Surkh Parsa district targeted schools SMCs Tripartite agreement with JEN
As JEN engineering team decided have mission to Surkh Parsa district for mobilization and to Share list of construction projects with District governor and DoE officer.
During our visit with DoE representative for tripartite signing they had warm welcome to us and were very happy to have JEN’s construction projects beside Hygiene education in Surkh Parsa district, they really promised us for good cooperation and coordination with JEN and call to JEN that don’t be hesitate for any kind of cooperation from their side.
We have sign tripartite with targeted school’s SMCs, we had explained JEN vision, mission and goals of JEN and they had long discussion and information sharing with JEN team and said that we have lots of school construction problems and suggested JEN to provide assistance in this regards.
They had suggestion to hire community residents as labors in JEN’s construction projects, because they are vulnerable and don’t have any other source of income, JEN team said that we discussed with construction companies to hire community residents as skill and unskilled labors to have capacity building and community contribution.
JEN team emphasized and said clearly in every SMC meeting that the land which you are provide for school building construction the location must not have conflict on land and when we completed the school building construction and handover projects to DoE after six month warranty SMC is responsible for operation and maintenance of the construction projects .
All of them appreciated JEN WASH, Non WASH and HE program in Surkh Parsa and promised that they will help and assist JEN in the term of construction activities.
【JEN team members during SMC meeting for tripartite agreement in Surkh Parsa district.】
【 SMC meeting with JEN staff for tripartite agreement in Surkh Parsa district.】
【 SMC meeting with JEN staff for Construction Company introduction and tripartite agreement in Surkh Parsa district.】
【 JEN staff while having meeting with SMC for Construction Company introduction and Tripartite.】
Eng. Shir Ali Chief Engineer / JEN-Afg
April 11, 2013 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Nowroz (New Year) in Afghanistan!
This year, the Nowroz festival holds even more significance and importance in the lives of Afghans since the United Nation’s General Assembly recognized 21 March as International Day of Nowroz.
Every year, tens of thousands of people travel to the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e Sharif to watch the elaborate ceremony in Hazrat Ali tomb.
One of the most significant symbolic traditions of Nowroz in Afghanistan is Haft Mewa “Seven Fruits”, the “seven fruits” table starts with seven dried fruits:- Raisins, Senjed (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree), Pistachios, Hazelnuts, Prunes (dry fruit of apricot), Walnuts and either Almond or another species of Plum fruit and it is like a fruit salad (fruit chat), served in the fruits’ syrup.
【7 dried fruits for Haft Mewa】
【Made Haft Mewa】
Traditionally, Afghan women celebrate Nowroz with Samanak: - it is made of wheat germ and is a special Afghan female tradition, they cook it from late in the evening until daylight and during this cooking time, the women gather around and sing Nowroz’s songs (exp: hala Nowroz raghi/ hala Nowroz amad), accompanied with special drums and dancing and no men are allowed to take part in this ceremony.
【An Afgan woman while making Samanak on Nowroz day】
【Lunch on Nowroz day】
The official speech, the president calls upon the special security guard to start the New Year (Nowroz) celebration with three shots of cannon, following the three shots then a huge flag is raise from the ground and People watch the movement carefully (if it rises hard and slowly, a bad year is predicted but if the flag is risen gently, the New Year is predicted a fortunate and happiness year) after 40 days government official come and put down the flag as it raised.
When the day’s ceremony ended, the night’s ceremonies arrive full of music and concerts, every year lots of top singers are invited by the government to travel from Europe and America to Afghanistan and sing for the New Year celebration, Not only Afghan singers are invited but groups of musicians and singers from Pakistan, India, Iran, Turkey, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are included to participate and demonstrate their culture alongside Afghan artists.
After the official ceremony, people head to a huge field for a game of Buzkashi, an ancient traditional sport where riders on horses compete over a goat or calf carcass.
March 28, 2013 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Remote Project Management
JEN Afghanistan program is remotely managed from Islamabad (Pakistan). The team in Islamabad works closely with the Afghanistan local staff to smoothly run the project and achieve desired goals and objectives.
Remote management is one of the most difficult types of managing projects. It needs several things to be taken care very seriously and can called be as keys to success. Some of the key areas of remote management are as follow;
•Online communication: In online communication we only rely on words, you can’t see one’s expressions or gestures while talking on phone or reading someone email. Therefore every member of the team should know the importance and techniques of online communication.
•Proper flow of information is one of the key points in remote project management. In remote management the information should be shared very carefully. For example a staff is sharing some information and he missed a key member to put in CC or on the other hand if there is any confidential information and a staff who should not get those information is been put in CC of an email, both these cases are unfavourable which should be given proper consideration.
•Respecting cultural and geographic difference is one of the important aspect remote management. Time difference, cultural difference and other religious and social things should be kept in mind while you are talking to someone who I not present in front of you.
•Meeting Staff face to face: Once in a while face-to face meetings are very important part of the project management. The team from the field should be called to meet with international staff, it will help them to know each other’s better and to make the field staff feel that they are of the organization and team.
•Knowing your team: Managers know the capabilities of your team member and should trust their abilities and it should be communicated to the team member that how important they are for the management and project.
•Treating all Staff Equally: Staffs in the office and on the field are assets and they should be treated equally. Every member of the team whether in office or in field have their own jobs to perform, everyone should be treated and rewarded equally according to their performance.
JEN Islamabad team is trying all possible ways to get the things more effective and efficient.
February 28, 2013 in Afghanistan | Permalink
'Faisal Mosque' — The biggest Islamic mosque in South Asia
In Islamabad, Pakistan (location of JEN office for activities in Afghanistan), resides the biggest mosque in South Asia, and the fourth biggest in the world.
Construction of the Faisal Mosque was completed in 1986, commissioned by the third King of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The temple took on his name as a tribute.
It is now recognized as a national mosque, and on days of religious activity the reading halls are packed with followers.
Footwear is removed at the entrance.
Unfortunately pictures are not allowed to be taken inside. However, at the time of our visit, 'azaan' (time dedicated to prayer) brought together a large gathering of followers.
The Faisal Mosque is built at the foot of mountainous land, with the base spanning roughly 5000m2. The reading hall can accommodate more than 10,000 people — the sheer size and aura are overwhelming. The mosque is also open to visitors of different/no religion, and is a work of art definitely worth seeing.
February 14, 2013 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Why we take Lunch together?? “Our best thoughts come from others.”
JEN staffs in Islamabad spent most of our time in office and it is very important to have social gathering beside of work to get realize that we are not machine but human being. This realization contributes more creativity to work as balance is maintained. This is an excellent opportunity to know about diverse cultures as well as diverse methods of getting work done, because most of the colleagues in offices are from diverse cultures and regions.
But in the other hand, we can say that this is a good chance to share diverse cultures and thoughts. In this way the colleagues shares ideas with their team and it’s an opportunity to know the team members more closely.
Let me share some of my experiences with having lunch together with our respectable colleagues;
The importance of having lunch time together with my co-workers is not negotiable, to me. It is probably very common for people to eat lunch with colleagues, but sometimes we forget this importance. It is especially very important when we are working in a different work culture. In our office we are 7 colleagues in total coming from different area within the country and outside of country. The know how idea is very limited during working hours we know each other only up to work related issues, which sometime cause frustration if we don’t have the opportunity to know one personally. Lunch time is an excellent opportunity for us to share our personal issues and happy movements we feel during work as well during personal lives. Similarly we take these opportunities to challenge because everybody shares their own experiences, how they tackle their own issues. Personal sharing is of utmost importance to know each other and to implement the experiences in work places as well as personal lives. We all sit together which includes superiors and subordinates, which is a good tie for the superiors to know their subordinates issues and level of completing tasks and their personal life, similarly for subordinates, they easily can understand their superiors mentality and can grab it in work. This time make us fresh in the mid of day same as like in the morning freshness,
To find that free time is hard for anyone and it may be hard for people who have kids/family to come out for any other parties we throw to talk and spend time. People do not just function based on rules; we may need a favor outside of rule book at work or outside work. The only way a colleague will be willing to help is if he or she can trust you. TRUST only develops by constant relationship building and conversation on a personal level other than work related stuff. Bottom line, we should use our lunch time (if you can) to build that relationship. I have so many good friends even today. In fact, I got my good image just because of the trust my colleague had in me and it was built by our lunch conversations.
It is very important we find some common ground to have a friendly conversation that is not related to work. Depending on the time of year, most of them follow some sports. It can be Cricket for us and Boxing for Japanese. We discuss about games within the country and outside of country, it is a good time to discuss about families unless we really don’t know each other we cannot enter to someone’s personal space directly. We respect each other views and hear only what colleagues wants to share, strictly avoid what colleagues don’t want to discuss about. We usually share ideas about sports, culture, shopping dresses, cooking, likes (dislikes) & languages and sometime Religious. Politics is debating subject, so often we discuss about it. Our topics are also on stock market sometimes, we just need to pick a common ground and talk that is interesting for all of us.
The summery of all this discussion is we all colleagues are just like friends during lunch time and it’s a good opportunity to know each other professionally as well. Your work place will be lighter if you work with friends rather than just colleagues. I had & I have very good time at my work because we all are good friends beside of good colleagues.
GOD blesses all of us!
“If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow & which will not, speak then unto people.”
January 31, 2013 in Afghanistan | Permalink
JEN is running its program remotely from Islamabad since 2007 after the security situation became bad in Afghanistan and it was difficult for International staffs to stay there due to security reasons.
All the international staffs moved to Pakistan and started to remotely manage the projects with the help of hard working Afghan colleagues in Afghanistan who are doing their best to help International colleagues to support the people in need.
So far JEN never faced any big problem by running the project from far without any presence there. We have our eyes there in shape of Afghan colleagues and thanks to the latest communication system like Internet, skype and phone by which it is easy for colleagues to work living across the borders.
International staffs in Islamabad office are in close coordination with Afghan colleagues on daily basis and receiving the updates and reports. The professionalism from both sides is working well and the way of coordination is improving day by day although we have regular personnel changes in our team.
【Afghan staffs in Isrambad】
Of course that way of communication is working but at the same time it is also important to meet with the staffs in person. Unfortunately JEN international staffs can’t visit Afghanistan but we invite our Afghan colleagues regularly to Islamabad office and discuss about the program and development. We discuss different issues on going and strategy for the future. At the same time our Afghan colleagues prepare presentations to help us more to understand the situation. It is good as the staffs from Pakistan program also present and they meet with Afghan colleagues. They learn from each other’s and know about the JEN programs of both the countries.
【Afghan staffs visit】
We hope that in the future the situation in Afghanistan would become better and international staffs will have access in Afghanistan to work there. We are working in remote which is sometimes hard for us but at least we are happy that we are contributing something to the people of Afghanistan from far.
January 17, 2013 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Local Community’s Contribution for school
The reconstitution of 81 facilities at 23 schools in Bagram, Province of Parwan and Jabul Safaj District started from last April completed on November. One of the schools, Qalai Nasro Boys Middle School in Bagram did not have any schoolhouse or any water closet before the renovation. In lieu of the school, a nearby mosque (as chantry of Isram religious) and its rest room and well were used. However, there was no desk or chair in the mosque and the students must sit on the ground to take lessons. Moreover, there were shortage problems in the number of teachers and lecture rooms; only 10 tutors assigned for 610 of the enrolled students, and some of them had to attend lecture outside because of over limit of lecture rooms.
[At beginning of construction work]
Confronted the above-mentioned situation, JEN constructed new facilities, such as 6 school rooms, 4 rest rooms and a hand-wash station with a water storage. In addition, each classroom has a blackboard, desks and chairs.
[New facilities accomplished]
After the reconstitution, the school’s steering committee started to handle facilities’ operation and maintenance. they voluntarily took further actions to improve education environment and asked local residents’ cooperation to make a external wall around the school, water channel between the school and the neighboring region, and planted flowers and trees.
[External wall made by villagers]
[Water channel, flowers and trees ]
Such a self-action by local community encouraged people to care of schools and children. Furthermore, it is prospected that operation of facilities and further approach to improve the education environment will be conducted continuously.
December 27, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Cricket in Afghanistan
In the 1990s cricket became popular amongst Afghan refugees in Peshawar/Pakistan where they playing cricket in their settlements and the Afghanistan Cricket Federation was formed there in 1995.
They continued to play cricket on their return to their home country in late 2001 and this was the year when the Afghanistan national cricket team formed and Afghanistan women national team in 2010.
[Women national team]
The Afghan team rapidly rose through the World Cricket League since early 2008 awesomely, this young team participated in the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2009, 2010 ICC World Cricket League Division One and 2010 ICC World Twenty20 where they played India and South Africa.
Afghanistan national cricket team has the world record that hasn’t lost a 4 days match yet.
The team won the ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Twenty20 Cup in 2007, 2009, and 2011, It played against top ranking teams in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2012 and the ICC World Twenty20 2012 where they played India and England and wondered the world/ it was the unbelievable dream of Afghan nation to see their national heroes play against international top ranking cricket teams which became the reality.
Cricket brought Peace, Unity, Respect, Reliance, Pleasure, Humility and Love to Afghanistan and Afghanistan national cricket team to whom the world calls Gold in Ashes!
The following are the major cricket stadiums in Afghanistan:
Ghazi Amanullah Khan International Cricket Stadium in Nangarhar Province
Qandahar International Cricket Stadium in Qandahar (under construction)
Ghazi international Stadium in Kabul
Kabul National Cricket Stadium in Kabul (under construction)
Work on the Sherzai Cricket Stadium in Jalalabad/Nangarhar a city known in Afghanistan for being the “CAPITAL of CRICKET” is continuing.
The government of Afghanistan and Cricket Board was planning to construct standard cricket grounds in all 34 provinces in next five years.
It’s mentionable that the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in the UAE named the 'home' ground of Afghanistan by this news the entire world shocked.
December 13, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Staff celebrating Birthdays at office
This is Shahid Khan, working with JEN as Program assistant for Afghanistan program in Islamabad office. Today, let me tell you about an activity being followed in JEN Islamabad office since last year, “Staff Celebrating their Birthday” at office with colleagues.
Usually, when we think of birthday the initial thought we get is cakes, balloons, gifts, party etc. But celebrating birthday at JEN Islamabad is quite different from what we have on our minds. Here, the birthdays are very simple but yet rejuvenating. The birthday boy or girl has to order a cake him/herself and receives birthday wishes from colleagues and everybody enjoy the cake with tea.
I, personally see this fifteen minutes activity as a very positive practice. It gives a chance to all staff to get out of the stress of tough work schedule by having a casual chat with colleagues and enjoying the cake. Receiving birthday wishes from everyone works as morale booster and motivation is increased. Most importantly this activity creates an opportunity of good team building informally. The celebrations often have a relaxed atmosphere, where colleagues are able to get to know one another beyond the daily work they do together. In addition, this connection helps our team to work together better in achieving projects goal.
I, think such type of activities should be encouraged at work place as it helps to connect, in networking, motivation and bringing everyone together.
November 29, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Previously in our rapid aid report, we reported about the security training that JEN does not only receive programs from outside but also within their group. Each staff is based on different background and their supporting content differs as well.
The activities of JEN are based on “what kind of aid is required in the local area” and not “what we like to aid”, so a wide view and knowledge is required to fulfill the aid. For example, other than security managing projects or gender will be an issue.
This kind of training is not only for the international staff but it can take place with the local staff. Early November in Afghanistan, in order to improve the communication and sharing information efficiently the training was done only among the local staff.
The international staff of JEN manages the supporting project of Afghanistan from Islamabad of Pakistan communicating with the local staff based on mail and telephone.
Therefore, communication skill will be vital for the program and improvement of everyone’s ability is essential.
This time, the local staff experienced in communication skill became a lecturer and performed the training by themselves. We will do our best to update the ability of the staff and organization by this kind of training to achieve a high quality aid.
November 15, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Global Hand Washing Day
In 2008, the International Year of Sanitation, October 15th was decided to be the Global Hand Washing Day to promote the correct method of washing hands. Since then, activities related to this day have taken place in Afghanistan, as well as in other countries, every year.
Many children die from diarrhea worldwide. UNICEF has reported that 42% of such diarrhea cases can be prevented by washing hands, so the habit of hand washing can help save lives of many people.
In Japan, we take washing hands for granted, and we have access to safe water everywhere. In other countries, however, there are many places where water supply itself is unavailable, or people are not familiar with sanitary habits. Such situations are causes of diarrhea. In Parwan Province, the Afghan region where JEN operates, there is very little access to safe and clean water, and correct sanitary habits have not taken root in the society. As a result, diarrhea is one of the most widespread diseases among children.
On October 15th 2012, JEN collaborated with the Department of Education, schools and the local community in Parwan Province, and held an event to promote sanitation. It took place at five schools (Zarbia High School, Abozar Ghafari High School, Jabul Siraj Girls High School, Gul Bahar No.1 Girls High School and Haji Khairudin Girls Middle School) in Siraj District, JEN’s project site.
(At Jabul Siraj Girls High School)
(At Zarbia High School)
The event was held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and participants were consisted of the head and representative staff members from the Department of Education, community leaders, school teachers and students. The aim of the event was to have the students enjoy learning sanitary facts, as well as the importance of putting them into practice, so it included activities such as songs, skits, role-plays, quizzes, and a contest featuring pictures of hand washing, which the students drew as part of their summer homework.
The program started by reciting phrases from the Koran, followed by a headmaster’s speech on the importance of sanitary habits. Students then sang a song which carries a message promoting sanitary education, written and composed by JEN staff and the schools.
(Washing hands alongside the chorus)
After the chorus, the head of the Department of Education talked about the importance of washing hands with soap, as well as the history of Global Hand Washing day. In promoting sanitary habits, students played skits prepared themselves, and did role-plays. The quiz session was full of excitement; the students had much fun competing for correct answers.
A picture contest featuring the students’ summer homework also took place, and prizes were given to the winners.
(Pictures in the contest)
At this Global Hand Washing Day event, with the students’ active participation and enjoyable learning methods, we successfully raised the their awareness to the importance of sanitation.
JEN will utilize the feedback and lessons of this first event, and aims to create an even better Global Hand Washing day event next year, so that children can be more familiar with sanitation facts, keep putting sanitary habits into practice, and improve their health conditions.
November 1, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Delivered Dream Bags to Children in Afghanistan
Following the last year, we have got Dream Bags distributed to 7,087 of 1st to 3rd year students at 27 of schools in the district of Bagram in Province of Parwan. The project of distribution of Dream Bags is now in its seventh year.
Dream Bags arrived in Afghanistan from Japan
In the district of Bagram in Province of Parwan, the offensive against the air base by anti-government armed group has still been continued in this year. The children at the surrounding area have precariously been living with putting their life at risk. Due to economic reason, it is a difficult state to buy any stationeries and any toys for a large part of the children. We would give an introduction to the scene when we have delivered grave gifts from Japanese children to them.
At Girls’ school of Bagram on 19th September, 2012
At Alawodin Shaheed Middle School on 3rd October, 2012
“I am so glad to receive a present with many of stationeries and toys. I will use it with taking good care for my study. I wish to express my thanks.”
Ms. Safia received a Dream Bag （Qalai Beland Girls high school, 3rd grade, 9 years old）
“I much appreciate for giving my daughter such a great gift. She has a profitable time with playing toys and studying with stationeries.
Qalai Bayazid Primary School Mr. Hedayatullah, his daughter received a Dream Bag (55 years old)
At Shomanzai Primary School on 4th October, 2012
The children in Afghanistan have been grateful to Japanese children for receiving Dream Bags which Japanese children packed toys and stationeries in their handcrafted bags.
October 18, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
This is Hutamura who is assigned to accounting and general affairs at the JEN office in Afghanistan. There are 11 of us including the international staff who have been called in from Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been attending the security training for 5 days in Islamabad in Pakistan. The high density training covers a large diversity of aspects such as advance preparation, escaping, responding and the rescue methods for dangerous situations. The staff have been taking this training very seriously and the public safety measures are necessary for both countries to put the projects in execution.
In their training, the case of the supply distribution project for the emergency assistance was presented. The riot at the end was a result of the distribution of food aid in the developing country. At the humanitarian aid site, in order to prevent that kind of case, we have to pay careful attention during the supply distribution, for instance, “coordinating with the leader in the community.”, also ”the relief supplies have to be kept in a safe place where the people cannot find and distributed the supplies to each other”.
I have conducted the distribution of the emergency supplies in Tohoku district since the end of March 2011. Because of my lack of experience at the emergency humanitarian aid site I only have basic knowledge and lack the proper training like above.
We also learned about the must-have portable equipment such as food, water and maps to bring to the place where the project is going on. I can easily imagine that we would cause a lot of panic if we were ever isolated by the closed road like in march 2011 when there were still many aftershocks.
Through this training, I have been keenly aware that there are still hundreds of things to learn as someone who is part of the humanitarian aid projects. Moreover, it is not hard to find more common ideas in the supporting sites both in Japan and abroad.
I am going to make use of the things I have learnt from this training so as to work on our projects even harder and thanks for the support from all of you.
October 4, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The Villagers listened to the Sermons about Hygiene from Mullahs
Since our health education training for Mullahs, Muslim clerics, which the previous report talked about, Mullahs have told the villagers about hygiene in delivering a sermon at Friday worships in the mosques, Muslim worship places.
Here are some comments on hygiene by a few of the villagers living around the mosques, who listened to the sermons.
“On Friday Mullah spent ten minutes telling us about health education, benefits of hygiene, and relation between hygiene and health before the worship. Thanks to it, we started having an interest in hygiene. Everyone said they would spread what they learned here to the people in the area.”
Samar Gul, Shepherd, from Gujar Khil Village, Bagram District
“I had already realized the importance of hygiene, because my son had given me some information on hygiene he got at school. This time Mullah told me about it at the nearby mosque, which reminded me of how important it is to take hygiene in everyday life for health. I would like to tell all of my family members and make it a rule to keep hygiene with my son.”
Hanifullah, Security guard, from Medan Minara Village, Jabul Siraj District
“I am glad that Mullah told me about health and hygiene based on the teachings of Islam.”
Anzar Gul, Farmer, from Qala Mir Village, Jabul Siraj District
“I was told about hygiene at the mosque last month. Mullah told us that it is very important to put this advice into practice and share it with our family members for all of us being healthy. Now I know five key points of hygiene: water, food, tooth brushing, keeping ourselves clean, and life environment.”
Haji Khalid, Shop staff, from Lakar Gul Bahar Village, Jabul Siraj District
It increases ripple effects throughout the community that Mullahs, who took our health education training, spread the importance and information on hygiene at the mosque in addition to school teachers, who took the same training in the same areas. We are going to continue our support for healthy life of children and people in the areas.
September 20, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Muslim Culture Glimpsed through My Business Trip
I am Megumi Fujita, in charge of Afghanistan projects in Tokyo Head Office. I have been in Islamabad Office on an extended business trip since 10 August 2012. I haven’t been here for long time yet though, I would like to write about my impression of Islamabad, the capital of Afghanistan, and its culture.
Islamabad is rich in green and nature―indeed my impression of this city has changed a lot since I have come here. You can see green everywhere, hearing birds chirp; I’ve seen woodpeckers in the office of JEN several times. In the central area of the city there are a green-abundant huge park and a few hills, where people come with their families and friends. Also Islamabad has Faisal Mosque, the biggest mosque in South Asia.
[A view of Islamabad from a hill]
[A night view of Islamabad from Monal―a restaurant on the hill. Photographed by Azmat Ali]
[A night view of Faisal Mosque during Ramadan. Photographed by Azmat Ali]
It was during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan―from 20 July to 18 August―when I arrived here. For the duration of Ramadan Muslims fast during the daytime and have meals between after sunset and before dawn. All of the restaurants except Western fast-food shops are closed during the day. In Islam, it is said experiencing fasting in Ramadan helps people know what a blessing it is to have food.
Muslims perform prayers five times a day; the Muslim staff of JEN Islamabad Office also pray at the office. Friday is a holiday in Islam, when Muslims close their shops to go to a congregational worship. There is a mosque near every market lined with a variety of shops. I realized that Islam is closely related to daily life becoming one with Muslims’ lives naturally.
I tried Mehndi, which is a tradition of Islam and Hinduism. It is to paint a pattern on the skin with paste made from Henna leaves. In Pakistan Mehndi is not only for make-up, but also people paint a pattern on the palm and the back of the hand for wedding. Also it is said Mehndi is a symbol of “happiness” and “luck”.
Paste of Henna, which is in the holder similar to a decorating tube, is squeezed in a decorative pattern. Once Henna paste is dry it is removed, then a mixture of water and sugar is sprinkled on the skin to keep the pattern longer. The pattern remains for about no less than one to two weeks, which varies from person to person. You might have dyed you hair using Henna at a hair salon in Japan, and that Henna is the exactly same as the one used for Mehndi.
[Getting Mehndi painted by a staff of JEN Islamabad]
[Drying Mehndi up]
I would like to continue to learn much about Islamic culture, its life and Muslims, and discover them in many ways through my business trip. Also I am going to report the beautiful culture, daily life and people in Pakistan, as little is known about them in Japan.
September 6, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Health Education to Mullahs
At present, JEN is working on the spread of hygienic concept and habit throughout school children’s families and surrounding community, by educating the children. Indeed through our project of last year, we were assured that the information on hygiene was spreading from the children to their parents. The project, intended for school children, has continued into this year heading for the equivalent success.
On the other hand, some parents in the area, where JEN has been operating, do not have children at school age or are not able to send their school-age children to school because of various circumstances.
So, JEN has newly started trying to provide health education to Mullahs, Muslim clerics, in addition to children, in order to familiarize more people with the knowledge and habit of good hygiene.
In Islam, Friday is a day for important congregational worship. Afghanistan is a religious Muslim country, where most people go to mosques for prayers regardless of having school children. However, only men are allowed in the mosques in this country. As Mullahs deliver a sermon before the congregational worships, we let them talk about hygiene there. Then the men, who still now have power as the head of a family, can give out the information to women and children, eventually to the entire community. That is what JEN has been aiming for.
We provided a three-day training for health education to 348 Mullahs over a period from late July to early August.
Personal hygiene is one of the teachings of Islam, which may be why the training was so lively that the Mullahs actively asked the trainer questions having a great interest in health education.
Here is some feedback from the Mullahs after the training.
“No government organizations or NGO have trained Mullahs before. We had known only the conventional hand-washing method. But this training included the more effective hand-washing technique and a method to make oral rehydration salt, which enhanced our knowledge of hygiene.” (Shinwari District, 54 years old)
“The people in my village have a quite poor knowledge of hygiene and have often suffered from diarrhoea and skin diseases. But Mullahs didn’t have enough knowledge either, so we couldn’t do anything about it. This training gave us much better information. I’ll surely tell the believers what
I learnt in this training, also ask them to tell their families for healthy life. I appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the local staff and overseas staff of JEN.” (Bagram District, 38 years old)
August 23, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
New staff in Islamabad office
My name is Humaria Wahab.
I start working in JEN from 22nd July as a Administration and Financial officer.I am glad for being part of JEN,
I am at the stage of starting my career; I did BBA (Bachelor Business Administration) from Preston University Peshawar, specialized in marketing/finance with the continuation of my private BA in IR/Sociology from Peshawar University.
After I complete my studies in Jan-2010, I start working in humanitarian area.
Since February 2010, I was working in INGO through the end of the project.. But I feel more than lucky and more than proud that now I am being a part of JEN and continue working in this area. I am very proud to join those programs of Afghanistan, and believe this project will support many Afghanis.
“I believe that when you try & struggle for something, you can get the things in the shape you want”.
Here all my colleagues are good in nature and work and want to learn many things from them.
I am hoping for the future that we will have a very good time together, and will gain the tasks in a respective way.
Thanks All-mighty who is blessing me for my goals, & for my struggles.
Thanks to my mother & sister to give me moral and financial support in a very lovely way.
July 26, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Voice of Parents of the children receiving health education
JEN is now enforcing health education program for 61,352 children of 78 schools in Bagram district and Jabul Saraj District.
Teachers, who attended JEN’s health education instruction at the beginning of this year, have started lectures to their students from May. Since then, the children have been learning knowledge and its practice at the opening of each class.
According to the hearing investigation to teachers and village people last year and the report from the education authority in Province of Parwan, the children living these districts had not received any health education and been frequently troubled by diarrhea and cholera diseases.
So now, 2 months have been passed since starting health education lecture at schools. Is there any change of knowledge, behavior or action of the children?
Today, we acquaint feedback from the parents of the children who receiving the health education.
Mr. Arif （Father of child attending Azizurahman Shaheed Boys' Middle School of Province of Parwan）
“Since one day, 5 school years of my son has started to talk about health education. He tells me about importance of safe drinkable water, pure water origin and hands wash. My son and I would like to continue to study many. I am delighted that my son teaches me like a doctor something I did not know. As it is now, whole my family is practicing these things. If the knowledge becomes widespread to each household like our case, we could see more positive effect.
I appreciate JEN enforced such health education to us.''
July 12, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Providing play equipments to girls school
In Province of Parwan, many schools does not have play equipments in the playgruound. Children going to such schools could not have enough chance to play or exercise in their school.
<Totom Dara Girls High School>
Recently we set up play equipments for three women's school in Charikar district in Province of Parwan, by courtesy of Chikuma International Exchange Association. Each of these three schools which are Lagmani women's school (900 students), Tatandra Uria Highschool (685 students), Mianshaak Women's School (511 students) used to have no equipments for playing, now have one colourful steel play equipment which is completely new.
*In Afganistan, Children go to same schools without difference of of elementary, jounior-high and highschool.
<Mian Shakh Girls Middle School>
<Laghmani Girls High School>
We would like to introduce Be be Zohra (8 years old), second grade in Lagmani Women's Highschool how she feels about the play equipment.
“Thank you for providing us new play equipments. We are playing with classmates in break time and Gym class with classmates. I really enjoy playing with this so I think I will be fit and healthy.”
June 28, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Business Trip for Islamabad
I, Reiko Ando am charged with the Afghanistan and Pakistan project at Tokyo Office.
I have gone to Islamabad for a business trip from 1st to 7th, June. I’d like to share my work there.
In JEN’s projects in Afghanistan, our Japanese international staffs have not been allowed to reside inside of Afghanistan country due to deterioration of the security situation, and they are commanding the projects remotely.
JEN has two offices in Afghanistan, at the capital Kabul and Charikar in Province of Parwan. Our local staffs are conducting project activities there.
On this occasion, we brought over 3 of local staffs to Islamabad for the meeting.
In the meeting, we have discussed future strategies of Afghanistan projects and our security measures.
While Province of Parwan where JEN are conducting the projects, have been thought to be safe relatively, we could not see any sign of restoration of the security situation.
We must make progress our project carefully.
Spreading a big map, we have seriously discussed what district and what rotation we should get access to, what transportation device is safe, and where we should have a stronghold office next year, 2013.
While our Japanese international staffs have not been allowed to visit the field site, our local staffs who have been giving us various information there, are honestly dependable.
We had lunch with them and our local staffs of Pakistan projects who have also turned out Islamabad, and ate my fill of Pakistan food at a nearby restaurant from our office.
It is necessity a close coordination among the local staffs, Japanese international staffs and head office staffs for a success of our Afghanistan projects.
Although we could not meet each other at short intervals, we will devote our maximum effort to making better help from each place and position.
June 14, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
New staff introduction
May 31, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Progress on the Construction of School Facilities
School construction work in Bagram District and Jabalussaraj District in Parwan Province we had reported before has been steadily advanced at all 23 schools. We will show you the progress situation on the construction work at some of the school facilities.
(Gulbahar Darul Hifaz School in Jabalussaraj District)
The groundbreaking ceremony was held before the start of building construction. School and government officials, local residents and local staff of JEN had attended the ceremony. All of the attendees prayed for the construction work to be completed safely. We will proceed the building construction by cooperating each other to provide a safe school environment for children as soon as possible.
Construction of 8 classrooms at Ezzat Khil School in Jabalussaraj District.
The platform is being built.
Construction of outside wall at Abozar Ghafari School in Jabalussaraj District.
Bricks are being built up one by one.
Construction of a water storage tank with hand-wash station at Gulbahar ２ Girls School in Jabalussaraj District.
The pipes come out from both sides of the brick walls will be the water outlet for children to wash their hands.
Renovation work of the existing school building at the Bagram Girls School in Bagram District.
Repaint work is being done at the wall.
Well Drilling at the Bagram Girls School in Bagram District.
Since there is no water facility, children were carrying water from canals and villages in suburban areas. By digging a well, clean and safe water will be secured immediately.
Construction of bathroom at Naseri Girls School in Bagram District.
Environmentally friendly ecological sanitation bathroom has been built this year again.
May 17, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
On the First Trip to the Field Site
Today I would like to tell about transportation to the field site.
Our project for this year have just started this February. On the other hand, we are going to start preliminary research for 2013 program from this June. The future program will take place in two districts which are about 85 kilometers away from province capital Charika. Between these two districts, other two districts are located. On these districts in between, anti-government forces are still armed and active.
Truck burned by anti-government forces is left on the road.
When we travel through these areas, we are usually given referral from the government in advance, so we can go through government's checkpoint smoothly. We also contact other organization operating in the same district to get safety information around the place. It is very important for us to work together with police, government and other aid organizations beforehand, especially in the first field trip like this time, and this country where we can find no detailed road map.
We had a field trip for the first time on this March and we had passed through all six checkpoints with no trouble. JEN staff brought letter from province mayor, and also letter that is saying that the car should not used for transportation of other passengers besides JEN staff. This letter is essential for staff's safety because, unlikely to Japan, people often ask drivers to share the ride. We took three hours to travel 85km to the destination, but without problem. Staff used SMS on mobile phone when they pass through the checkpoints. They used it to share information of where they are, time of departure from the field site and also to report whereabouts before they meet people.
Staff used trip meter on car to write down landmarks such as markets, bridges and distance to the checkpoint. This helped us to make a brief road map to the destination. We also made an emergency contact list. JEN will continue necessary preparation for next year's program by traveling to the field again and again.
April 26, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Construction of School Facilities began
JEN is deploying several support programs in Parwan Province now.
The biggest project is “Maintenance of School Environment and Health Education Project”. The construction of school facilities and the support for health education to teachers and students that we reported before will be conducted in parallel during one-year program term.
The school construction work began from ２ of April.
In the construction of school facilities this year, we will deploy the construction and renovation work of school buildings and classrooms, with a focus on water and hygiene facilities, to ２３ schools in need of support in Bagram District and Jabalussaraj District in Parwan Province (please refer to the map above). ７７ construction and restoration works are planned at these ２３ schools.
There are 78 schools in these two districts described above that are permitted to provide regular education by the Department of Education. The construction will be conducted in
２３ schools with the highest support needs, but health education program will be deployed at all schools.
Co-operation with education department and local residents in villages is crucial in deploying support project, so we make an agreement with the related parties case by case. Agreement with local residents is made by the school level. This year, we have concluded contract with school acting committees formed at ７８ schools.
Furthermore, local residents of the ２３ schools, Department of Education, and JEN have concluded wye agreement, aiming for smoother procedure and management of the construction works this year.
April 12, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Aiding Classroom Tents
In Afghanistan, JEN has been aiding projects other than hygiene education and school environment renovation project which was previously introduced. The other project is the supplying tents for classrooms.
The school environment renovation project mainly constructs and repairs water supply hygiene infrastructures but it is also constructs and repairs the school building and classrooms when it is necessary. During the renovation of the classroom, the children must study in the open field. Therefore, JEN decided to imply support for procurement and lending classroom tents to protect the children from the influence outside.
①The tent for the classroom:
This is the tent that has been in use. Installing classroom tent will make the children feel secure inside the classroom, under the strong sunlight, wind and snow.
②One tent is 40 square meters with a window. The capacity is approximately for 40 people.
The school environment renovation project will begin to renovate two school building of the Bagram district from this April. JEN will prepare 10 classroom tents which are necessary. This will placed in the schoolyard until the renovation will end, so that the children can study in a secure environment.
③In Islamabad, inspecting the supplier by the program officer (left) and office director (right).
After the whole construction finishes, the tent will be recovered and will be recycle when necessary.
March 29, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Interview with Jamila Teacher of Ishq Abad Girls High School
Name: Jamila S/O Mohammad Hanif
Age: 36 Years Old.
School Name: Ishq Abad Girls High School.
Started as a Teacher From: 10 years
District: Jabul Siraj.
Jamila Teacher at Ishq Abad Girls High School (at the time of our interview).
I am so thankful for the JEN Hygiene Education Training Program to teachers and through teachers to students. It is so impressive for all but especially for women as many women are also mothers. If a mother's behavior changes, their whole family's behavior will be change. In my mind the positive effects of this program will be particularly enhanced through women. In the past, my hygiene education knowledge was poor but now our knowledge hygiene is much improved. On behalf of our school teachers especially female teachers I am so happy and appreciative to the JEN staff for their attitude, smiling faces, manner, activities and hard work relating to the hygiene education training program via teachers to students.
Jamila Teacher at Ishq Abad Girls High School -group working.
Jamila Teacher of Ishq Abad Girls High School -teaching the lesson.
March 15, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Commencement of health education for teachers
It has been started that a course of health education which instructed by exparts JEN trains them. The course is intended for all of teachers from 81 schools which located in two districts of Province of Parwan, Bagram and Jabulsaraj.
The teachers attend lectures of health education for 3 days.
For classrooms, we’ve been chartering a school which is closing during winter recess
Before beginning of the class, we assessed KAP (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice) to check participants’ knowledge and habit relative to health.
Comparing to the acquirement level of knowledge and practice about health, we can find the achievement and future tasks, and we can take advantage of future activities.
KAP assessment (District of Bagram BagramBagram Bagram Air Base Boys High School
At the first day of the class, we give out health kits to the participants.
Secondly, they learn the way of hand-wash and the way of making Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) used for symptom of dehydration caused by diarrheal disease and other training program with practicing and having group discussion,
Lecture by Health education expert (District of Jabulsaraj Zarbia High School
Practice of hand-wash (District of Bagram Darul Alum Mohammadi Boys High school
Group work (District of Bagram Khwaja khesraw wali high school
On the last day of the course, we assess KAP after the course, and we award the certificate of health education course to all of participants who have attended the course throughout 3 days.
Award Certificate to Participants (District of Bagram Abdul Star Shaheed High School
The health education course has been completed at 48 schools at district of Bagram and 15 schools at district of Jabulsaraj.
March 1, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
We held a general meeting with a health education specialist
Like last year, in 2012, we will work towards improving health education, the water supply and health facilities, and the schools in two districts, Bagram and Jaburusaraji of Parwan Province.
The goal for health education is to disseminate knowledge from health education specialists with the Ministry of Education to newly trained heath education trainers, who will then educate instructors, who in turn will educate the students, so that the knowledge will proliferate through the families and consequently the entire community.
Last month in JEN’s Charika office, we held a meeting with a health education specialist/trainer about health education for this fiscal year.
(Picture: A JEN field officer explains about the overall health education projects for this fiscal year)
(Picture: A health education specialist shares his thoughts)
In the meeting, 14 health education specialists and trainers, who were in charge of JEN’s health education training in 2010 and 2011 participated, demonstrating again a lot of enthusiasm for the project this year.
(Picture: 14 health education specialists and trainers participated in a preparatory meeting about the way health education training should be run)
Currently, the Ministry health education specialists and trainers are holding health education training for teachers. We will introduce them next time.
February 16, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
A message from JEN's new staff member
We would like to welcome our new member of our staff, Naeem Khan, the general affairs and accounting assistant.
At this time, I am honored that I can introduce myself as a new employee for JEN.
From the influence of my parents and my alma mater, University of Malakand in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, I have wanted to be involved in humanitarian aid from when I was a student. I was appointed as a representative for a student welfare organization called WIFT (Society for Welfare Interaction and Tours) by my professors.
This organization is non-government and non-profit organization that supports students who need various types of aid like financial aid, moral aid, and etc. and has even been historically promoted as a model for the university by the vice president of the university.
After getting a bachelor’s degree in business management from the university, I worked at a private company in the personnel department and learned about human affairs and general affairs. While working, I continued my studies and after 2 years I completed my masters course in human resource management.
With the 3 years and 8 months of experience working at the company and the master’s degree that I obtained, I developed self-confidence and achieved my long-held dream and to be hired to work for an international NGO. Throughout the year that it took to complete the objectives for our projects, I was able to learn even a lot more by working together with the international staff.
I feel very fortunate to work for the Afghanistan projects in JEN’s Islamabad office and to have the opportunity to work for humanitarian aid again.
All the members of the team are very cooperative and the way they work ambitiously towards a common goal is very professional. I have also realized that the development in my career has allowed me to grow as an individual.
This type of environment works in a positive way as we work to support the people in Afghanistan, who have lived a difficult life for a long time.
The local staff in Afghanistan are also respected and cooperative and they work ambitiously towards a goal.
My goal is to take initiative and to work professionally in an organization like JEN, which provides humanitarian aid to people who really need it.
I am grateful to my parents and my professors who have guided me thus far.
February 2, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The ripple effect of the hygiene education program
As we introduced in this report previously, according to the education program performed last year among the 42 schools in the Salang District and the Sayed Khel district, it was quite for sure that the knowledge and hygiene habits among the children become stable who learned about it.
Additionally, after the survey, we were able to confirm that the children are having a healthy life than before.
This is the hygiene education program class of the fiscal year of 2011.
Then, do you think the family benefit from their children who received this education?
JEN surveyed each family and checked whether the message regarding hygiene has been delivered from the children who learned about hygiene, and therefore surveyed whether these educations are practiced among individual families.
This will be the introduction of this survey.
At Salang District, Heshmatullah)who has a child going at Bagh-e-Lala Middle School.
“I personally and our family became aware of hygiene. Our family learned to keep the clean environment of the home. “ He told us.
At Sayed Khel District, Abdul Khalil who has a child going at the Emam-e-Azam No-2 Middle School.
“Do you think washing your hands with soap is important?” asked the field officer of JEN.
“Yes, keeping your hands will keep your health.”
In their home, soap is being prepared and hand washing seems to be a habit already.
In Salang district, there are a lot of mountains and even in the noon it is below freezing point. Reaching there was also tough.
At Salang district, Allah Dad who has a child going to Haji Abdul Hakim Middle School.
He mentioned that “Among our family, especially the children wash their hands frequently. They even brush their teeth. This kind of hygiene education program is very efficient, not only for our family but for the community as well.”
We performed personal visits and surveyed 3 families from the 42 schools which ended to count 126 families where we were able to confirm the ripple effect of the hygiene education.
We asked “Who provided the information about hygiene?” and 96% of the response to the question was “The children.” When we asked “What did you use to wash your hands?” The response to this question was 88% used soap.[
Additionally, when we question “During this 2 weeks, did you or your children had diarrhea?” No one had it was their response. Their mind towards diarrhea and to keep their environment clean has improved.
We wish that people can consistently practice the message received form the hygiene educational project and hope it can be spread to the other people in the community and hope that more people can have a safer life.
January 19, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Until the construction is complete
Until the construction is complete
Last year we again safely completed all our planned construction projects. JEN has restored and constructed 14 schoool facilities last year in the Saran and Saidoheru district and the number of construction sites has risen to 45.
(Picture: The external wall)
(Picture: Hand-wash station)
For security reasons, the international team that oversees activities in Afghanistan has been unable to reside in country. For this reason, the international staff have been administering the progress of construction and working entirely out of Islamabad in Pakistan.
The construction itself has been delegated to a local construction company, but the local Afghani JEN staff make daily trips to the construction site and report on the progress of construction to the Pakistan based international staff.
In addition, the local staff share pictures taken at the site the Islamabad office so the international staff can visually monitor the status of the site.
Pictures are taken from the same angle so we can get precise information about the progress of the construction.
For example, this is what the construction of the classrooms of Chenaki Boy’s School looked like.
Foundations were laid during the 1st week.
In the 2nd and 3rd week, bricks were laid. In the 4th week, the roof was completed.
Window frames were added in the 5th week and in the 6th week, painting was finished and the school was completed.
With this type of effort, we have completed constracution of all 45 sites planned last year.
To complete the construction on time and allow the children to study in a comfortable environment, requires cooperation of local and international staff to drive projects forward.
This year we will continue with more projects so that we can give our support to as many children as we can.
January 5, 2012 in Afghanistan | Permalink
JEN staff meeting
From December 11, 2011, we had a 2-day staff meeting in Islamabad Office. Five local staff who are working in various parts of Afghanistan gathered together to review the projects for FY2011 and also discussed about the projects for next fiscal year.
In the same period, 6 local staff from Pakistan had also come from Dera Ismail Khan and the local staff from the two countries found the 2-day meeting mutually-stimulating.
After the meeting, all of the staff members enjoyed Pakistani dinner together.
Then, after the dinner, the staff members presented the projects implemented in each country. These presentations not only allowed JEN representatives in Islamabad office to understand the local situation more deeply but also promoted the local staffs from Afghanistan and Pakistan to understand each other.
The information of effective case examples shared in this meeting will be useful for the local staff in each country to improve their support activities.
All of our activities in Afghanistan or other countries are supported by JEN’s supporters. I would like to express our gratitude on behalf of all the staff members.
Finally, I would like to share with you the thank-you messages from the local staff of Afghanistan.
December 15, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Result of KAP survey for hygiene education project
As part of the hygiene education project in Parwan Province, JEN has supported the provision of a 6-month hygiene education course in 42 schools in Sayd Khel District and Salang District.
Before starting the course, we conducted a survey to find out about the students’ knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP survey) related to hygiene. The schools selected for this survey had never received any hygiene education from the Department of Education or other aid agencies.
“Please give hygiene education to the children.” This was a strong request we had received from the school teachers, village chiefs, and parents, when we visited the villages and interviewed the people to explore their needs.
It was revealed from the survey result that approximately 75% of the students did not have sanitation knowledge or hygienic habit. Most of the children did not know the correct methods to wash the hands, cut the nails, or brush the teeth, etc. They did not have the habit of looking after the personal hygiene on a daily basis. Unhygienic lifestyle was one of the reasons for high prevalence of diarrhea and cholera, which were serious health problems for the village children. Therefore, JEN decided to provide the support in order to improve the sanitation for the children.
The project not only targets the school children but also includes the school teachers and the government officials of Parwan Province. By March this year, hygiene education specialists from the Department of Education had trained 14 government officials as hygiene education trainers. In the same period, these hygiene education trainers gave a 3-day training workshop to all of the teachers in the 42 schools, a total of approximately 720 school teachers.
After acquiring the correct knowledge of hygiene, the school teachers gave hygiene education classes to their students according to JEN’s curriculum, from mid-May until the start of the winter examination in mid-November.
From May through June, hygiene kits containing soaps and toothbrushes were distributed to approximately 22,000 students in the target schools. The kit contained the basic sanitary items and allowed the children to actually use them both at school and at home as they gained the knowledge through hygiene education classes.
At the end of each month, from June to October, the officials of Parwan Department of Education, school management committee (established by JEN), and JEN staff monitored the children’s knowledge and practice and discussed the achievements together with the school management. This continuous effort to confirm the hygiene status and improve the teaching methods has helped the children to gradually acquire the correct hygiene habits.
Finally in mid-November, we conducted another KAP survey with the students in 42 schools. This time, after the implementation of the project, the percentage of children without hygiene habit/ knowledge became 0%. Approximately 85% of the students had successfully acquired the knowledge and habits related to hygiene and the remaining 15% of the students also had the basic level of knowledge and habits.
December 1, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
School opening ceremony in Salang District
n October 31, 2011, an opening ceremony was held at two of the schools constructed by JEN in Salang District: Ahangaran Junior High School and Darul Hefaz Salang School.
The ceremonies were hosted by the Department of Education of Parwan Province and were attended not only by the officials of the Department of Education but also the members of JEN’s staff.
For Ahangaran Junior High School, JEN supported the construction of 3 classrooms, external walls, and the pipeline connecting the river and the water tank.
(Ahangaran Junior High School)
The school officials, who had been watching the children study in conditions which were far from safe, welcomed the completion of construction works and were very happy that the children’s studying environment had improved.
The officials of the Department of Education are cutting the tape with a smile
(Ahangaran Junior High School)
For Darul Hefaz Salang School, JEN supported the construction of 6 classrooms, 6 toilets, external walls, the pipeline, and the water tank.
Completed school building
(Darul Hefaz Salang School)
JEN’s Project Manager giving a speech at the opening ceremony
(Darul Hefaz Salang School)
Approximately 200 students study at this school but there were insufficient numbers of classrooms and toilets, just like Ahangaran Junior High School.
We hope that the newly constructed facilities will help the children to study in a more comfortable environment.
November 17, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
We have started to distribute “Yume Pokke (Dream Pockets)”
e have started to distribute this year’s “Yume Pokke”.
In Afghanistan, the distribution of Yume Pokke started in 2005, so this is the sixth year.
For this year, the distribution started on 18th October. Yume Pokke will be given to over 3000 children who are in grade 1 to 3 in the schools in Bagram District, Parwan Province.
Each Yume Pokke is a hand-made bag filled with stationaries, toys, and other presents from Japanese primary school/ junior high school students. The children in Bagram were delighted to receive the Yume Pokke, as it is difficult for them just to go to markets.
Let me share with you the reactions of the pupils inShafaq Shaheed High School, who recently received the Yume Pokke.
The photograph shows the happy faces of the pupils in grade 2.
Here, the pupils in grade 3 are also opening the hand-made bags.
Myriam: “Thank you very much for the gift.”
November 2, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Skill up at the security training course
For 5 days from the 2nd of Oct., there was a joint security training course for the staff of the JEN Afghanistan and Pakistan. The participants are seven from the local staffs of the managing class who plays an active supporting role in the field in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and two from the international staff who are stationed at the Islamabad office.
All staff listed above all gathered at Islamabad and took the courses at the Islamabad Police Academy.
This training course was consisted by two workshops, which was “the personal security” and “security risk management (SRM)”.
This was a program that was specialized for the local staff in Afghanistan and Pakistan who actively work at the field to respond either in emergency or daily.
We were informed about the risk that can happen during our daily life, the risk in specific in area like Afghanistan and Pakistan, the risk at dangerous zones by the two security trainers. Two security trainers informed, used videos and had group discussion in order to understand the contents.
We practiced an exercise drill by summarizing the risk in a table matrix, evaluate and manage. Other than this, there was a simulating exercise to deal with these risks in teams.
In concrete, there were practical course like how to save lives, first aid, how to use GPS, stress management, crisis management avoid danger through practical drills.
The areas where JEN is acting are mostly under risk. In that kind of circumstance, it is very important for the staff to achieve the capability to understand and deal with these various crises.
In order to precede the project we must manage the risk not to experience the training that was received.
We will continue to work smoothly on the project at Afghanistan and Pakistan for the people who need aid.
The toilets, the well and water utilities construction and the classroom and outer wall of the school is under construction in the 14 schools of Saran, Parwan.
October 20, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The additional building construction works began at schools in Parwan Province
One of the areas JEN deploys support projects, Salang District in Parwan Province, has many mountain areas. Lots of snow accumulates in mountain areas in winter and rivers in valleys swell in rainy season.
Schools located in mountain areas live with risk caused by natural disasters such as snowslide and landslides. Some of the schools that JEN provides health education and develops school facilities are located in the environment like this.
Darul Hifaz School today - water and sanitation plants and school facilities have been developed.
In areas like this, retaining walls are needed to protect schools and villages from snowslide and landslide damages.
Therefore, JEN had talked with the village people, and had carried out necessary adjustments with education authority and agricultural restoration development authority. In the result, it was decided to conduct additional construction works at ６ schools’ facilities.
Addition to classrooms, setting up of external walls, restoration of school roofs, and construction of retaining walls are included in the additional construction works.
Among these works, we will share with you the status of retaining walls construction at Darul Hifaz School andEngineer Mohammad Gull-i-Shahid middle school in mountain areas.
Darul Hifaz School
In winter, mountains surrounding this area have a heavy snow accumulation. The construction of retaining walls began to protect the area from snowslide.
Engineer Mohammad Gull-i-Shahid middle school
We will proceed the construction work to protect schools and villages from snowslide and landslide damages, and to provide children a safe environment for study.
October 6, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
School Construction is on going
Presently, among the 14 schools of Parwan Saran district and Sahidhel district, the school facilities such as toilettes, wells, running water and the water supplying facilities and the classrooms, outer wall of school facilities are now being constructed.
The children at these schools had to study under these terrible conditions without outer walls, no toilet and no running water.
The facility of the school was not repaired and was left over for a long while.
In order to set up new facilities, JEN has begun their construction from May 2011. After 4 months, we would like to introduce that we are close to a new safe environment.
Ahangaran Junior High School
During the expanding the new classroom; increasing three classrooms will provide a comfortable environment to study.
Chenaki Boys High School
With the outer wall being constructed, it has changed to a secure studying environment being protected from the outside.
Hajan Junior High School
Water supplying system has been attached, so the pupils can wash their hands.
Haibat Khil Girls High School
The toilettes and wells have been set up safely.
The hygiene environment has improved and made school life comfortable and feel secure to study.
Still negotiating with the school, village and government authorities, we are continuing the construction so that the children can study in a secure environment.
September 22, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The follow up of the hygiene education project: voice from the children
JEN began to visit the pupils of the each school of 42 schools every month since they distributed the hygiene kit on May and June, to confirm whether their achieved hygiene knowledge correctly. Not only JEN distributed but also feedback whether they understand why they need it and know they are able to use it properly.
According to the monitoring team of JEN, it has been reported that the children understand the basic knowledge of hygiene and are practicing as well which makes us happy. For the staff of JEN, it is very delighted to learn that the children understanding hygiene education properly and practicing.
Today, we would like to introduce a number of comments from the children who took the courses.
Abdul Kadil Shahbid Boys Junior High School: Najibra (12 years old) (Spell needs to be confirmed)
When I heard about hygiene, I decided to take care of my heath as a good habit, spending a happy time and become a role model for other students.
Sahid Hill Girls School: Setara (10 years old) (Spell needs to be confirmed)
Listening to the hygiene lecture properly, I am practicing this every day. Hygiene kit was distributed to each pupil, I understood that all of this kit was necessary to keep us in good health.
Saframan Shahid High School: Danish (16 years old) (Spell needs to be confirmed)
Before I learned hygiene lectures, I felt that I was not always behaving correctly, but understood that hygiene lecture is to protect ourselves from disease. I enjoy practicing what I learned. I thank JEN giving us the opportunity to learn hygiene education and training with the hygiene kit.
Chenaki High School: Sharkel (14 years old) (Spell needs to be confirmed)
Until I took the hygiene education training, I did not know the right way of the cleanness of the fingernails but now I understand. Taking clean care of your fingernails include clipping and removing the dirt from your fingernails. Under the long fingernails, bacteria maybe hiding and long dirty fingernails can cause infection when you scratch your skin. JEN gave us the opportunity about hygiene education and training through the teachers. Now I know how to take care of my fingernails properly.
Monitoring by JEN will continue until the end of the year.
September 8, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Supporting Charikar Girls School
In Charikar, Parwan Province of Afghanistan, the construction of the outer wall and the construction of septic tank of the toilet finished at last. This project was supported by the International Exchange Association of Chikumagawa.
Before the construction of Baba hill Girls School, the community of the village protected the infrastructure of the school by surrounding with a wall made of mud. But it was built temporary so it is very fragile and not enough strength to rain.
There was no septic tank for the toilet, so the insanity condition was not appropriate.
Therefore, after adjustment with the local education authorities, JEN built a stiff concrete surrounding wall at the Baba Hill Girls School at Charikar city.
For this wall, the children are secured from the outside circumstance and feel safe to study. Additionally, the parents also feel secure to let their children study at school and the number of girls pupil going to school are increasing.
The toilet of the school septic tank constructed improved the water insanity and the environment of the neighbors. There is no unclean water running around beside and changed to an environment without being uncomfortable.
We would like to express our appreciation to the people who support us and we are willing to support more people in Afghanistan.
August 25, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Last week, the Islamic nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan entered Ramadan. During the Ramadan, from sunrise to sunset, dining and smoking is prohibited. It is a holy period to appreciate their daily meal.
Depending on the area, the time to fast is different and during the period, the beginning and ending differs. In Pakistan and in Afghanistan, fasting beginｓ at 3:30 AM until 7:00 PM. After the fast ends, the meal after the fast is called Iftal.
This time I will introduce what Iftal is like.
On the summit of Margara in Islamabad, there is a very popular restaurant. During Iftal, all restaurants prepare Iftal buffet and is crowded with people. There are a lot of dishes in front of the store of the market.
Families and friends all gather and share their meal. After a long time of fasting, they begin with dates and water and then move to the main dish.
The chef is very busy. He cooks the kabab one by another. The waiter is running around carrying a lot of food.
A Pakistani dish, nan and kebab are very tasty with a nice amount of spice. You appreciate your meal during your Iftal meal. It is special moment to share your meal with your family and friends with a lot of people.
Why not trying to fast your meal?
August 11, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Beginning the Survey for the Program of the Year 2012
The other day, we began surveying the needs for the next year program. This time, the field officers of JEN visited all the 33 schools in Jawarsaji district and the 44 schools of Parwan Province. This was to understand the present status and other than this, we conducted a survey by interviewing the school teachers, the villagers and the parents.
There were classrooms where the ceiling was exposed. It was an unsafe environment for the children to study. It would not be a surprise to see something falling from above, but the children are studying in that kind of unsafe environment.
In the same school, the numbers of classes are insufficient for the number of pupils, so some of them had to study outside.
There are classrooms without walls.
The environment for the toilet is not that good either. There are no doors and no hand washing places nearby. There are water faucets but no running water, filled with trash and not ready to wash hands.
For the year 2012, JEN is planning to support the maintenance of the water hygiene environment and the education program based on the survey Parwan Province
Also, there are a number of schools that these unclean springs and streams become the only water source.
July 28, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
What the Pupil of Aminu Rahman Girls School Learned About Hygiene Knowledge
At Aminu Rahman Girls School, the education program for hygiene to the teacher who had been schooled in advance by JEN has been very effective to the pupils which are practical education.
The pupils demonstrated their basic hygiene knowledge what they have learned to the monitors of JEN.
This is how the pupils are demonstrating hand washing.
Washing hands correctly is the most efficient way to prevent various infectious diseases and to protect yourself.
Washing hands not only prevents diseases but also reduces the risk to spread disease to other people. If you contact people without washing hands, it can spread the bacteria and cause infectious disease. Without washing hands and touch the door knobs or the keyboard that you share with others, it can also spread the diseases from the bacteria that are attached.
This is one of the pupil how she is clipping her fingernail. She said “we were glad to learn about hygiene education from JEN. We learned the details from our teacher.”
This is how they are brushing their teeth. The pupil who attended named Samia Jan said “shining and clean teeth with healthy teeth and gum will keep your heart and body in the best condition. If your friends don’t step back when you talk, brushing your teeth three times a day is ‘must’. Brushing teeth also can keep your breath clean”.
July 14, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
This is how school is being constructed
This is how the workers are constructing the stone construction of the wall around the water tank at Hajan Middle School in Saran district. They are mixing mortal to coat it on the stone.
Next, the expert workers are laying the brick up to 1.4 meters as in the design.
Here, at Hajan Middle School, this is how the toilet which is one of the hygiene facilities is being constructed. It is made of stone and aligning the wall height equivalent.
JEN’s engineer, Ajumar Paktiwal; He is testing the ready mixed concrete slump. He has confirmed that this concrete is optimal for this construction.
The ready mixed concrete is for Engineer Mummad Shaheed Middle School to add new classrooms. The workers are working on the compaction work of the concrete. They are vibrating the concrete to remove air bubbles, which gives certain strength.
This is the task of curing concrete. After this process, the strength of concrete, durability and shape is retained. JEN is conducting this kind of construction daily so that the children of Afghanistan can spend a safe and confortable school environment.
June 30, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The remote office of Afghanistan project of JEN’s Islamabad office has moved to a new office. Surprising, there were bananas in the garden.
Intensively, hot days around 40 degrees continued and we recognized that the bananas in the garden were large. It was time for harvest.
Uncle Yakub, the driver for JEN, was always aware of this banana and it was just the right time to cut it off.
Uncle Yakub was very satisfied with his big harvest.
Immediately, we tasted the banana!
(Incidentally, what is behind the staff is that he began a small gardening to grow tomatoes, okuras, cucumbers etc. without herbicides. He looks forward for this harvest as well. )
It was still bitter but it was very delicious!
From the left: Ushikubo Kamata (general and treasure affairs) Shinya Kamata (program officer) Azumat Ali Shar(Office director) Araki Naoko (Program officer & photographer)
June 16, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Distributing Hygiene Kit at School!
Presently, JEN is distributing a set of hygiene kits at schools of Saran area and Sahid area. Inside the kit are soap, fingernail cutter, hand towel, bathroom tissue, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap container. Other than this, each school are distributed an emergency kit with a garbage box for each class.
Today a whole set is being distributed at Sahidhel area GURU-AKU-SHAHID school and this is how it is distributed.
Small children are also waiting in line to receive it.
With the little bit grown boys.
The elder were also handed.
The girls with the kit, they are a bit nervous in front of the camera.
The boys in line are with the kit posing.
A kit is handed over to each child hand to hand.
This is how we were able to hand the whole kit to all 792 pupils with no problem.
June 2, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Introducing a new staff Falhadu
My name is Farhadu Fatowat. I was born in 1984, grew up in Province of Herat in Afghanistan. In the year 2002, I graduated from Sultan Geyasdin Gori High School and received a bachelor degree in civil engineering from Herat University in 2006.
One day, I heard about the activities of JEN. Since then, I became enthusiastic to work with this kind of organization. Fortunately, I was able to work at JEN’s Charikar office from March 30th 2011 as a civil engineer.
After the thirty year conflict in Afghanistan, this conflict destroyed the economy, society, health, education, agriculture and infrastructure in many aspects. Now it is time to fulfill the vacancy. My dream is to reconstruct Afghanistan and so that the country can stand up by itself which is the dream of the whole people. We desire that in all aspects that the country will recover.
The people in Afghanistan are willing for peace and stability, and the total recovery will cover the whole country. I hope to help their wish come true and to work sincerely for the people.
Civil Engineer Falhadu Fatwat
May 19, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
My name is Hamihdura Hamid.
I was born in the refugee camp in Pakistan and grew up there. After graduating high school in Pakistan, I decided to continue my study at the university in Afghanistan and moved to Afghanistan. In the year 2008, my family moved. After I received my bachelor degree in agriculture at the University of Afghanistan NANGARHAL, I received my MBA majoring personnel at ARAMA- IKBAR open university. After 2008, I have been working on reforming the community.
I learned that JEN has been very helpful supporting the refugee in Afghanistan in so many aspects, which was very touching. Fortunately, I was able to get a position at JEN as a program field officer.
The work at JEN will not only provide us an opportunity to work hard but also contributing to the next generation for creating a bright future and make us feel the passion. I believe that hard working is a factor that credits a bright future for the next generation.
We Afghanistani’s love freedom, nature and harmonization. For us, the sky is a bed, the moon is a lamp, the mountain is a house and snow is a blanket. We listen to the music of the breeze and live in a homeland like heaven. Now it is time that we become all for one, for the people of the world and for the sanctuary of nature, all work together for Afghanistan.
Field Officer: Hamidura
April 28, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Introducing a new staff （Part 2）
April the 4th, I arrived at JEN’s office located in Islamabad Pakistan. I will be in charge for the Afghanistan project from the remote office.
During my college life I was addicted to music; therefore I was in music business before joining JEN. I had nothing inconvenient in my life, but one moment, I began to question my life. Am I able to help someone? Just that kind of time, I happened to know JEN and I became a member from August 2010.
When I joined JEN, it was just after the big flood in Pakistan, and I was assigned as the responsible person from headquarter of the Pakistan Project. On the meantime, I learned about Pakistan and wanted to visit the country.
My wish came true and I am now in Pakistan. From now on, as the appointee of the Afghanistan Project, with a mental restart, I will do my best. I hope for your support to help those who need aid
Afghanistan Program Assignee, Program Officer, Shinya Kamata
April 21, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
New staff introduction
Since February, I have been assigned to a program officer in Foreign Division.
I have been taking care of Afghanistan program at head office in Tokyo.
I had formerly been involved with importing shoes at private business company before I join this team.
It is big change of direction for me, but I before did international volunteer work in an African country, Zambia.
It is first experience for working at NGO, I will give it everything I have got.
Afghanistan Foreign Division
Program Officer / Tetsuo Kimura
March 31, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
A Message from JEN's team in Afghanistan
We have received a warm message from our team in Afghanistan.
This message is dedicating to the People whom JEN supports.
* * * * * * * * *
Dear All respected member of JEN.
As we had got the information of powerful earthquake struck Japan on 9th March 2011 and case big damage and more than 2000 Japanese die.
We are sorry for that this is not just defect for the Japanese people, this is also defect for us as a humane and we are shear with our friends Japan people in this disaster.
The same shearing of defect has been announced by the governor of Parwan (*) and he remembered about the cooperation of Japanese with Afghans so, the people of Parwan and Afghanistan are hoping the best way of the safeness of the humane around the world.
So, we hope the humane safety everywhere especially for the people of Tohoku in Japan.
Some of the staff from Charikar(*) and Kabul are ready to send same amount as a help for the people of Tohoku as their parts of humanitarian.
From all JEN staff in Afghanistan.
People of Afghanistan and especially people of Parwan.
* * * * * * * * *
(*) JEN's projects are being implemented in Charikar district, Parwan province since 2002.
More information about the program in Afghanistan, Click here.
Donation by credit card is possible via our English website:
March 25, 2011 in Afghanistan, Tohoku Earthquake | Permalink
Self-introduction of a staff and the topic about agriculture in Afghanistan
I am Jumadar. I was born in Jalalabad in １９５８, and graduated from Chaparhar High School in １９７７. I graduated from university in １９８２, and since then I worked ２９years as an engineer at various companies. I have been working at JEN’s Afghanistan Parwan office since February ２０, ２０１１.
The status of farmers in Afghanistan
An old-fashioned farming method remains in Afghan agriculture. Afghan farmers don’t know what type of land is suitable for agriculture. They also don’t have enough knowledge on what kind of water is suitable for irrigation or which season is best for each plant or vegetable. Besides, they don’t know much about nutrient composition of soil of each land and what type of crop species is suitable for that. They are not sure about seed planting depth, when to water, or how many seeds to plant on ２０００ square meter land.
However, agricultural sector is growing day by day with domestic and international support. Our hope is that agriculture in Afghanistan will be developed by better system and experts in near future.
March 17, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Developing Human Resources for Hygiene Education
I would like to report about the program of improving the environment of the school and hygiene education.
Not only hygiene knowledge but staff with technical knowledge are lacking in Afghanistan, so we must begin from the scratch; educating people.
JEN first discussed with the officer at ministry of Healthcare in of the region and selected two experts of the hygiene education. 14 people were called and gave a lecture about hygiene education, to become trainers . After the training, the two experts and the new trainers became a team and conducting a workshops to instruct 710 teachers of 42 schools in Parwan.
At the workshop, teachers learned the basic knowledge such as how to wash hands with soap so that the children at school will achieve “basic hygiene knowledge and habit” which is still not yet popular in Afghanistan.
Also in Afghanistan, people do not know much how to deal with diarrhea that does not require doctors. Therefore, the recipe of an oral supplement ORS( an oral supplement solution dissolved with salt and sugar to prevent dehydration by diarrhea) was taught.
In Afghanistan, New Year begins at the end of March and after continuing the workshop until March, the new school term begins. When the new school terms starts, it is the teachers that begin to teach hygiene education. I would like to introduce the progress of of the workshop next time.
March 3, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
What you need to move
The Islamabad office which is the base of remote office in the Afghanistan project moved in this mid-January.
I have been preparing to move to the next place to make the working environment organized smooth whenever I had time. However, once you moved we recognized the reality was that there were problem with almost the entire infrastructure (such as water, electricity, gas, telephone, internet etc).
The house landlord was helpful to solve the problem one by one, but this is not Japan.
It is not unusual that the repairman does not show up mentioning that he will appear today. He once comes to check the situation telling us to return soon and end up showing the next day. Even though you purchase the whole desk set, they never deliver on the day they promised.
Now that the problem is getting settled recently at last, I then started to think that this moving situation is also an example for part of the supporting activity. To pursue this project, it requires more time than we imagined. In order to continue a better support, patience is required. Even moving your office is no exception.
It has been about a month since we moved and we are now in an environment to concentrate in our project.
In the new office, we always have bright sunshine from our large window.
February 17, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Self-introduction of the new staff
I am assigned to work for JEN’s Afghanistan project. My name is Ajmal Acciri. I graduated from Kabul Medical University and am now 30 years old.
I have been working in a number of domestic and foreign group projects.
From January of this year, I am working busy at the northern part of Parwan Prefecture on a hygiene education program conducted by JEN.
I have worked as a public health social mobilization coordinator previously. At that time, I became the leader of the“Participating Learning and Action”project and supported founding the community development project consisted by the local development project area people.
Other than that, when I was working for the Department of Agriculture Recovery, I joined the project as a health education officer in Kabul
Before beginning the project, I surveyed the knowledge and habits of the villagers in advance and afterwards performed hygiene education program based on the government regulation.
From now on, I would like to share my experience to contribute improving the hygiene condition for the people in Parwan. Thank you and I hope to keep in touch with you all.
February 3, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Challenge brought me to JEN
My name is Muhammad Shahid Hahn. I am an assistant for Admin and Finance officer in Afghanistan.
Today, I would like to introduce myself.
I was born in a small town called Tiratol Prefecture, a mountainous area of the northern part of Pakistan in 1984. During that time, my father was working in Mardan, the second largest city in KPK of Pakistan and our whole family moved here. After I went to school there until 2003, I moved to Karachi, the economic capital in Pakistan, and I got my degree in IT. It was a very special period of my life to encounter people from different back ground.
After that, I returned to Mardan, received my MBA at the local university. When I was in Mardan, studying there in 2008, the Pakistani military began striking the armed insurgents in the Northwest tribal area. Consequently, this caused thousands of families to refuge to the local capital of Peshawar or within Mardan, some families stayed with host families, and moreover some stayed at IDP (Internally displaced persons) camps.
I began supporting these people as a volunteer with my friends after the class
for the IDP. That time, I happened to meet people from local NGO in the camp, and start working for Admin and Finance assistant..
This NGO was my first experience in this field of work and became the turning point for my career. April 2010, I began to work for another group in BASHOL one of the area of FATA (Federal Administrated Tribal Areas). Since this is one of the area, occupied by the armed insurgents, it is one of the toughest field to be based in the world. The experience brought me the confidence to work whatever the situation would be.
Currently, I am working for JEN. The work environment and the teams are wonderful and would like to work long as possible.
January 20, 2011 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Meet the Stakeholders
Since I have been stationed at Islamabad for a year, I had various experiences such as joy, anger, sadness and fun. This time I had a chance to return to Japan for annual home leave.
During my short return, I mainly spent my days to visit and report my work and projects JEN's implementing to our financial partners. It was indeed a good chance to meet these people whom I do not meet in my daily life in Islamabad, but learned that I cannot implement activities without these people.
Also, being busy with my daily work, I learned that I must never forget not only the people who benefit but the financial partners who let JEN to implement the projects as well. Something I did felt during my days in Japan.
Given the enormous strength, I felt that I must work hard with a clear mind.
In the future as well, I do ask for your support in the Afghanistan- Pakistan Project.
Thank you for your support.
October 28, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
What to do during Eid ul-Fiter in Afghanistan?
Eid ul-Fiter, shortened to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Muslims are commanded by the holy Quran to terminate their fast on the last day of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid means festivity in Arabic, while Fitr means to purify, so the holiday symbolizes purification after completing the fasting month. It is also the time to give donations to the poor people, visit the sick and to spend time with family and friends.
In Afghanistan, the Eid festival holds such social importance that, Afghans start preparing for it up to ten days prior to it. Preparations include cleaning up their homes, many will also go to their local bazaars to buy new clothes, buying sweets and snacks to serve the guests during the day’s festivities. On the first day of Eid, people will first offer their Eid prayers at 8:30 or 9:00 AM and after that everybody embraces each others to congratulates the Eid. After returning to homes, families gather in someone’s home, and greet one another with “Eidet MOBARAK”, or “Happy Eid to you and may your fasting and prayers be accepted by Allah”. Family elders give small allowances to children. It is also common to visit families and friends, although it may be sometimes difficult to do, since the duration of Eid is merely three days!
Thank you for reading,
September 16, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Ramadan, the fasting and its tradition in Afghanistan
Eid ul-Fitr (Eid festival) is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar which means the end of Ramadan.
The Muslims are preached by the Holy Qur'an, to end the holy month of Ramadan on the last day of fasting. Eid means "festival" and Fitoru means "lustration" in Arabic, which represents purification after ending fast.
The Eid festival in Afghanistan is not just a festival, but it means more than that. First, when they prepare for the celebration, the Muslims begin cleaning their house 10 days before the festival. The people buy sweets and new clothes to welcome their guest at home.
At home, it is a habit to give pocket money to the children and meet relatives and friends whom you hardly see.
Thus, at the festival “Eid al Fitoru” scheduled at the end of the month of Ramadan, people spend their time with their family and friends, and spend time to cherish the people in need.
The service to celebrate the festival begins from 8:30 or 9:00 AM on the first day. Everyone embraces each other celebrating the wonderful festival. After the festival, they return home and celebrate the festival with their family. Exchanging the phrase “Ei de Mubarak” , everyone celebrates their pray and fast so that it will be accepted by Allah. At each home it is a habit to give pocket money to the children, meet family members and friends difficult to see at their daily life.
This is how people spend their time during the festival “Eid al Fitoru” at the end of the Ramadan month with people who you care the most.
September 16, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Exercise to keep hands clean
JEN is working on health and education programs at the school in Parwan Province, Charikar district. During the winter vacation, teachers who were trained from the experts for three days, began the health education to children from the new spring semester.
In June, there was a four week hand washing program and in July, there was a two week finger nail clipping program. At the end of every month, the school Committee and JEN staff visited each school reviewed whether the program was functioning.
Here is our observation...
First, the trained teachers explain their knowledge they learned again and next the children show their hand washing. They use soap and wash thoroughly between fingers and fingernails. After the hand wash week for 4 weeks, hand washing became very well.
It seems that clipping fingernail was not that easy for small children. They cannot handle the upper level well. So first the elder children clip the fingernail of the younger children. Then the JEN staff show how to hold it again.
Finally, even the smallest child was able to clip his fingernail alone.
August 19, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Construction situation in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is a country which has experienced 30 years of war and during these 30 years of war, around 3 millions, both men and women were killed ordisabled. Many buildings were destroyed too, both private and governmental buildings.Hospital, schools and agriculture buildings were destroyed, so sick people had to receive treatment in outdoor tents , and similarly school children were studying in tents or in mosques without proper equipments such as desks and chairs. .
Recently, the central government of Afghanistan implemented a direct vote by the people and since then some positive change has come to Afghanistan. It can be seen espitially in construction of buildings.In the private sector (house building), market is now revitalized and new houses are being constructed, thanks to people’s hard work. Some of the new houses are constructed by UNHCR with their distributed shelter for the IDPs (internally displaced persons).
In the public sector, including hospitals, schools, economic, agriculture buildings are constructed and rehabilitated by many NGOs and international organizations. Construction of school and hospitals is still going on in.
Around 80% of the necessary construction is done, but it is still not enough and needs further aid of national and international organizations.
For the hope and success of all aid organizations to construct hospital and school buildings in all Afghanistan, and that the Afghan people could one day easily access hospitals and schools…
Sincerely, Najibullar Khalilzai, JEN Parwan Province
August 5, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Educational Situation in Afghanistan
Education in Afghanistan drastically improved under the rule of King Zahir Shah, whose most significant achievements between 1933 and 1973 included making primary schools available to everyone above twelve, or nearly half of the total population, expanding secondary institutions, and founding a national university in Kabul.
At the time, the education system was incredibly accessible, and most children attended schools and entered universities. The three decade of war in Afghanistan, however, destroyed the country’s economy, society, culture, and education. Most schools buildings were damaged, and only a few classrooms remained intact in some schools. Due to this situation, students in different grade levels had to share a classroom, and many students studied in tents without desks, chairs, or textbooks. In 1996, furthermore, education was banned for female students, so half of the student population was not able to attend schools.
In 2001, the Karzai administration received a substantial amount of international aid to restore the education system that is accessible to female students. Many girls thus began attending schools, but because of the shortage of professionally trained teachers, the quality of education was very poor. This is because many certified teachers fled the country.
Many problems still plague this nation. There are regions that lack school buildings, latrines, clean water, textbooks, and etc. Many students have no choice but to study outdoors without proper facilities. The international community spent billions of dollars on aid in Afghanistan, but the country could use further assistance in education.
Despite the challenges of assistance in Afghanistan, I sincerely hope for a better future for all Afghan citizens and the successes of humanitarian aid organizations that strive toward enhanced education and self-reliance in the Afghan community.
Sultan M. Khamoush
July 8, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The Afghanistan Citizens in Islamabad
In mid-May last year, I was transferred to Islamabad in the neighboring country Pakistan to remotely monitor JEN’s projects in Afghanistan as program officer. Since then, it has been a year. During this past year, security in Afghanistan has shown a glimmer of improvement, but has also become worse since last August’s presidential election. For this reason, we international staff reduced our business travels, and remotely monitored 100% of our project site in Pakistan this year.
Since we do not have direct access to our project sites in Afghanistan, it felt pretty distant, but I realize it’s not actually so. At the Islamabad office, you hear the Pakistani staff members talking to the Kabul staff members on the phone in Pashtun, which is their common language. Once you step outside, you will see that the greengrocers in the market or the bakers from whom we occasionally buy lunch are Afghans. Many Afghans even run grocery stores we go to everyday. Despite being new to this place, you encounter many Afghans here and there. How many Afghans in Islamabad do you think await their return to their home country?
June 24, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Life of Afghan Refugees in Peshawar
My name is Qaiser Khan, and I joined JEN on May 30th, 2010 as an administrative and finance officer at the Islamabad office. I am originally from Nowshera, Pakistan, but since 2004, I have been living in Peshawar, Pakistan with my family. Because Peshawar is only 65km away from Turkhum (the boarder of Pakistan and Afghanistan), many Afghan refugees came to Peshawar during the civil war between 1980 and 2001. Since then their life as refugees in Peshawar has begun.
People who have been educated started their career as a teacher or an agent that sends people abroad legally or illegally, and those who have not been educated supported their families by working as drivers or selling fruits. While relatively rich Afghan refugees live in cities like Hayatabad, Peshawar, and other comfortable places, poor refugees were leading a miserable life in refugee camps or small villages.
Recently, however, refugees came to appreciate education. This is because they believe their country’s political situation has improved and came to believe that they will have a better future if they receive quality education. According to an official source, the number of registered schools has now reached 313 in Peshawar and student enrollment is approximately 117,375. 4,695 teachers educate the young generation who is responsible for the future of Afghanistan. However, among the 313 schools, unfortunately, none is established by the Afghan government. All schools are private, costing from Rs.200 to Rs.600 per month.
During my visit to these schools, I observed that the school infrastructure is poor, and the majority of the toilets (95%) are in such a bad condition that no one could use it. During personal interviews, moreover, most students expressed dissatisfaction with their teachers’ incapability, and many believed that the school was opened not to provide quality education but solely for lucrative purposes.
In the whole of Peshawar, there is no orphanage for young Afghan refugees, nor is there a hospital in which refugees can get free medical care. We must not forget about their living conditions in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan.
June 10, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
A Short History of Charikar’s Water Situation
Charikar is one of the ten districts in the Parwan Province, which is located about 60km north of Kabul. It is also the center of the province.
Around ten thousand families are living in the highlands of Charikar and its outskirts. An open canal was created by the Chinese in this area 45 years ago, and it passes through the center of the city. About 95% of the population uses this water, although it is not clean at all.
In this city, there is a large reservoir filtration system that was established 50 years ago by a Japanese technician. Water drawn from the canal passes through this system pushed by the water pump. The system has about 500 square meters capacity, and the filtered water is sent to a limited number of households.
In the North side of the city, there is an area called Gulghundi, which stores clean water in springs and canals that the local people dug 40 years ago. Maintained by the government and NGOs, the water has now become able to reach the city. Currently, clean water from two water sources has now become able to reach 5% of the city households.
Written by: Inayatullah "Hashimi"
May 27, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Education Condition in Afghanistan
After the Taliban regime was overthrown in 2001, changes occurred in the country’s education situation. The Afghan government, receiving assistance from the international community, worked hard to increase the number of schools and other education facilities. To give their children a better future in a safer and wealthier country is what the Afghan people wish for the most.
Being educated in a school, I believe, is the first step toward realizing that hope. During the war, many schools were destroyed, thereby degrading the education system in Afghanistan. Since the peace in 2001, the educational environment significantly improved, as the Afghan government, in cooperation with the international community, reconstructed several hundreds of schools and educational facilities.
There are, however, some problems that currently remain unresolved. Because many districts in this country do not have enough school buildings and lack other educational facilities, children are studying under tents or in open area. On the other hand, the largest issue is the lack of public security in certain regions in Afghanistan. It is quite a serious issue, as school students and teachers are sometimes directly targeted for attack. Another issue, furthermore, is people’s economic situation. In Afghanistan, there are families that do not earn enough income to survive each day. Children in such households are not given the opportunity to be educated, shut in their homes to earn money doing difficult tasks. Thousands of children on the streets are forced to work in stringent work conditions because their families are poor.
Despite such abject situation, children try to go to school. They believe that education can save them and let them lead a better life in the future.
Prepared by: A.Fahim
May 13, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Hope for Afghanistan’s future
My Name is Najibullah Khalilzai I joined with JEN since 7th March 2010 as site engineer based in Charikar District.
During the recent three decades of war in Afghanistan, our people suffered a lot of problems in this country. For example, around 3 million of our people died or were injured during the war, various governmental and nongovernmental properties have been damaged, hospitals and schools are all destroyed, and most of our people had to seek refuge in other countries. Domestically, people’s rights were not respected. Our trained national police and army forces were affected and were not properly functioning.
By establishments of the new central government, voted and chosen by our people, I sincerely hope that some positive changes will come to the live of our people. And that the rights of the people are recognized by the new government. I believe that people have equal rights regardless of which provinces of Afghanistan they live in.
As for the reconstruction of the country, the international community has been assisting all of Afghanistan in different sections such as education development, health, road construction, and economic growth. However for such a country as Afghanistan, completely destroyed from the conflict, assistance seems never enough.
In security section our destroyed police and army forces are receiving training day by day and become strong. The conflict is ongoing in our country, and some of our provinces is insecure and out of the control of the government.
The international community has spent billions of dollars in our country, but our people still remains in poverty. I hope our people will stop suffering from poverty and the security becomes good and we could live without feeling any danger.
April 15, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
New semester at Hemayatul School
Afghanistan adopts the Islamic solar calendar (the Persian calendar) as its official calendar. March 21st is Nawruz (New Year) and the year 1389 starts today. Tomorrow, the 22nd is the new semester.
At the end of last year, children went to school for the first time at the Hemayatul School we built in Charikar District, Parwan Province.
JEN staff rings a bell to start class.
Children are now able to study in brand-new classrooms.
There is also a small library.
We will continue our project to create an environment suitable for more children’s studies.
April 1, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Aiming the gold medal again
There is a friend from Kabul, Fahima, who lives near the Islamabad office. She is a Hazara, who had been on exile in Pakistan with her parents, brothers, and sisters during the Taliban regime. After the collapse of the regime, she returned to Kabul and spent her time there until high school. Her father is running a catering business in Kabul.
Though Fahima looks slim and graceful, she’s actually a black belt Judo athlete. Four years ago, having won a gold medal at an international championship, she was told by President Karzai that he would grant her one of her wishes. She requested for a gym where she could practice Judo, and he promised to have it realized in four months. However, four years have passed, and there is still no Judo gym.
I met Fahima at a special muscle training class where a lot of humanitarian workers in Islamabad attend. Since women are not allowed to go outside due to security reasons, many women come to the gym two to three times a week to maintain their physical strength. Among them, Fahima comes in almost everyday since 2009 to build her stamina. She regularly goes to a gym in Lahore and receives guidance from a Judo expert who was trained in Japan.
Fahima continues to dedicate herself to her daily trainings with a goal to enter and win the gold metal at the Judo championship in the near future as an Afghan national player.
March 18, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Humanitarian Assistance in Afghanistan
My name is Sultan M. Khamoush, and I am pleased to join JEN-Afghanistan since January 19th, 2010 as a field officer at the Charikar office.
During the past three decades of war in Afghanistan, various problems plagued the country in many areas – humanitarian, political, economical, cultural and so on. It has been eight years since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, and despite the billions of dollars the international community spend on aid, Afghanistan still remains in poverty and political instability. Women and children are seen in the streets of Kabul and other provinces begging for survival.
It is therefore evident that the Afghan government is yet to develop adequate strategies to bring changes in the lives of their citizens; there are problems of corruption, slow development, and the general perception that some government officials lack clear work plans or have policies that overlap or are incomprehensive.
Humanitarian assistance exists to alleviate this problem. When people are displaced from their homes, we investigate their situation and provide assistance and protection. For instance, we speak to those who instigated the conflicts so that people may return to their homes in peace.
There is, however, lack of understanding in Afghanistan about the problem of refugees and internal displacement; no one fully understands how these people become displaced on a short-or long-term basis. There is lack of information on the current situation including how many people have been displaced and how many have already made their ways home.
A rigorous program is called for to assist poverty reduction and deliver humanitarian assistance through NGOs, international community, and the Afghan government to the poor in urban and rural areas. It is, furthermore, imperative that NGOs ensure that funds flow in from governments and international communities in a fair and effective route. It is extremely important that funds are not politically charged and assistance delivered fairly, regardless of the backgrounds of its beneficiaries.
I hope for the better future to all Afghan citizens, and will continue working hard until efforts of humanitarian organizations that assist Afghan people even at difficult times to stand on their own feet, bear fruit.
March 4, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
To teachers, and to children
JEN in Afghanistan began its hygiene educational program from January 24th for 225 teachers from seven different schools in Charikar District, Parwan Province.
The teachers are currently having their winter vacation, but they come to school to attend this three-day program. The person who trains them in hygiene education is a specialist from the Health Division in the Education Department, and is monitored by the JEN’s local staff. This time, the Education Department of Parwan showed interest in this program, attended all seven schools’ programs, and monitored them as well.
The teachers did have basic knowledge on hygiene but it wasn’t practical. While we were organizing programs, we incorporated games so that participants could enjoy the training without getting bored. This attracted a lot of interest, and made them attend the three-day-long sitting training and workshop with passion and enthusiasm.
Since the impact at the two girls’ schools was so big, JEN was asked to continue holding various programs on capacity building. The local male staff also seemed overwhelmed by the power of women.
After this program, the teachers will start conducting hygiene education to the children from the new semester.
February 18, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Working in Afghanistan
I know I must talk about this year’s project in Afghanistan, so I would like to tell a short story of hardship like my colleague’s previous calendar story. This time it is about insurance.
Last year, one of the JEN’s local staff working for a long period asked for insurance. What they asked for was social insurance such as health insurance and employment insurance. The colleague who had a difficult time figuring out the calendar is having yet another difficult time for insurance companies, but there is no insurance company in this country.
In Afghanistan, the concept of compensation and responsibilities is not common in the community. There is an insurance company for JEN in Pakistan, where we remotely manage the projects for Afghanistan. Recently, however, these insurance companies began to add conditions that don’t cover injuries that are involved with terrorist attacks. Even these insurance policies differ from what’s intuitive in Japan, and they reflect the situations of the country.
JEN has to confront these different cultures and social atmospheres while carrying out our projects. There are staffs that play active part but whose efforts are not easily seen on the surface.
February 4, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
When are the holidays for next year?
The calendar in Afghanistan is based on the Persian calendar of Iran, and the beginning of the New Year starts around March 21st.
There was a happening during Japanese New Year’s when we were checking the holiday schedule for 2010 at JEN Afghanistan.
Even when we made inquiries to the local government and the embassy, no one knew the actual dates of the holidays. When we searched the Internet, it presented different dates based on different sources, and appeared that the accurate dates would not be specified until next March.
To make matters worse, the religious holidays are based on the Islamic calendar, so the dates would change within a couple days according to that month.
Even though the calendar differs from the Christian calendar, I wonder if it is only the Japanese international staffs who are worried about not being able to make plans in advance because of the unconfirmed holiday dates. We do care about the schedule of the local people in Afghanistan…
January 21, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
“Greeting of the year 2010 from the team”
A Happy New Year to all of you!
It has been a decade since the Millennium! JEN’s support to Afghanistan has begun since year 2001, so this is our ninth year. Given aggravating security in Afghanistan, international staffs transferred to Islamabad, Pakistan in November 2007, and continue to implement the projects remotely from Islamabad.
Therefore, the Afghanistan team realized the importance and function of teamwork. This is why the team was able to complete all the projects of the year 2009 without major issues with tremendous commitment each other..
JEN will welcome additional team mates this year. We will unite even stronger and will do our best to fulfill the support that is needed.
We thank all of you for this year.
January 7, 2010 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Ｎew school building for the children has completed!
The construction of Hemayatul High School of Parwan Province Charikar District has finished.
The brand new one-story school building is surrounded by a thick concrete wall, and equipped with eight classrooms and two faculty offices, libraries, and science laboratories. Ten bathrooms are set up outside and there is a water-supply well in the area as well.
The opening ceremony celebrating the completion of construction was held on the 13th where 800 people joined. Though the building was just completed, the leader of school management committee was made a sincere request to the Governor of Parwan Province and the Director of the Education Bureau, to add four new classrooms on the second floor, in the opening speech, to accommodate for the increasing number of students. It is truly encouraging to see the number of enrolling students rise.
During the long war, furious battles took place in Parwan Province that generated a large number of IDPs (internal displaced persons) as well as refugees. Presently, this province has the one of the least to encounter unsafe incidence. We hope that this stability continues and the opportunity to education will spread for both boys and girls, JEN will continue support for Afghanistan.
Approximately 1,400 students will start their new school term from next March at Hemayatol High School. Therefore, teachers are very busy to move and to prepare for the new school term during the winter breaks.
December 17, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
In Pakistan, from the 27th Friday, a day earlier than in Afghanistan, the Feast of the Sacrifice began. All JEN Pakistani staff returned to their home villages for four days.
Feast of the Sacrifice, the event is based on the myth of the Qur'an. When Ibrahim was just about to sacrifice his child, as told in a revelation from God, God honored the spirit of faith and sent angel Gabriel and asked to sacrifice the life of a sheep instead.
In various parks and markets, livestock markets appear only around this time of the year. An Islam friend tells me, goats and cows are dissected for the poor, and that all parts of the body are utilized.
The day before the Feast of Sacrifice, I saw goats and cows under the sun, but on the 29th the area became a sea of blood with slaughtered animals here and there. Usually the slaughter is handled by experts in one chop, which give less pain for the animals.
I was very puzzled since I am not accustomed to these kinds of events, once again, I did feel the preciousness of "life" and appreciate for being given a “life”.
December 3, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Hemayatul High School located in Charikar province of Parwan District began its construction from April and is scheduled to complete by mid December.
More than 95 percent is complete and soon the construction for coating the building and electrical wiring will start.
The photo taken in October shows the President Rahimi of Afghan-American Company on the left, in charge of the construction of schools, on the right is the engineer Feda Mohammed. Rahimi President spoke;
More than 70 percent of the people in Afghanistan are illiterate. Without a decent education, there will be no development in this country.
I myself received a scholarship studying engineering at the University of California, received a master's degree in Urban Design at Oxford, United Kingdom. When Afghanistan was a communist country, I was teaching at a university in Saudi Arabia as an associate professor.
Afterwards, I returned to Afghanistan to rebuild the country, and established the company I am working for right now. So far, I have constructed hospitals and agencies residence, and other than that built schools and houses. I will continue constructing as much schools as possible to contribute to the country.
Construction work creates employment. Presently, this is the most important thing for this country. "
November 19, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
To all of you with our sincere thanks
Today, I would like to share some photos of Aghan children that just arrived from the field.
The photographs below were taken during the distribution program of 16 schools in Parwan Province of Charikar District that began from September, and within the same District an orphanage that finished the reconstruction in October.
I would like to express our special thanks for your support.
A photo of the girl’s school.
The girls from the second grade class of Pachall elementary school.
Suflab, 8 year old boy from the second grade of Da mullah yusof elementary, .
This school does not have their own school facilities, so they are borrowing one part of a mosque to study. He says that he likes this classroom.
National Charikar orphanage
Approximately 150 children live in this orphanage. Behind the children is a warehouse where they can store equipment and household goods. The renovation and reparation of the canopy was completed in mid-October.
November 5, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
DREAM BAG comes true, once again!
Currently, JEN Afghanistan is delivering “Dream Bag” to approximately over 3,000 children during one month from September 27th. This is our fifth year of this particular project in Afghanistan. Before then, it was distributed to the children in former Yugoslavia.
Every year our supporters send us all the way from Japan, it contains stationery and toys in handmade bags filled with love and blessing of children from Japan. Since the distribution is not informed to the schools in advance, the staff of the JEN appeares suddenly (!) to make children surprises, just like Santa Clause !! and share the happy time with the children with full of laughter!
Thank you all of you for sending many dreams for the children in Afghanistan.
October 22, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
A new beginning at Islamabad
My name is Junpei Ushikubo, assigned for the Islamabad office from the 5th of October.
My assignment is assess the areas of administration / accounting for the program in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For the meantime, my goal is to establish a friendly rapport with the colleagues, partners and people here. This is especially important in Afghanistan, as it is a more remote system since the 2007, and as such, the opportunity to talk to face to face is limited.
Compared to Tokyo, Islamabad is still hot in the noontime, but in the nighttime it feels cool. Maybe for that reason, Athan (a sign for to worship) becomes an awakes me up before my alarm sounds, on the first morning, a pleasant way to be woken. These simple pleasures comfort me, and remind me why it is such a nice place to live.
I would also just like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the supporters, for your consistent support which is so sorely needed for pogress to continue.
October 8, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Enjoying iftar with the local staff
Last week, all the Islamabad office staff prepared iftar. Iftar is a meal that Muslims eat during Ramadan, after the sunset. In town, there is an “iftar buffet” at the restaurant, attended mainly by Pakistanis gathering for that buffet.
A first, they begin with small portions of dates, then pakora a spicy fry like tempura and then samosa. On another occasion, when we were invited by a Pakistani woman, an almond juice was served, a milk-white drink, sweetened with syrup, but without overpowering the coconut taste... During the iftar, we tried some salad with chick beans, and small pasta and with fruit salad dish.
All JEN staff tried to eat the way the local people did Staff were surprised by the fruit salad, as surprisingly it was slightly spicy. Since the other salad was also spiced, it wasn’t strange to eat them together. Today was an education in ifter for the JEN staff!
September 24, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
For support with continuity
JEN's ultimate goal in Afghanistan: to understand the people who participate JEN's activity; to maintain communication with the central and local government; to always seek opportunities for progress, and understand how to maximize their capability.
When we interviewed and surveyed the inhabitants of the village, we were often told that there was no supplement for soap distributed after the project. Consequently, despite the children having learnt correct hygiene habits, they often forget to wash their hands six months later.
To promote the project effectively, it is necessary to communicate with the government and the local people. over bureaucratic and administerial issues. Points raised include soap distribution rights after the project is finished and whether the budget is pre-prepared or are goods to be distributed by the community. JEN and UNICEF are discussing the continuation of this project with the Afghanistan Education Department.
As in the case of inspecting water, the function of management after digging the well and providing clean water, is also important. It is vital to design an effective care system to follow up the project,,to clarify departmental duties concerning water inspection, as well establishing an infrastructure which enables discourse between local people and local government, in order to rectify poor standards. ,.
September 10, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The Presidential Election
On August 20th, Presidential elections took place in Afghanistan for the first time in four years. The number of eligible voters currently stands at 17 million, and voter turnout is considered to be between 40 to 50%.
Due to security reasons, 10% of the polls have been closed and relocated to a selection of the other 6,200 (approx.) sites.. To prevent multiple voting, qualified voters had their fingertips branded with ink, which led to threats from anti-government militias that any voters would have their fingers cut-off. This threat was mainly aimed at women, although many still braved the polls – testament to the growing political determination in the country.
However, in light of security worries, JEN closed their offices in Kabul and Charikar on the day of election. The day prior to the election, one member of the local staff was so concerned about the anti-government militias, that he escorted his wife to the polling station so that she could cast her vote unharmed..
The official announcement of the counting of votes takes place on 17th September. If no candidate (including President Karzai, who is expected to be re-elected) wins a majority, a run-off will be held in October. During the election period, it was predicted that further attacks acoss Afghanistan would ensue. However, as yet, there have been no reports regarding any terrorist activity in Parwan Province of Charikar, where JEN's activities are implemented.
August 27, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Maintain good partnership
JEN’s Afghanistan program, school rehabilitation program that started from April is proceeded smoothly. Recruiting constructors for the next coming project runs parallel as well.
JEN has its activity in Afghanistan since 2001, but, still up to the year 2009, selecting constructors is one of the most important, tedious and the most difficult.
That is because, since autumn 2007, major operation has been shifted to manage remotely from neigbouring country, Islamabad, Pakistan, thus, it requires a lot of effort to comply the extra works. It is an extremely tough task to maintain the good relationship with the suppliers in such circumstances in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, it is not rare to receive employment applications from connection and legacy, and it difficult to find constructors that match our criteria. This time, from a multiple UN related offices in Kabul, we were introduced a number of local constructors. We are negotiating to develop partnership with them at the moment.
In such remote management, we cannot come up with new change, unless we improve the the way to work. JEN would like to consistently dedicate our effort to develop the network with the local constructors, the government and the international organizations from Islamabad.
August 13, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Activities in the local area
There are concerns all over Afghanistan that the security situation is becoming worse. Especially, southern and eastern areas close to the border to Pakistan, where tend to become worse. Even though there is a high need for assistance, there are many areas that need to pull out their activities.
Incidents targeting foreigners are taking place quite frequently all over Afghanistan and the security for the supporting staff at the local area becomes a big burden occasionally.
Due to unexpected security costs and the time consumption for security, it makes it difficult to accomplish the project within a limited budget and periods.
Security must be kept in mind for projects in Afghanistan, the staffs of JEN are adjusting their activities daily due to numerous factors that interfere with the project. With support from various people, the local staffs working under numerous risks are making a lot of efforts, and with the tight connection between staff from Pakistan and Tokyo , projects in Afghanistan are being carried out.
We ask for your continual support.
July 30, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Late night on July the 6th, the Program Officer who is in charge of Afghanistan and Pakistan of the Tokyo headquarter arrived at Islamabad. Even though it was late at night, the airport was crowded with people and we could feel the heat of Pakistan.
From the next day, the Afghanistani staff, the Pakistani staff, Japanese and French staff who already arrived in Pakistan started the meeting to exchange information under the slogan “one team= two projects” removing the barriers between each countries projects.
Opinions were exchanged, such as the progress of the program, the problems and the upcoming strategy. Since the staffs do not have a face to face meeting daily, the meeting time went very quickly and overran the schedule.
The other night, we all had a Pakistani dinner with the spectaculer view on top of the hill. The scenery from the hill was worth a beautiful one to watch. The time was past 9PM still the weekday but the restaurant was filled with families. With the delicious dinner, we were talking about personal topics other than our work.
Of course in an Islamic nation, under it's regulation, we are not able to drink alcohol but it was a very nice opportunity for the staff to understand each other.
Due to the security reasons, it is not possible for the international staff to go the field office most of the time, to support our local staff on spot. But it was very fruitful for the Japanese, Afghanistani and Pakistani staff to meet together since they live apart.
This must give a progress and strong team work to promote our projects in the future.
July 16, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The “Needs” discovered from the survey
At the moment, while reconstructing the school at Paruwan province, we are also conducting the survey for the next schools reconstruction.
What JEN focuses on now is the water supply and sanitation situation in each school. Local staff members are interviewing over 60 schools and surveying the surrounding villages to see the sanitation situation. Presently, we have covered 80% of the area.
JEN learned from the survey that lot of toilets at schools only had plain holes without sewers. Schools annexed to Mosques rarely have toilets with a water system. However, with an even higher need are schools in tents where children studying there have to relieve themselves in the open field.
The number of children at school who receive safe and clean water from spring water and hand pump wells is extremely low. Most children at school drink water drained directly from a flowing canal which has not been treated preoperly. For this reason, children suffer from diarrhea.
The teachers at school, parents and leaders of the village would like to provide safe and clean water for their children.
June 18, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Spring has come. - The day to remember -
Spring has come in Afghanistan after a long harsh winter. The weather is fantastic. Trees, plants, and fields are covered in green in spring. We are filled with happiness although our life remains very difficult due to unemployment and lack of food. People start going out and go on a picnic.
In late April, we have a big event. It’s "Mujahideen Day". We celebrate the day since Mujahideen took over the control of Kabul from former president Najibullah’s communist government. It’s now a public holiday and people and children gather in mosques or in pubic halls to listen to speeches and remember the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.
As far as this year’s event in Afghanistan is concerned, there is a big one which is due to take place in summer. It’s our presidential election after Hamid Karzai the current President of Afghanistan. People worry about a considerable worsening of Afghanistan’s security situation and have a complex feeling about the upcoming election.
April 23, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
MAN AT HIS BEST
Qaseem, JEN’s Driver in Afghan mission. He is a man who takes initiative for humanitarian activity. This vehicle belongs to him. This guy is so tough and is really hard working. He is taking so much care of his vehicle, maintains it very well, and wash it after the every field trip. He is also helpful for small repairs in our source of power=generators and finally, we call him “The little mechanic”.
Last month, he got seriously ill and had paralysis on left part of body. He was taken to Peshawar (Pakistan) for initial treatment and was brought back for rest and medication. All staff of JEN was in shock at the news of his paralysis and feel really sorry. Now he is at his home. According to the local staff based in Kabul, his left hand is not moving but doctors says that after proper medication and rest of 6 months he will be able to work again.
Qaseem has been working with JEN for almost 4 years and is so friendly and cooperative with each staff member. His best companion was a former JEN's international staff. He remembers many episodes and shares the stories with us. His job is the only income sourse for his family, which consist of 5 members (2 boys, 1 girl and a wife). JEN will continue to support him and his family till he comes back to work.
During the visit to Kabul this time, I am missing his presence. And by seeing his car without him was so painful to me. We wish and pray to God for his best health.
March 26, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Certificate of completion and success
When we start Hygiene Education Program (HEP) in to the sites for the first time we saw the situation and life condition of the people were very bad, due to their personal and public health. People didn't have knowledge about the way of having healthy lives and they did not know the relation of health with their daily lives. MOPH with other organization are working in this regard but there hard activities are not enough for the need of people, because the people suffered long terms war and they were away from knowledge to improve their lives condition in health field.
Now, with the cooperation of International and Local organization activities for the improvement of people's capacity building is running in every parts of the country. But it needs more time to see the progress of the improvement because the program is not enough for the current large population of Afghanistan.
JEN, as a partner of DOPH of Parwan started providing workshop for the students and villagers around Toghbirdi village, health condition and controlling from diseases were so weak and the people were in very difficult position of society life because of health bad condition.
After JEN provided workshop people got knowledge about the way of having good and healthy lives and prevention of diseases in their future lives and improved their capacity for having good healthy lives.
At the beginning of our program the people were not know about our purpose and type of our activities, when it became clear for them they started their hard thanks and appreciation from JEN and JEN staff and from other hands I got many request of program from other sites of areas by their community leaders.
Also when we start it was difficult of gathering of people in to class but after very short time we got cloud of people which was out of our target numbers.
HEP staff after passing of first week of program they were as a gust of community and they spend more days for getting lunch with the community in the villages.
HEP at the starting stage was boring for all team members (FO, HS, HP, HPA) it is because miss intrusting of all related parties but for the time binge it become very distrustful for all so now HPE team members are washing the continuation of program and from other side they are so happy for learning many new things from the program, therefore all staff had happy party for the success of program.
March 12, 2009 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Completion Ceremony for School Facilities Construction
It has now been eleven months since the remote operation management from Pakistan was introduced.
Last month the completion ceremony for school facilities construction was conducted in two schools. There were numerous people gathered for the ceremony, such as members of the school management board, school teachers, pupils, and local leaders.
A speech kicked off the ceremony by a member of Parliament who is originally from where the school was built, followed by the student representatives and then the Embassy of Japan that financially supported the school construction. Female students made the ceremony special by delivering wonderful songs with eye-catching pastel colors on their burkas.
What continues to surprise us on occasions like this ceremony, is how powerfully the Afghans deliver their speeches. . They passionately emphasised the importance of education, and gracefully described how much they appreciate the contributions from Japan.
September 18, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The Completion oftoilets in the Orphanage
With the support of the Chikuma International Exchange Association and others, JEN constructed four toilets in an orphanage in the Charikar region of the Province of Parwan.
130 children, who have lost their parents and relatives in the long war, live at the orphanage and make the most of the opportunities offered to them in these difficult times. However, the level of hygiene at the orphanage is unacceptable, There was only one single toilet so the children had to go outdoors.
Government support is insufficient for the children living at the orphanage so it is important to let them know that there are people who care about them who are working to improve their sanitary situation.
Shar Muhmmed (14) living at the orphanage exclaimed , “Before JEN put in the toilets, we only had one that was very dirty. Now we have new toilets, and it is very clean.”
JEN hopes to continue the improvement of education and sanitization at orphanages with your support.
September 4, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Achievement and Appreciation
10 months have passed since Remote Management from Pakistan was introduced.
The construction of 2 schools were completed by July 2008.
We had a banquet to thank the staff, who have operated projects and put in their best efforts at the field sites on the front line, and shared the achievements and burdens, which we overcame together. We enjoyed the local cuisine such as Kabab, Kofta and Palaw with great relish and the natural view at a rustic restaurant along the riverside. Just those things made everyone absolutely delighted.
We have had banquets like this every time a project was completed. This time we felt even more achievement than usual as the project operation was done by Remote Management in the mid-flow of the project.
August 21, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Khadejatul Kobra girl’s school and Chubakhshi Rabat School are Nearly Complete!
With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, various organizations and of course the supporters of JEN, two schools have been renovated. Khadejatul Kobra girl’s school and Chubakhshi Rabat school in Charikar of Parwan Province and Bagran Province are now nearly complete.
This project started in August 2007, and is now near completion after having overcome multiple hurdles such as a deterioration of the security situation, the switch to remote management, a harsh winter, and land issues caused by the former Muhajideen Commander. Children, who have been observing the progress of the project, can’t hide their excitement over the completion of their school.
Watching the near-complete school and the smiles of these children, it is clear that ‘assistance’ is not only the provision of the materials and the building itself, but this assistance reaches the hearts of the children as well.
July 10, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Delivery of safe water
JEN with the support by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and individual donnors have been conducting the installation of water pipes which connect water storage tanks and public water pipes in order to supply safe water to students as a part of the construction of schools.
In Afghanistan, sanitary conditions are very bad in most schools. The students of Cobura school whom JEN is supporting still use dirty water from the channel next to the school for drinking.
Polluted water comes from cities through the channel, so there is no safe water that protects students’ health there.
Over a long winter, the construction of water storage tanks has been restarted and the constructions have been advanced to pre-foundation of stones. JEN has been conducting activities in order to make up sanitary conditions that can allow students study safely as soon as possible.
（Photo: The completed base of water storage tank）
April 3, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Spring has arrived!
JEN’s project site, Parwan province, was hit by a very cold winter from late December to mid-February, which turned it into a land of silver snow.
This winter was especially harsh. A few hundred deaths were reported across the country and in Parwan, temperatures dropped to -22C. In January, we received an order from the school construction board to temporarily suspend construction efforts due to the cold. Unfortunately, JEN had to delay construction efforts until February 24th.
During the last week of February, the temperature made a drastic upturn and shot up to 15C and we were finally able to resume our much anticipated construction efforts. With the end of a long winter, the springtime has brought a renewed energy and motivation!
March 6, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Afghanistan is the Link
It has been four months since we moved the operation center for our Afghanistan mission to the neighboring country, Pakistan.
Here in Pakistan it is very easy to see the things that Pakistan and Afghanistan have in common. Actually, many second and third generation Afghans live in the regions where there are large former-refugee populations. Amongst these people, there are some whom have never even been to Afghanistan.
These people show great enthusiasm when I greet them in Dali, or tell them that I was recently in Afghanistan. In fact, sometimes I even get discounts and additional vegetables when I go to the local vegetable store!
These people, despite being Afghan, have never been to Afghanistan. Yet I, Japanese, have lived in Afghanistan and am now using Pakistan as a platform of exchange and interaction. It is a strange phenomenon, but it was a moment that provided warmth to my heart.
(PICTURE: A juice-stand in the market)
February 21, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Reasons to Break the Wall
Last December, a man who is known as the Head of the village unexpectedly claimed that a portion of the school was being built on his own land. In his anger, he proceeded to destroy one of the school walls that were still undergoing construction.
(PICTURE: The broken wall)
From the very offset of this project, village representatives, teaching staff, the school principle, and the members of the education council were put together to constitute a well-balanced School Management Committee, whose very purpose was to avoid such problems. Under this Committee, JEN felt that we are doing our best to both prevent and resolve conflicts involving rights to information and land.
However in spite of our efforts, a problem had arisen is the midst of such a small village and the explanation for this can be linked to many factors.
One possible cause is employment. In a remote region where the unemployment rate is close to 100%, a construction of a school provides a unique opportunity for employment. However, this chance of employment cannot possible benefit everyone; it is possible that bitter sentiments due to the missed opportunity may have been the root of this conflict. Often armed groups that have been active through the time of the Cold War or civil war may be behind such problems.
Both the aforementioned causes contributed to our problem. As these individuals are armed, even the village leader has a hard time persuading them to compromise. Finally, the Head was convinced by the School Management Committee to step aside.
This shows that it may be some time before we can reach peaceful times here in Afghanistan.
February 7, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
The Pros and Cons of Remote Management
Three months have already passed since we transferred our project operation center to a remote location. Communication limited to phone and emails has resulted in several accounts of miscommunication. At times we have difficulty communicating exactly what we need with the Afghan people. Tasks that could be completed in 5 minutes if we were communicating on a face-to-face basis, are instead taking 1-2 days.
There are many challenges that we are facing, but we should also note some of the positive outcomes that have resulted. Previously, the staff did not act unless instructed to do so, but they have now started to take their own initiative in finding solutions to the obstacles faced. Of course, this newfound attitude is still in the beginning stage, but we believe that this is an important step forward to reaching the objective of self-initiated development. With that in mind, JEN will continue to support these developments.
(PICTURE: A potted plant that we are growing at the Overseas Office)
January 24, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
A Holiday-less New Years
Afghanistan is a largely Muslim nation, and therefore, unlike the Christian tradition, New Years pass without any holidays. With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives from organizations, and individuals, we are continuing the ongoing school construction.
However, Afghanistan is undergoing a harsh winter, and unfortunately, due to the bitter cold and snow, construction is not proceeding as smoothly as we had hoped.
During most days, the temperature during the day ranges from 2°C to 5°C, but the temperature drops to around -15°C at night. Moreover, there was a heavy snowfall as we entered January, which prevented us from doing construction work for about one week.
However, we are hoping to see the bright, smiling faces of the children come springtime when they are due to start school. With that hope in mind, we will not let the cold get to us!
January 10, 2008 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Kabul： Just an ordinary scene
We often see schoolgirls, aged from five and six years old to the junior high students dressed in traditional style school uniforms, all black with a white scarf, walking on the road to the girls school nearby our Kabul office. It is nothing special, but nevertheless, heartwarming, to see a small girl trying hard to catch up with elder students who are chatting and laughing with her friends.
I see a good future for Afghanistan by looking at this. It is hard to imagine, but once girls were not educated in this area. There are many schools we need to rebuild or repair damaged by the long internal war, but it is important to provide a place that all the students can study without worries.
October 11, 2007 in Afghanistan | Permalink
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School construction work started!
JEN started construction work of the Cobra School and Chubakhshi Rabat School in August. We also made a construction ceremony when we started foundation construction work for Chubakhashi Rabat School.
The ceremony turned up to be a big event attended by people from local government, TV broadcasters from the Parwan state, school related personals, and moreover by almost all the people for the community!
Your image of the school may be different from the ones we are building. Over 500 students were studying under the heat and packed at a leased half-broken earth-made house from the foundation of the school in 2006.
The construction of the school, therefore, is a big event for the community with enormous joys and expectations. We learned that form the smiles of children we met which lead more efforts and ties to staffs of JEN and school administrative committee.
September 30, 2007 in Afghanistan | Permalink
To the paradise filled with roses
It may surprise you, but Afghanistan is famous for its roses. On the contrary, thinking of Afghanistan, you might picture war-torn images of the country. However, in the summer season, if you visit someone’s home around the city of Kabul and look in the garden you will find the most beautiful roses. You can enjoy roses in our small garden as well! It is a relaxing moment to find oneself in the garden, reading a book or drinking a cup of tea in the pleasantness of evening time, since normally it is hard to get out of the office due to security reasons. Prior to the Soviet Union invasion, Afghanistan was once said to be like a paradise for tourists from South-Asia with true Afghan hospitality and beautiful gardens filled with roses. It is a great pity that now there is such a long way to go to get back this reputation due to the worsening security of the country. JEN will continue to contribute our efforts to rebuild this peaceful paradise through our educational support programs.
September 20, 2007 in Afghanistan | Permalink
An insight into local culture from a receipt!
As we conduct our activities overseas, we encounter a variety of people crucial to the daily processes of our projects besides those who are direct participants to our projects. Just to name a few: for example, a local government agent, or the various vendors that we use for our projects. We experience particular local culture through daily interaction with these people.
Afghanistan is not an exception; indeed, local culture in Afghanistan has an outstanding uniqueness.
You know this from looking at a receipt brought back by our local staff (we cannot go out to buy the products, due to security reasons); it can show you an insight into the uniqueness of life here. First of all, almost all the receipts are handwritten in the local language, Dari. Secondly, we cannot figure out the dates, since they are dated using the Afghanistan calendar, which is different from ours Finally, the numbers are written in Arabic script, which we can barely recognize. Even processing a single payment is a difficult task, as everything needs to be translated by our local staff. Moreover, you can encounter “loose” receipts time to time when you take a closer look. Dates are missing, there are incorrect calculations, so on and so on and then we have to ask again to get the correct one. All this is necessary, as we need to be accountable to the supporters for our activities and make appropriate reports.
I have often thought that it is necessary for us, who support the people, to learn further a sense of delicate balance between respecting local cultures and maintaining the policies and standards for our activities.
August 30, 2007 in Afghanistan | Permalink
One observation of Afghan people is their sense of pride; they will do anything to hide feelings of shame from others. It is one of the important aspects that we need to pay attention to in relation to our staff management, as pride is an inevitable part of what motivates Afghans, including those who work at our office.
When we held a security workshop for the drivers, we were surprised to hear one of the drivers describe how it was the most unbearable shame to be asked not to resist and to obey the orders of the armed group when caught by them.
Pride in Afghanistan has survived in the way that throughout their history, the Afghans have never surrendered during war or invasion. Through this they feel that they have never lost the respect of and for the individuals, families, and even their nation despite the suffering of everlasting war and poverty. The driver’s statement symbolized their worry that by not resisting, their actions would betray Afghanistan’s sense of pride.
Due to its geopolitical importance, Afghanistan has always been used and suffered interference from the stronger countries. Consequences of this include twenty-five years of long civil war coupled with internal conflicts from religious and political aspects that can be triggered at any time by external interference.
Pride in Afghanistan is crucial to rebuild the nation while co-operating with and integrating the religion of the country. Outsiders like us should not impose the projects and interfere their life, and need to strongly support and unobtrusively co-operate to accomplish the rebuilding of Afghanistan together with them.
t that it is necessary for us, who support the people, to learn further a sense of delicate balance between respecting local cultures and maintaining the policies and standards for our activities.
Staff in JEN Afghanistan Office
August 9, 2007 in Afghanistan | Permalink
Distributing Dream Bags!
We have again started distributing dream bags to children this year!
This is the third consecutive year that we have carried out this project, which started in 2005. With the collaboration of RKK (Rissho Kosei-kai) 9,549 dream bags have been sent to Afghanistan. The dream bags are handmade by kids and their families in Japan, and they are as big as a supermarket bag.
They are full of stationery and toys that Japanese kids thought would make really nice presents. On June 26th we distributed 186 of these dream bags in KEIBO elementary school, located in the Akrobat region of Bamiyan Province.
The distance from Kabul to Bamiyan is 220km, or a one-day trip; and from there to the School is only 26 km but it takes one and a half hours due to the bad road conditions. A local NGO, as well as teachers and students, participated in the distribution of the dream bags.
The teachers and students welcomed us saying "thank you for bringing such wonderful presents to this remote region"
We still have 9,363 dream bags to distribute during 2007. Since this project started in Afghanistan in 2005, many schools in Parwan Province have already received the dream bags before, so we would like to take the dream bags to more remote places this time. And bring those children what their Japanese friends prepared for them with so much love.
July 26, 2007 in Afghanistan | Permalink
In the Future (a memory of a field officer)
The projects I devoted myself to in Afghanistan involved daily dialogue with people exposing the realities of their lives. I left Afghanistan, therefore, with a belief in the need for solidarity among Afghan communities.
JEN had played an important role in empowering individuals by increasing assets and restoring a sense of safety and stability through our assistance projects. However, these conventional, individual-based relief activities began to be replaced by new strategies based upon building strength among communities in order for sustainable, long-term development.
I realised that to do this a psychological approach was essential: after a disaster, during which society has completely broken down, people’s fears to survive prevent them from working together. First, there is a need to work to regain solidarity amongst those people. Only when the solidarity is restored can the community start to become more self-reliant.
Afghanistan is a country exhausted by twenty years of struggle. JEN must continue our projects until the day when the Afghan people recognise a world where they live in confidence and with respect and in mutual support of each other.
March 29, 2007 in Afghanistan | Permalink
They Studied a Two-Hour Day, Six Days per Week for Nine Months
JEN closed its one-year literacy project in Kabul in the end of January. As a part of the project, 147 Afghan adults completed a nine-month course in Kabul last November. They celebrated their certificate with municipal workers. A survey shows that the course was successful in enlightening Afghan adults about the importance of basic literacy. Participants regularly came to class a two-hour day, six days per week for nine months. In addition, they willingly delivered their new knowledge after class to their families at home.
Initially, three fourth of participants could not use a telephone because they did not know numbers. Now all of them are pleased that they became able to make themselves understood in writing numbers and words. In the classroom, for example, they communicate in writing about what they want, how they can get it, and which obstacles they expect to get it.
The school year starts in Afghanistan in the end of March as soon as the long and severe winter goes by. JEN, after completing its project, would continue to support public literacy courses to promote adult literacy skills further.
February 8, 2007 in Afghanistan | Permalink
For the future of Charikar
~ The renovation and cleaning project of the groundwater canal~
JEN is currently conducting projects in Charikar, the capital of Parwan Province, where shortage of water is a serious problem for the population of 100,000. They cannot expect rain during the long summer and all the water that runs in the area is changed to muddy water during the winter. Amid growing concerns that this situation, we could achieve recovery and cleaning underground waterway that had been destructed in the consequence of civil conflict since Parwan administration for 40 years.
On October 10th, we had a ceremony to celebrate the start of the construction with the governor of Parwan and the mayor of Charikar as well as invited officials of MOFA (Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs) . Although we expect some dangerous work will be involved, we will aim at the success of this project, using the most of the wisdom and experience of the local people who had built a long underground canal in the past.
November 9, 2006 in Afghanistan | Permalink
A Gift from God
JEN started drinking water projects in the Province of Parwan in collaboration with the municipal government. The Province, despite its potential for economic development as situating in the outskirt of the city of Kabul, has affronted a serious lack of safe drinking water. In the meantime, unclean water has seriously affected lives of local populations and repatriated refugees in the Province. JEN’s irrigation projects aim to provide safe clean water by restoring destroyed water pipes and canalising available fountains.
Villages are sensitive about their water rights. Local people finally approved JEN’s neutral projects, believing that water is a divine gift from God and thus one should share equally through the JEN’s projects without any discrimination. The divine water blesses hopefully the future of Afghan population.
September 14, 2006 in Afghanistan | Permalink
A Dream Come True-The Woolang School, Complete!
The Woolang School, that had been under construction since last August as part of the MOFA (Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs) funded "Parwan Province Returnee Support Project," finally saw its completion on the 15th of June, 2006. Many distinguished guests, including the Governor of Parwan, Chief of the Education Bureau, and Secretary from the Japanese Embassy attended the opening ceremony that was held to celebrate the memorable day.
The Principal of the school, Mr Abdulluh Sabul, is a man that recognizes the importance of education. He has petitioned the Afghani government and numerous support groups to build more schools in the country, as well as visited the JEN office in Kabul. Since there was no assurance of funding, we supplied 5 large tents to substitute as schools. However, being situated in harsh lands, at the bottom of valleys where the winds are strong, the tents became worn and tattered within the year. Therefore, the children did not have any other choice but to continue their studies inside dark, and occasionally torn tents.
The opening of the Woolang School marked the day when Mr Sabul's hopes and dreams for the children were finally realized-324 boys and 305 girls, divided into morning and afternoon classes, were able to begin their studies in a brand new school building.
July 20, 2006 in Afghanistan | Permalink
A Girl’s School Ready to Open in Remote Village
The Shiwa Girl’s School, located in a remote village in the mountains of Parwan province, was completed at the end of March in time for the new school semester. (…after 7 months of construction.)
Since the school was planned to be built upon a hill, the project began from flattening out the land. The next step was building a road leading to the construction site; however, there were times when trucks carrying building materials too heavy for its load stalled halfway, and the material had to be reloaded onto a smaller truck. The project also faced some trouble with securing water essential for the construction-the water pump, used to pump up the water from the reservoir built beneath the hill, as well as the generator operating the pump, often broke down which resulted in numerous interruptions of the project. (…water drawn from the village waterway)
In spite of such difficulties faced, when greeted with the girls’ big smiles on the day of the school opening, we could not help but feel joy in being able to see the completion of the school, as well as strongly hope for the bright future of these children.
May 30, 2006 in Afghanistan | Permalink