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07/31/2017

To maximize the benefits of projects

The implementation of a project has been carried out based on careful research followed by a series of discussions with stakeholders. However, one may encounter problems that one has never expected, or in reverse achieve unexpected results.

The person in charge of the project has a duty to notice these small signs and work to maximize the effects of the project in order to improve the project site.

“Monitoring” is important for this purpose. Monitoring or observing literally means to supervise a project objectively when it is being carried out. By improving or modifying the activities appropriately based on the results from monitoring the project, better results could be achieved.

On 5 July 2017, JEN held a training course based on the Project Cycle Management (PCM) method in Fukuoka. This training was held following a “Planning” course that was conducted this April. The 15 people who participated in this training were people working for JEN’s partner organizations and relevant persons focusing on single-parent household support and community building by students and young women in Tohoku.

[Listening to the comments from another group on the common problems]
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Instructor Miyoshi Takahiro (representative of PMC Tokyo) emphasized that the indicator that measures success or failure of the project must be specific. Also, he remarked that it is essential that the method should not place excessive burden to the project itself or its participants.

[Mr. Miyoshi giving advice to each partner organization]
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Moreover, it is important to ensure that the project is logically planned; otherwise the monitoring indicator chosen will be irrelevant.

Participants from JEN’s partner organizations are already carrying out project planning properly, working on monitoring and gaining positive results in their projects, but they were able to refine their processes through this training course by putting their experience to the framework of PCM.

The participants commented,

“I think monitoring is important because there are many stakeholders in the project.”
“I could organize my thoughts better than before. I want to use this immediately for the improvement of my project.”

JEN will continue to work with our partner organizations to support projects that have greater impacts.

July 31, 2017 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Listening to the voices of single parent families

This year JEN, with our partner organization, Muse Planning (contents available only in Japanese), gave help to single parents who were affected by the Kumamoto earthquake as part of our assistance activities for victims of the earthquake.


The “Single-Parent Chat and Lunch Meetings” were held in Mashiki Town and Higashi-ku, Kumamoto City in March and April, respectively. In these meetings, single parents took the time to talk to each other about their daily lives. A career counselor ran a workshop to give advice on how to get a job.

The participants really appreciated the meetings as exemplified by their comments:

“I was able to talk about my worries and anxieties and get peace of mind as I now realise that everyone is in the same boat”
“It was good that I could get to hear the stories of various people”
“My heart felt lighter when I met people who had similar problems”
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[The workshop flyer]

Average annual income of single mothers in Kumamoto City has not increased for quite some time and has been stuck at about 1.8 million yen, which is less than half the average wage of the entire Kumamoto Prefecture.

Single fathers earn 2.91 million yen, which is about 70% of the prefecture’s average (according to the Kumamoto prefecture single parent family survey). The earthquake affected areas where already earning a living was not easy.

Kumamoto Prefecture conducted a survey on single parent families in August, four months after the disaster (findings on the conditions of single parent families after Kumamoto earthquake can be found here - contents available only in Japanese).

July 31, 2017 in Kumamoto |

07/27/2017

[Emergency assistance] We have finished interviewing all the local residents that requested support.

We conducted interviews (July 12th~18th) with the local residents who were affected by the Latunapura flood.

Content of the survey: We visited homes or refuges, and got information about each family.  We wanted to know about their current living conditions and their particular situation, did they have any medical conditions, how old were they and what surviving relatives did they have.  These are very personal questions.  We also enquired as to whether they had any land to use for temporary evacuation.

In the mountainous district we visited there are not so many people but the families that do live there face difficult conditions.

Sriyawathi’s house was completely destroyed by the landslide, so currently four people are living in a tent provided by the local council office. There is only one bed, so two people sleep on the bed and other two on the floor. As it is impossible to cook inside the tent, they have created a small area with tree branches and galvanized iron to use as a kitchen.

[The picture shows life in the tent. When it rains, water flows in] 
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[The picture shows the kitchen]
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The issues of living in a tent are security and drainage. The door of the tent is zipped and impossible to lock from the inside.  So often the men have to abandon work in order to guard their female relatives and children.

Some families were given a compulsory expulsion order to leave their homes as there was a danger of a landslide. However some families had no choice but to stay in their home because they could not find alternative safe accommodation.
Susansa Kumar is living in his partially destroyed house frightened that a landslide may occur at any time. Whenever it rains, he climbs down the hill and goes to the evacuation area.

[Susansa Kumar’s damaged house. He says he climbs down the hill when it rains for fear of a landslide.]
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Even in such a situation, we saw many people trying to get their lives back to normal. JEN is speedily working with the district administration.  We will procure and distribute construction materials so that shelters can be built.

[Mud got into the house. As it occurred while they were sleeping, they escaped in a hurry.] 
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[JEN’s team listening to Sunil, a guide in the district, and the local people affected by the flood]          
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【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

July 27, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

The importance of Education on Sanitation and Disaster Preparedness

Afghanistan has many mountainous areas prone to natural disasters including earthquakes, landslides, floods, and avalanches, while measures to prevent and respond to such incidents remain insufficient.

Moreover, many people are unaware of the fact that many diseases can be prevented by the simple act of washing hands.

Therefore, JEN works with schools to educate people on disaster preparedness and health.

JEN has engaged teachers, local communities, parents of students, and government officials in Parwan Provinceto conduct activities.

This year we targeted new schools. The school management committee, comprising of local residents and school staff, joined the training so that they can educate the students on sanitation and disaster preparedness.

【Training session】
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The headmaster of General Mohammad Seddiq Girls High School said, “this training is very important. Many people had been handling livestock without knowing the importance of hand-washing that can prevent infectious diseases caused from contact with animals.”

【Headmaster of General Mohammad Seddiq Girls High School (right)】
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About the training on disaster preparedness education, Masooda Jan, teacher and member of the management committee of Mir Abdul Karim Maqool Girls High School., said, “there should be many lives saved through this kind of education”.

【Masooda Jan (left) talking with JEN staff】
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“Most people don’t have knowledge on disaster preparedness. Once an earthquake happened, the only response had been to run away. In the past, a student got injured by rushing down the stairs in the school. The teachers of this school appreciate the training opportunity that informs them of appropriate ways of response.”


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

July 27, 2017 in Afghanistan |

07/18/2017

[Emergency assistance] JEN’s activities for flood victims in the Ratnapura District

JEN provides emergency shelter assistance to residents affected by the monsoon that occurred in southern Sri Lanka in May.
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The Ratnapura District, the target area of our project, is located in the southwest part of the country. The district suffered extensive damage due to repetitive floods and landslides, killing 86 people, completely destroying 860 buildings and partially destroying 7,846.
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Most of the damaged buildings have broken roofs and walls and cracks in their foundations, so are no longer usable.
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JEN is distributing materials to families who have lost their homes and have had to move in with relatives or to evacuation centers. Using these materials families are able to build their own simple shelters in which to live until their homes are rebuilt.
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The Ratnapura District, is famous for jewelry production which is one of Sri Lanka’s major industries. Cat’s-eye and sapphire gemstones can be found in the local rivers and mountains, so people search for gemstones everywhere.
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The district is also rich in produce such as tea, rubber, rambutans and avocados which cannot be cultivated in the north.
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[A rubber tree farm]
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Whilst setting up the office JEN immediately obtained approval for the project and started a preliminary needs assessment. Because many of the affected households live deep in the mountains where access by car is not possible, JEN had to do investigations on foot.
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Once  complete, the distribution of relief goods start.
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[A building destroyed by a landslide]
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[JEN staff interviewing residents]
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[Many of the clay houses are easily damaged by floods]

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

July 18, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

07/13/2017

Mott Grass

In Pakistan, little by little people are returning to their homes following
the mop-up campaign against the armed groups. Look at the details here.

With the help of JEN’s supporters and the Japanese government JEN is working
on a livelihood improvement program, targeting the repatriated inhabitants of
FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Area) Khyber Agency.
This program focuses on breeding livestock.

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This time, we are going to talk about a useful livestock feed, “Mott grass”.

Mott grass is more nutritious than other feed crops. It can be grown continuously in impoverished soil or areas with low rainfall, and it possesses a resistance to injurious insects. Its stems and leaves are soft, so farm animals can chew the cud easily. It grows in the seasons other crops don’t, and it also prevents the erosion of highland and mountains.

One of the characteristics of Mott grass is that it can be harvested for several years once it is cultivated. The cost of feed usually takes up 75 – 80% in a dairy business, but the cost can be reduced considerably by using Mott grass.

Mott grass is great, isn’t it? It is very helpful for the people who have returned home to restart their dairy business.

【Mott grass growing luxuriantly】
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【Photo: Chopped Mott grass. Don’t they look like green onions?】
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【Photo: Cows eating Mott grass】
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July 13, 2017 in Pakistan |

The First Aid Training

The first-aid training took place in Parwan province, Afghanistan, where JEN has been in the operation for long. Hearing from the local education department that many people, including school teachers, have no idea on the first aid treatment to the injured, we held the training for 60 school teachers of 30 schools in Charikar, the provincial capital.

One of the participants was Gul Mohammad, a teacher of  an elementary school, who told us his experience a few years ago on his way to school.

“When a man took his son to school on the bicycle, the son fell off from the bike and got injured on the arms and legs. When I rushed toward them, I noticed the boy was bleeding, but neither his father or me knew what to do. One passerby tried to stop bleeding and started to cover the wounds with the mud. Apparently he hadn’t know the first aid, nor the fact that the mud is dirty.

“As quite few people in rural areas has no knowledge on the first aid, it could end up the death when you are injured and treated inappropriately. I didn’t know either how to treat the kid, believing that the only way to stop bleeding is to cover it with the mud.

“I learned a lot at this 3 day training session, everything from the role of the first responder to the medical knowledge of blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respiratory, breathing, and circulation, as well as the treatment of injuries and the shocked persons. Now I’m capable to apply a proper first aid treatment. I’m so grateful for JEN to offer us such an opportunity of training.

【Gul Mohammad, on the right】
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【how the training goes】
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July 13, 2017 in Afghanistan |

07/07/2017

The Wish of Kathira, a 10-year-old Girl

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JEN provides education support by repairing schools and ensuring a hygienic environment in Charikar, Parwan Province. One of the schools was a girls’ school where 10-year-old Kathira (photo above) studies as a third grader. She returned to her hometown with her family in 2015 after 9 years as a refugee in Iran. She could not go to school in Iran, and therefore her father tutored her.

“Before I started going to school, my life was centered on helping out with the household chores. Even when my brothers and parents told me that a new school has been built, I couldn’t imagine the fun it will bring. However, school life is a completely new world. I now have my dreams and many hopes for my future. I am proud of my school because it is the cleanest around here. Our teachers educate us about disasters, disaster prevention, and health.”

[Kathira studying hard]
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(Photo:
[Kathira recites what her teacher said. She was elected class representative]
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“Yesterday evening, my mother asked me, ‘Can I use water exposed to sunlight?’ I answered, ‘It is safe if the water was covered.’ I heard that six classrooms will be available at the school building that JEN is repairing now. With more classrooms, more children can learn. Once the new school building is completed, I want to plant lots of beautiful flowers. I wish many children around the world can go to school.”

[In front of the school building that JEN is repairing. She comes here one or two times per week and is looking forward to its completion.]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

July 7, 2017 in Afghanistan |

07/06/2017

Impressions from Sinjar, Bashiqa and Bahzani

[Sinjar]
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People’s lives in the city of Sinjar and its surroundings are like hell.
JEN was one of the first organizations that began supporting the people of Sinjar after the city was liberated from armed groups.
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When I first visited Sinjar as a staff member of JEN, the people were totally dispirited. Most of the houses and government buildings had been destroyed. To take the first step forward, we began the essential work of repairing wells in the city so that people could have access to drinking water.
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Life in the Sinjar Mountains is more difficult than in the city.  JEN has repeatedly investigated what is essential for the people living there and is providing public water storage tanks which are filled up daily from tanker trucks.
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[Water supply tanker trucks JEN has rented; JEN distributes drinking water to people taking refuge in the mountains]
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[A well being repaired in Sinjar City; installation of a water storage tank and generator]
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[Bashiqa and Bahzani]
Bashiqa and Bahzani Villages, located in eastern Mosul, had been under the armed group’s control for two years.
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JEN provides assistance to people who are returning to their  villages. Although the houses were safe, the rubble caused by the battle was piled up all over the roads so JEN carried out a road and household waste clean-up operation.
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Our activities are much appreciated by the villagers, and the number of returnees is increasing every week.
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JEN’s staff engineers discussing well administration huts, water storage tanks and water supply networks with the director of the Bashiqa Waterworks Bureau and a Nineveh waterworks engineer.
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[The director of the Bashiqa Waterworks Bureau and the Nineveh waterworks engineer have expressed appreciation to JEN]
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[A repaired well near the village of Bashiqa]
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Rebar Ali Mella
JEN Iraq
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【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

July 6, 2017 in Iraq |

Disaster mitigation and preparedness workshops has started!

As Japan has a lot of natural disasters it is not surprising to see schools conducting emergency drills or to know that families have emergency kits. But in Sri Lanka disaster preparedness measures are rare.

In the northern area, where many people live in poverty, natural disasters like droughts can seriously affect families.  With their crops ruined families lose their source of income and fall deeper into poverty.

In order to stop this cycle, JEN supports disaster mitigation and preparedness workshops.

One of these activities, was started on Jun 30, 2017.

[The venue of the work shop]
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[ Participants]
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The work shop ran as follows:

1. Self introduction by participants. Ice breaker activity.
2. Fill-in-the-blank quiz
3. Lectures
4. Learn by watching a movie
5. Summary

From the lectures the participants learned what kind of disasters they might suffer and how to protect the lives of their families and themselves from these disasters.

One person summed up the feelings of the participants “We have not been so aware of disasters. We come to know that just a bit of knowledge will help save our lives”.

Things learnt included how to get life back to normal after the disaster, how to resume farming, and how to protect crops in the case of disaster.

[ Fill-in-the-blank quiz by three groups]
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[ A lecture]
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[ Today's material]
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【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

July 6, 2017 in Sri Lanka |