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11/30/2017

Role of HMC, HEMMT, DRRMC and DRREMMT for HE and DRRE programs in schools

Before 2017, the SMCs (school management committees) were the only committees helped to be formed in schools by JEN. These committees were established with 10 members including teachers, students and community elders. All members of SMCs were briefed about their responsibilities and the aim of establishing SMCs in the meetings which were conducted from time to time. In brief, SMCs had responsibility to create a comprehensive relationship between schools and the communities and assist schools to overcome their financial and social problems. Establishing SMCs solved many of schools’ problems and created great changes in the communities but over the time, the need of subcommittees with specified duties and responsibilities was more felt. The schools also needed committees to take care of facilities and environment in terms of hygiene and sanitation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) and to monitor the relevant educational programs.

In our current project, besides SMCs, two other subcommittees and teams were also formed in schools to direct, control, monitor and evaluate hygiene education (HE) and disaster risk reduction education (DRRE) programs. In addition to these responsibilities, committees and teams are also tasked to monitor school environment.

The monitoring team and the management committee have membership of teachers, students, Directorate of Education (DoE) and Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) representatives, school’s cleaning staff and security guards of the school. These members are always present in schools and with a closer relationship, they are able to conduct a fulltime monitoring of all HE and DRRE activities. Moreover, membership of DoE and ANDMA representatives gives them authority to conduct a wider direction on HE and DRRE components in schools as well as ability to make plans for continuation of HE and DRRE and for making the school environment hygienic, safe and risk free.

[HMC of Togh Berdi Boys High School during monitoring school environment]
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Although HE and DRRE management monitoring teams and committees in the schools were established for the first time, the result was remarkable. The members of both HE and DRRE management monitoring teams and management committees were very active. They also ask for ideas of teachers and students for betterment of programs. At the end of each monitoring, JEN team and the management monitoring team of each school shared their remarks about students’ hygiene and DRR knowledge improvement and discussed if more practice was needed.

By establishing these teams and committees, significant changes were visible in knowledge and behaviors of the students on hygiene and DRR also through improvement in teachers’ teaching attitudes and methods.

[DRREMMT members of Mir Abdul Karim Maqol Boys High School are fixing fire extinguishers in the school which were distributed by JEN]
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[HMC of Togh Berdi Boys High School beautifying school environment by bringing flowers pots]
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November 30, 2017 in Afghanistan |

Sports in Bara, Khyber Agency

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.

******

With the return of displaced people to Bara, the government and humanitarian organizations started projects to restore the normal life of the people. Prior to displacement, the famous sports in Bara were cricket, hokey, volleyball and football. In particular, cricket was considered the game of the area as it was played all around Bara. After the return, people have lost the passion for cricket and other sports as they were busy with their settlement which always takes time.  Children, however, can be seen in some parts of Bara playing cricket. The schools were the first facilities for the children for promotion of sports, but after the war and long displacement, there is not much left with the schools as well in this regard.

Considering the needs and to promote sports in the area, the government has taken its first step. In November 2016, the head of Army inaugurated a sports complex in Bara Khyber Agency together with the most famous cricketer of Pakistan, Shahid Khan Afridi. The cricket stadium-cum-sports complex is named after him as Shahid Afridi Sports Complex. The complex is composed of a cricket ground, football ground, basketball ground and net practice areas. There will be one children park as well within the sports complex. One water supply plant (solar system plant) will be installed as well in the sports complex.

Although at the moment, the stadium and other facilities are not so crowded but in the future after people fully settled, they will start using it. Local people say that there is much talent in the area, however due to unavailability of resources and facilities, the talents can’t be brought forward. They are confident that with such facilities available for the people of Bara, many athletes of national and international standards will emerge. However, it’s a long journey ahead and this sports complex project is just a first step.

[Complex model]
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[Cricket net practice place]
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[football ground]
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[basketball court]
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[Solar power water tank]
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November 30, 2017 in Pakistan |

11/20/2017

A year and a half since the Kumamoto earthquakes—Challenges of agriculture and tourism in Kumamoto

Over a year and a half have passed since the Kumamoto earthquakes. Walking in the city center of Kumamoto, you may no longer find any scars of the earthquakes, but in the suburbs, local industries are still suffering from large impacts of the disaster.

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Aso City had been attracting many tourists before the earthquakes, mainly students visiting on school trips, however, after the quakes bulk cancellation of trips followed one after another. The earthquakes cut off rail and highway connections between Kumamoto and Aso Cities. Tourists visiting Aso via the only remaining mountain road are limited, and both tourism and agriculture with rice paddies, which had been providing local food and tourist attractions, remain unrecoverable.

After the earthquakes, JEN formed a partnership with Fumidas, a general incorporated association that has been fostering young persons for many years in Kumamoto, and through the joint project “ASUKUMA” we have assisted the entrepreneurship of young people who are contributing to the revitalization of the community. The participants have started up various initiatives, such as managing a community café and selling agricultural processed foods.

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The ASUKUMA project came to an end over a half year ago in March 2017. Now, “ASUKUMA II” is planned to start in order to support people who are struggling in the tourist spots where the impacts of the earthquakes are still evident. Unlike the previous ASUKUMA project that targeted individual participants from various parts of Kumamoto prefecture, ASUKUMA II will focus on Aso City and Minami Oguni Town and provide local people with help on problem-solving as groups. We would appreciate your continuous support for ASUKUMA II to create the future of Kumamoto through such initiatives as planning and pilot projects.

November 20, 2017 in Kumamoto |

11/16/2017

Tour of Gilgit-Baltistan

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.

Today I will take you for a small tour of northern areas of Pakistan, currently known as Gilgit-Baltistan.

One day, sitting with friends, bored from our highest level, hectic busy daily work routine, we decided to escape from our offices and planned a holiday trip. As we wanted to go to any peaceful area out of city life, finally after some discussion, we decided to go to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Our first destination was Hunza passing through Kaghan, Naran, Babusar top, Chillas and Gilgit. We took our route through the famous Karakoram Highway. This highway is often referred as eighth wonder of the world as being one of the highest paved roads in the world passing through Karakoram mountain range, connecting Pakistan with China. On the route, we sighted Nanga Parbat mountain (9th highest of the world), Rakaposhi (27th highest of the world). View of Rakaposhi peak at sunset was miraculous (not describable and you cannot capture what it looks like unless you go there yourself).

[Karakoram highway]
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[Rakaposhi at sunset]
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Hunza has enriched history having Altit Fort (founded in the 11th century) and Baltit fort (founded in the 8th century) along the silk route. Long time ago, Gilgit-Baltistan was divided into many small states. Among them, Hunza Kingdom was most wealthy and their rulers were called Mirs. Then we travelled towards Pak-China border and sighted the Attabad Lake formed due to massive landslide back in 2010 which blocked the flow of Hunza River, the Passu cones and the Khunjerab Pass (Pak-China Border).

The peace that we found in Hunza Valley overnight was astonishing. No noise, even we could hear sound of a river from miles away while lying on our bed at night. This is all because of no factories, no machines, no such traffic like we have in cities. Even after 15 hours of drive from Rawalpindi to Hunza, we were not feeling tired  because of such a calm atmosphere that we were enjoying there.         

BY: Samar Butt
      National Finance & Accounts Officer



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November 16, 2017 in Pakistan |

The strong bond between local people and Afghan refugees in Pakistan

Chakdara (my village) is the gateway to District Lower Dir. It lies on the north of Malakand on the north bank of the Swat River. District Lower Dir, especially Chakdara, is home to thousands of Afghan refugees when they fled war during the late 1970s. Most of the Afghan refugees were born here but are still citizen of Afghanistan. They are under the protection of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A Refugee camp has been in Chakdara since Afghans were displaced from their home land. I have lots of Afghan refugee friends from my school days. We studied and grew up together. We have participated in each other’s ceremonies for the last 40 years. The culture of our Afghan friends is almost the same as ours. Majority of the Afghan refugees are Pashtu speakers which is also the native language in my hometown. The language, clothing, food, art, music and ceremonies are same. We also have the common religion and beliefs. Even the physical appearances are the same so no one can differentiate between the afghan refugees and the local people. Lots of local males are married to Afghan women and vice versa. In short, Afghan refugees and Pashtuns in Pakistan have a strong bond and connection due to their common roots and culture.

[Local people buying vegetables from shops owned by Afghan refugees]
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As Afghan refugees don’t have many job opportunities here, most of them prefer to do their own business. They are doing every kind of business like shop keeping, hairdressers,  property dealers, and gem dealers. But the majority of the refugees are doing the business of selling vegetables, fruits and cloths. The shops of fruits and vegetables are almost completely owned by Afghan refugees. Besides that, a large number of Afghan refugees have invested hugely in the business of clothes. Apart from that large number of Afghan refugees are daily labourers.

[ Fruit business is one of the preferred businesses amongst Afghan refugees]
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The Afghan refugees in the area mix up with local people and both have been living together in peace for the last 40 years. Currently, a large number of Afghan refugees are returning to their homeland. Hopefully, they bring back the pleasant memories of their long stay in Pakistan.
Some more photos are given below:

[A view of an Afghan refugee in his shop]
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[A view of vegetable shops owned by Afghan refugees]
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Hanief Khan
Senior Programme Assistant

Note:
Pakistan is not a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees/1967 Protocol and has also not enacted any national legislation for the protection of refugees nor established procedures to determine the refugee status of persons who are seeking international protection within its territory (http://unhcrpk.org/about/asylum-system-in-pakistan/). Therefore, refugees’ life depicted in this article may differ from that in other countries.

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November 16, 2017 in Afghanistan |

Assembly of young women leaders of Tohoku!

2017.10.27-29
Twenty young women leaders, who play active role in disaster-stricken areas of Tohoku, gathered at Nansho-so, a historical house with beautiful verdant garden in Morioka, Iwate. These women carry out activities in various area, such as childcare support, learning support, and urban development, but all of them tackle with social problems of disaster-stricken areas.

【Assembly of young women leaders of Tohoku!】
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Since the East Japan Great Earthquake seriously damaged many of the municipalities of seacoast of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, more and more young people are migrating outside of these municipalities and the population is aging. On the other hand, after the Earthquake many young people who hope to help the local community came back (U-turn)  or moved in (I-turn) to disaster-stricken areas. Local young people are carrying out activities to solve local problems such as revitalization and restoration, but they are facing many challenges such as organizational management and sustaining of activity. Among them, women, especially young women, tend to struggle lonely facing many difficulties, as there is no space for them to participate in the framework of local community, or to participate in training.

“Grassroots Academy Tohoku in Iwate” is a training camp aimed to strengthen the leadership of young women leaders in their twenties or thirties so that they can actively participate in local community and gain power to express their feelings, and expand network of solidarity with local institutions and people.

The Academy was hosted by NPO Women’s’ Eye, who carry out support activities in disaster-stricken areas mainly in Minami Sanriku Cho in Miyagi prefecture.

JEN is fully supporting financing and planning of program of this event.

On the first day we held team building training in Nansho-so in Morioka, Iwate prefecture.

Through hands-on training that require team members to think hard and cooperate, participants learned important lessons that could be used in daily activities, such as to trust other members, to nurture comfortable environment by not blaming others who failed, to build equal relationship, and to set challenging goals.

【Participants wrote down lessons learned through hands-on training as wrap-up】
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Second day was about introduction of participant’s activities. We held presentation training to facilitate participant’s communication to introduce their activities and goals.
Each participants spoke from their heart, raising various challenges such as organizational management and relationship building with local communities, and discussed possible solution. It was very energetic session.

【For each activity introduction, more than three members participated as listeners, and actively raised questions.】
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On the third day, the participants visited Manmaru Mama Iwate that operates house for after birth care for mothers in Hanamaki City, and they sincerely listed to organizational structure, the challenges, and achievements.

【A look of visit to Manmaru Mama Iwate】
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Through the encounter at Grassroots Academy in Iwate, young women leaders who carry out various activities inspired each other, and were able to gain network necessary to expand their activities. We hope further success to the young women leaders empowered by this training camp!

【Group photograph in Nansho-so】
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Photograph provided by: NGO Women’s Eye

November 16, 2017 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/09/2017

Counter-Drought Agriculture: vol.4

The cultivation of fields conventionally starts in October in the northern part of Suri Lanka.
But in recent years, there are little rains till October, and the shortage of water threatens to delay the launch of rice farming, the major industry in this country.

That is why JEN has distributed the seed of drought-resistant crops such as peppers to the farmers, as well as the drip irrigation materials so that they can produce other products than rice and make a living with what little water they have.

As for peppers, for example, there’re various kinds such as the non-GM, the indigenous, the hybrids, and so on. And each one of them is graded by the quality. The highly graded ones are produced under the collective control of the Suri Lankan government.

Those peppers grow about in 3 months, and farmers can get income by selling them without any intermediation.

【Staff packaging the crops.】
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【Distribution ceremony】
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【Seminar of drip irrigation】
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【Installment of irrigation】
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Longing for the arrival of rainy season, the farmers are busy in cultivating the filed.

(We heard that it has started raining since the end of October, and now they’re working hard planting the drought-resistant crops and preparing the rice patches.)


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November 9, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

Water saving agriculture 4

In October, farmers start cultivation in Sri Lanka.
However, paddy which makes highest income is not able to cultivate due to water scarcity and no raining in October.

JEN distributes seeds suitable for drought and drip irrigation equipment as these might help to generate income without paddy in drought season.

Chill has many types: original, hybrid and modified and several grades. High grade seeds are management of production by the government.

It will harvest after 3 months and will generate income directly.

[Packing seeds by JEN’s staff]
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[Distribution of seeds]
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[Explained by the company regarding drip irrigation equipment]
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[Beneficiaries set up the drip irrigation equipment]
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Currently, farmers wish it will start rainy season and cultivate their field.

(It seems rainy season started in the end of October. So that paddy field has spread around the farming location as well as other crops which are against drought.



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November 9, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

11/02/2017

Cattle Market Sarband Peshawar

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.

Livestock is primary source of livelihood for many people across rural areas in KP and FATA. For the reason, weekly cattle markets take place in these areas. These provide business opportunities to farmers to sell their livestock. According to the administrators of Sarband cattle market, before dislocation of masses this cattle market used to be held in BARA Khyber agency. However this was shifted to a location called Sarband located at the entrance of Bara Khyber Agency.

Huge numbers of small and large ruminants are sold out on every Thursday at this location. Before dislocation, BARA market was generating high-income for local communities. This location is relatively safe so the business volume has increased over the time. Farmers bring many different types of animals to the market like Friesian cow, Sahiwal cow, Achai cow, Bulkhi Sheep, Waziristani sheep, Beetal goats and damani goats.

There is an administration team from government side who takes care of the whole event. The sellers pay PKR 200-300 per large animal and PKR 50-100 per small animal as administration charges each time the they come to attend the market. Each week around 4 hundred small ruminants and 3 hundred large animals are sold in this market.

Many other people also get benefit from this market like transporters, livestock feed vendors and the local restaurants. There are two private veterinary facilitation centers located in Sarband cattle market. Livestock Farmers can avail the opportunity to consult private veterinary officers regarding vaccination, treatment and first aid for their livestock. This cattle market will serve as a potential business point for our beneficiaries in the future resulting in the development of their livelihoods.

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November 2, 2017 in Pakistan |

Measuring the impact of DRR programme through KAP survey, A case study of 2017.

For the first time JEN implemented community based Disaster Risk Reduction training in district Charikar. Women were the main targeted group for this training program.  The aim of this program is to empower communities to prepare and stand against potential hazards effectively before they turn into disasters. For this purpose, the most vulnerable parts of the city were targeted and the trainees were registered from those areas. Apart from students 600 community members were targeted in the DRR training.

As women in the area were very familiar to the disasters such as flood, earthquake etc. Good point is that in this training program, women participated very actively. They were very interested to learn how to reduce the risk of the disasters.
JEN team conducted some interviews with the community people after the training to record their views. Bibi Shirin is a 63 years old woman. As per JEN team “when I asked her about natural disasters, she answered: the disasters are from side of God and we can’t do anything to stop them. What we can do is that we should escape its not a good way to stand and see God punishment.

After the training she was very thankful to JEN and said: “I learned that I was wrong. What I learned here in this training I am going to transfer them to my family. The important lessons were what to do before, during and after an earthquake, risk assessment, firefighting and First Aid to help other if they get injured.”

[Bibi Shirin giving interview to JEN staff.]
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November 2, 2017 in Afghanistan |

Iraq’s education system (2)

In Iraq, a comprehensive education was first started after the nation was put under the rule of the United States in 2003. Accordingly, the Ministry of Education in Iraq conducted a survey, which has revealed the following facts:

* One-third of elementary schools in the country have no water supply facilities. Among them, those in the provinces of Thi Qar, Salah al-Din and Diyala are most heavily damaged.

* Over 700 elementary schools across the country have been damaged by past bombings. In particular, in the capital Baghdad more than 300 schools, accounting for one-third of the total, have been damaged from fire and over 3,000 schools destroyed.

* Elementary schools in the province of Basra are filled with students well exceeding their capacities.

* In most elementary schools there is a shortage of facilities other than ordinary classrooms such as laboratories and libraries. In addition, their education is partly dependent on private institutions due to delays in curriculum implementation as well as lack of training and availability of teachers.

Now it has been 14 years since the change of government after the Iraq War, and the nation’s education system is further deteriorating due to various reasons. The government is conducting investigations to improve this situation, and they are also required to formulate long-term plans and create and implement solutions to the problems.

JEN will continue to provide assistance in education development in Iraq.

[A training session for teachers]
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[A restored washroom]
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[Children posing for the photo]
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November 2, 2017 in Iraq |