to learn how to prepare food for infants.

[Their first experience to hold their babies on their back]

This workshop was aimed at helping mothers by easing their concerns for weaning food and provided mothers with an opportunity to learn how to cook a family meal while strapping their babies to their back. On top of that, they were also able to get answers to the questions they had in everyday life, such as:
・what kind of age-appropriate diet mothers should give to their babies;
・whether mothers may feed breast milk or formula to their babies as much as their babies want;
・whether they worry needlessly about food allergies; and
・how to be sure they are feeding their babies a balanced diet.

[A nutritionist teaches the mothers.] 
Photo: © Fukushima Midwives Association

Choosing Fukushima Midwives Association as an alliance partner, JEN has been assisting the “Midwife-driven Comprehensive Expectant and Nursing Mothers Support Project” since June, 2016. While dealing with calls from mothers after the earthquake, the association realized that so many mothers were worrying about how to raise their babies. Accordingly that led the association to believe that addressing their concerns would help them feel good about themselves and become confident about themselves.
Consequently the association has implemented the project in which it teaches mothers how to make weaning diets and cook while rocking their babies on their backs so that they don’t have to leave their crying babies as they are.
Another important thing in addressing mothers’ concerns is to help them to enhance their relationship with local communities.

[The mothers and their babies eat meals together]
Photo: © Fukushima Midwives Association

Some of the mothers’ replies were:
・”My worries and anxieties disappeared thanks to the midwife’s advice;”
・”I was able to consult with other mothers.”

【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

November 24, 2016 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Preciousness of each drop of water

It is as easy to drink unpolluted water as it is to breathe clean air. People of rich countries would think so. However, in a country like Afghanistan it is not easy as it seems.

In developing countries it is said that about 80% of diseases are caused by drinking unsanitary water. City dwellers in developing countries have difficulty in obtaining drinking water that is sanitary and suitable. In rural parts of these countries the situation is much more severe.
[Animals drinking polluted water in a pond]

[Spring water from a mountain]

Women and girls living in rural Afghanistan walk many kilometers to get water. Also in some places people and animals use the same pond for drinking water. If you are interested in the water crisis throughout the world and its impact, you can notice that 1 out of 10 children are dying by diseases caused by drinking unsuitable water.
[Children carrying water from a water source]

Drinking water is crucial for living. However, even in this age where investigations are conducted as to whether there exists water on other planets we still have to say that clean water is a dream for many people on Earth. It is pity, but this is the reality.

Water is essential to brush teeth, shave a beard, wash hands, clothes and dishes, have shower, flush a toilet and wash a car. If you look at your daily life, you may feel that you are wasting too much water.
Think about the people of the world again before you open a faucet. Can you imagine mid-summer with no water? It is not easy to imagine the reality of an area having difficulty in accessing water. What we can do is to stop wasting our water resources otherwise we will also lapse into water shortage.
[Water supply facility built by JEN]

Samah Batt
Accounting Assistant

November 24, 2016 in Afghanistan |

Case Study of Hanzala Khan of Chenai, SWA-FATA

Hanzera Khan led an ordinary life in Chenai village, Sarwakai district, South Waziristan until October 2008.

He is the oldest son of six brothers and he was the breadwinner of a family of 13. He has a 6 acre farmland, small "Kacha House" (house made of mud) and was expecting a good harvest from the farmland.

[Hanzra Khan and his house]

However, his family had to leave the village due to an emergency. His family moved to Tank District and stayed with their relatives. He and his old parents, small children and women evacuated from his village, walking through the hilly land over two days.

Back in his home, he was working day by day so his income was not sufficient to support his family.

After having spent half a year in Tank District, he moved to Karachi with relatives and had lived there until May 2015. He and his family led a poor life there as well,  by working as a day worker. He said that his father passed away there.

After the government’s announcement of the return of IDPs (internally displaced persons) in 2016, his family returned to the village they used to live with hundreds of other families.

Once home, they were shocked to see that their houses were totally destroyed.
Fertile farmland had changed to infertile land because of 8 years of being untouched.

Agricultural infrastructures such as irrigation facilities and pump wells have also been completely destroyed. Fruit ranch was also in complete destruction, as all of the fruit trees were gone.

[Desolate farmland after Mr.Khan’s return]

With the support of the United Nations, JEN and local partner, State Development Organization(SDO), are supporting the return of the third batch of IDPs to Saruwaki and Tiarza District.

One day in June 2016, Khan found out JEN and SDO team were going to visit their village and talk with the elder of the villages. Mr. Khan attended the meeting and was able to receive an agricultural support package. Mr. Khan is one of the first eligible recipients of this package.

[Mr. Khan’s reclaimed farmland]

Mr. Khan is planning to plant corn in a 0.5 acre land for the next farming season.
In addition, one pond was dug next to his house to provide irrigation water and drinking water.

He also underwent a technical training on agricultural technology and now he should be able to harvest enough corn in a few months to support his family.
“Even though my life looked miserable upon return from the  conflict, life changed for the better because I received the necessary tools and materials, took the training, and the land was cleared.”

Mr. Khan expressed his gratitude to JEN, SDO and United Nations.

[Mr Khan's corn field]

November 24, 2016 in Pakistan |


To Have Doors

JEN is providing water sanitation for those living in refugee camps in Iraq. This has created a safe environment in all household toilets, showers, and kitchen facilities.

Recently, many families have left the camps and new families have taken their place. When residents leave the camp, JEN goes with the camp manager to the place they used to lived, and recovers what can be reused so that the newly incoming family is able to settle quickly.

Among this recovery, the most important is the collecting of doors, so that when doors break, they can be replaced immediately. Last week, when we visited a vacant home, we encountered residents removing a door.
[A man removing a door from an unused bathroom.]
The man told us that the door of his tent was broken and would not close, and so he needed a new door. Not only is not having a door unsafe, but as we enter the winter months the night temperature has decreases and in this region there is a heavy rainfall in the winter.
[The newly installed door on the man’s tent]
At first we were surprised by the removal of the door without notice, but we were glad to help those who needed doors. Some of the refugees in the camp had spent over two years in the same tent, because these tents are designed for temporary use of 9~12 months, they are wearing out. In particular, damage to doors prevents them from closing properly.

Additionally, most of the tents have worn out through two years of use, and thus experience rain leaks. In such an aggravation of living conditions, the people must protect themselves inside the tent from the rain and cold air as winter approaches. Through support activities, JEN hopes to provide a more safe and comfortable environment for the refugees.

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

November 17, 2016 in Iraq |

Collaboration with Kumamoto Green Co-op on Support Activities

Following the devastating Kumamoto earthquake in April, 2016, support organizations, including JEN, came to Kumamoto and have been providing support to survivors. While it is true that organizations from other prefectures are working hard, local organizations have an advantage over outside ones in approaching affected people, understanding their needs, and providing precise assistance to them.
JEN regards assisting those local organizations as a pillar of its supportive activities in Kumamoto.

Kumamoto Green Co-op is one of the local organizations that have been supporting survivors since shortly after the occurrence of the earthquake. As one of the ways to assist the cooperative, JEN has been lending it a freight truck since September.
The Kumamoto Green Co-op has approached the aftermath of the earthquake on a number of fronts since 15, April, the day after the occurrence of the Kumamoto earthquake, including by: delivering relief supplies including food and water; helping with debris removal and cleaning up survivors’ houses; offering baths, legal aid services, entertainment for children, and a food van service; and preparing meals outdoors.

In each activity, it has been displaying the advantages of its connections in the area and a delivery capability to reach every survivor there.

Approximately 4,000 units of temporary housing for people displaced by the earthquake have been built around the prefecture. Local governments and social welfare councils are helping survivors move into the temporary housing.

Other displaced people include about 9,000 households of survivors who are living in rental housing subsidized by the government to make up for the lack of temporary housing, and yet more survivors are still living in their damaged houses. Unlike those survivors living in the temporary housing, the survivors living in rental housing, or in their own damaged houses, are in a vulnerable position because it is extremely difficult for local governments to track their whereabouts and understand the problems that these people face.

Responding to this situation, the Kumamoto Green Co-op has taken advantage of its own network of connections to approach those survivors, understand their needs, and provide meticulous assistance to them.

One example is a support activity being done in Minamiaso village. In some parts of the village water supply is still disrupted but survivors who have cows and fields to look after can’t leave their houses. The Kumamoto Green Co-op has been supplying water necessary for daily life and a tank of water for agricultural purposes to those survivors.
JEN is lending a delivery truck to the Kumamoto Green Co-op so that it can deliver aid more quickly to further parts of the area.
【A delivery truck carrying water necessary for daily life in a water-outage area.】

JEN’s support activities also include efforts to wash off volcanic ash with high-pressure sprayers in Miyaji district, Aso city, which was covered with volcanic ash from the nearby volcano which erupted last November.
【Washing off volcanic ash in Aso city】
JEN will continue helping the earthquake survivors to restore their lives.

November 17, 2016 in Kumamoto |

The Establishment of an Agricultural Cooperative

In the current JEN project in Sri Lanka, in addition to promoting agriculture in the construction of wells, we have established an agricultural co-operative association for all members of the community.

The agricultural co-operative introduced at this time is in four of the districts JEN supports. The co-operative’s aim is to revitalize these districts and improve their capacity for self-help by strengthening the cooperation among residents through processing and selling agricultural crops.

The agricultural co-operative is under the jurisdiction of the county co-operative management and agricultural bureau. In order to be an official agricultural cooperative, the numbers of union members.
In addition to the asset management ability of the administration, and the periodic holding of all-member meetings is assessed. Because of this JEN held a workshop last week to strengthen the management ability of agricultural cooperatives in
Kilinochchi District and Mullaitivu District.

[Participants of the agricultural cooperative management workshop held in Kilinochchi District]

At the workshop, an instructor was brought in from the Cooperative Union Management Division to lecture about the process and terms of registering agricultural cooperatives.

After that, a member of JEN staff discussed rules, how to take the minutes, and how to keep accounts. Besides classroom lectures, participants visited a successful agricultural co-operative in another district and held a meeting to hear about their experiences.

[People from various districts attended the workshop and discussed agricultural

The biggest challenge for a newly established agricultural co-operative is to maintain activities like selling and processing goods until they yield a profit. Many members often give up if they cannot turn a profit instantly, a common problem among all agricultural co-operatives.

To profit it is first necessary to make steady improvements in processing items and improving quality of goods.
 Therefore, at the workshop, the co-operative discussed sustainable management: how to maintain activities and how to keep up the motivation of members when they are faced with problems like this.

When we asked members of the co-operative for ideas on product development, unique suggestions like coffee and spice production, in addition to wheat flour and rice flour, were addressed. Our next step in the plan involves granting flour mills to each agricultural co-operative.

JEN looks forward to the future activities of these co-operatives

[A tour of agricultural co-operative in Mulankavil. This cooperative was established 20 years ago, and now exports dry fruits]

[Participants were divided into each district and bounced ideas off each other]

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

November 17, 2016 in Sri Lanka |


Distributing farm animals at Aka Khel, Bara, Khyber Agency

[The 4
th meeting for cattle distribution by JEN]

The residents of Aka Khel, Bara, Khyber Agency had conducted cattle-breeding before evacuating to other areas. In particular, the Achi species were the most suitable cattle to the weather and geological features of this area.

However, there wasn’t any organization who would support people by distributing lost farm animals, especially cattle, because of the dispute, even after people were back to Bara. Therefore, JEN has started distributing cattle to the most vulnerable groups, such as families whose householders are above 60 years old, handicapped people, women and orphans. 

All of those who received cattle and the elders of the village said in a breath that they didn’t expect to be able to receive cattle. Even though cattle play an important role on improving their livelihoods, no one expected to be given valuable cattle.

[A borrowed car to take distributed cattle to his village]

Cattle are quarantined for 7 days before being distributed to people. During this period, officers of the livestock bureau gave vaccination to cattle to protect them against various illnesses. After 7 days, healthy cattle without any doubt of illness were given to people along with vanda (foodstuff for alimentation) and anthelmintic.

The elders of the community said that the distribution of cattle is a big help for those who are in a vulnerable situation. People who received cattle now can get milk by themselves. This is an important source of nutrition especially for children.

Moreover, it makes a substantial contribution to save food expenses  such as on milk, yoghurt, butter, etc..

This support aims to improve people’s livelihood through cattle-breeding, which is their original occupation (livelihood). In addition to this, JEN enhances their knowledge about management of cattle-breeding and teach them to make foodstuff by themselves without requiring much expenses, even providing them with vanda at first.

We will proceed with selective breeding by artificial insemination and conduct vaccination and extermination of parasites to support people and protect the health of farm animals. Also by distributing young cattle, JEN supports to generate income by selling milk.

[Not only distributing cattle, but also explaining effective management of cattle]

November 15, 2016 in Pakistan |


Milk and its by-products: A source of livelihood for people in rural and urban areas

Milk and its by-products serve as the main source of livelihood for people in rural as well as urban areas in Pakistan. Each day, livestock farmers bring milk from rural areas to urban areas and sell it to milk shops. One such example provides a story for the area where JEN’s office is located in Peshawar city where the milk is brought from JEN’s target area in Aka-khel, Bara Khyber Agency.

Farmers bring milk to shops and markets in Peshawar and sell it there. One kilogram of milk is sold at Rs.80/kg. One farmer sells approximately 8 to 10 kg of milk from 2 cows per day. This earns around 640 to 800 rupees for a farmer in a day. A large portion of this income goes to pay for kitchen expenses of the farmer’s family.

[A big plate full of yogurt]

[Yogurt plates ready to sell on a shelf]

According to one shop owner near JEN’s office, around 550 to 600 kg of milk is purchased and sold on a daily basis from morning to evening. Half of this portion of milk is converted to milk by-products such as yogurt and butter which customers use on daily basis. It takes around one hour to deliver the milk to market from the rural area. Milk trading is not only a source of livelihood for livestock farmers and milk shop owners but also contributes to the improved food security of the market. JEN staff are working on the supply chain for the milk market to capitalize upon it and to meet its project objectives in the future.
[Selling depending upon how much customers wish to buy. The price is 250g for 30 yen]

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

November 10, 2016 in Pakistan |

Global Handwashing Day

On 15th October, Global Handwashing Day was held across the world. People in both Afghanistan and Iraq, where are supporting countries of JEN, also celebrate the day.
I met with a female student at a Global Handwashing Day event in Qalacha Girls High School. Her name is Sajida and she was in third grade.

She said, “I was not aware of the importance of handwashing before our teachers had a training for hygiene education from JEN. After that training, our teachers learned and taught us all about health and hygiene”.

She also said, “I learned from my teachers how to keep my hands clean. I also learned about the importance of nail cutting. I learned that if a person cuts her/his nail, she/he should always be healthy”.
Sajida also talked about tooth brushing.

[Sajida talks about the importance of nail cutting and handwashing]
She said, “When I learned from my teachers about hygiene, I started taking care more of my health so I am healthy now. If a student takes care of her/his health and washes her/his hands properly, she/he will never get sick. As a result, she/he can attend school every day.

Before, I did not know that handwashing has a global day that is celebrated throughout the world. However, in this year before this day arrived, our teacher said that on October 15th, we would celebrate Global Handwashing Day."

Sajida further added that when she heard about it, she was very happy.

Today, she understands that celebrating this day is also very important. If all people generally celebrate this day every year and educated people talk about the importance of handwashing, all people could be informed that handwashing is very essential for everyone, especially for those who prepare food for others.

She also said that if the elders of a family wash their hands by soap and take it importantly, their children could also adopt the habit of handwashing using soap.

[Sajida talks about health and hygiene during the celebration of Global Handwashing Day]
By, Engineer: Najibullah Khalilzai

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

November 10, 2016 in Afghanistan |


World Hand Washing day

[Learned “dump trash properly” from coloring drawings]

[Small friends was seriously listening hygiene story]

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

November 4, 2016 in Iraq |

Capacity Building Training for JEN Staff

One of the most important tools we offer to our JEN staff, who work very hard onsite and with local people everyday, is Capacity Building Training

Our office in Sri Lanka consists of staff in charge of General Affairs, Accounting, Community Support, Governmental Affairs and Engineering. These administrators work directly with the community.

They not only work to support those who have joined our projects, but also negotiate tenaciously with local government and vendors to get the equipment we need for our projects. Because of the multi-layered demands of working in our office in Sri Lanka, the staff all must be able to communicate at a high level with those around them in order to be effective.

We conducted capacity building training for JEN staff on October 27.
The purpose of this workshop was to improve negotiation and communication skill.

Group workshop on negotiation

We invited a specialized trainer to teach a workshop on Capacity Building to our project staff in order to strengthen their ability to offer community support.

Through the one-day workshop, JEN staff reflected on their strengths and weaknesses and learned team communication, negotiation skills as well as a community mobilization approach to help local people develop a sense of ownership in their community..

JEN staff enjoyed learning in a variety of ways, including games and group discussions, in addition to classroom training.

The workshops received very positive feedback:
“We had time to reflect upon our strengths and weakness. This was a good opportunity to think about how to develop our strengths further and how to support our weaknesses.”
Dilson Technical Officer.

“We have always tried to strengthen the people who join our projects, however, it is also important to train ourselves.”
Kugan Field Officer

JEN staff listening carefully during the workshop

After participating in JEN-sponsored activities, like building wells, the local people who join and support our projects need to maintain and manage them by themselves. Therefore, it is important to develop their capacity for self-leadership during the project.
To realize this, JEN staff participate in monitoring the local people, promoting agriculture, and revitalizing the community through proactive agricultural cooperation.

The workshop on Capacity Building will help community mobilization become more effective and efficient.

The certificates were provided to all participants at the end of the training

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


November 4, 2016 in Sri Lanka |