02/16/2017

Difficulty of timing of rain

The anxiety caused by drought due to climate change in Sri Lanka was discussed in our previous staff blog. However, this time we are writing of the damage to farming caused by rain.
Once the rainy season begins, many families in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu cultivate beans such as black eyed peas, azuki beans, peanuts etc. They utilize huge plots of land, ranging from 500 square metres to 1000 square metres, which is beyond the imagination of ordinary families in Japan, and which allows them to harvest between 35 kg to 50 kg of beans.
The harvested beans are divided into three portions; those to sell at market, those to eat at home, and those to preserve as seeds for the next cultivation. Beans which are preserved as seeds for next time will be planted for longer and dried naturally.
Once these beans are harvested, they are stored in a dry place for 45 days. After that, people can plant these beans as seeds again. If beans are not dried enough and then planted as they are, an abundant crop of beans cannot be expected even if the seeds sprout. 
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[Cultivation full of black eyed peas in farmland]
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[Dried mung beans as seeds for cultivation]
Since black eyed peas and azuki beans do not require much water, lots of seeds could be
harvested this season notwithstanding the small amount of rainfall.
However, during this year’s harvest, heavy rain continued for a week in Mullaitivu damaging seeds which need to be dried naturally. Wet crops sprout easily so they are not suitable for food.
Moreover, they cannot be used as seeds for the next cultiv ation as they aren’t sufficiently dried. Farmers regretfully showed us their damaged crops.
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[Black eyed peas which sprouted due to rain]
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[Damaged mung beans]
Thus, it doesn’t rain when it’s necessary but on the other hand, it rains when sunshine is needed. This often occurring situation repeatedly places those people reliant upon farming for their living into a vulnerable position.
In Sri Lanka, where the weather is continuously unstable due to climate change, a further measure to minimize this risk is required.

February 16, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

01/19/2017

2017, A Year of Drought

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "Disaster"? Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, landslides and what not come to mind easily, but how many in Japan would consider drought?

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{Image shows a totally dried field, drought is a great concern across the world}

Droughts are long lasting water shortage caused by lack of rain. Unlike earthquakes and tsunamis, droughts start in an unspectacular manner causing water and sanitation problems as well as food crisis so that many people suffer from poverty.

Consequently, droughts are often referred to as a "silent killer". Sri Lanka has seen nine droughts in the past ten years, and around 310,000 people have been affected. For farmers, lack of water can be a matter of life and death.

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[Dried water reservoir, in normal conditions, the water level should reach the road]
 
Because of the monsoon season in Sri Lanka there are two major harvesting seasons, Maha (September through March) and Yara (May through August).  Almost all of the rice consumed in Sri Lanka is harvested during these seasons.

Many farmers use rain water to run large-scale farming operations, however, this year drought has damaged yields from much of the harvest. Many in Sri Lanka fear drought during the dry season.

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[Water does not reach the pipeline that connects with the waterway]

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[A dried water way and drying rice fields]

Because of this concern, JEN is planning to strengthen the capability of disaster mitigation and prevention in Sri Lanka in 2017, including drought countermeasures.

Our goal is to support the self-help capability in individual families and communities so that people do not fall back into poverty. Our team will do our best to achieve our goal.

January 19, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

12/15/2016

Revitalization in Thampakamam area

Time flies, and 2016 is almost over. I would like to report on developments in the Thampakamam area of Kilinochchi District, where JEN is providing assistance through a local project.

The Thampakamam area had been under military control until quite recently. The land was handed back to former residents in December 2015, who started coming back to resume their lives in the area in January 2016. Houses, water sources, and vegetation were destroyed by intense combat during the civil war.

Since the area was held by the military following the end of the war, there had been no sign of reconstruction even 6 years after the war. When JEN visited the area in May 2016 for a baseline survey of the income, poverty levels, and living conditions of the project participants, what we found there was a desert, which is not supposed to exist in Sri Lanka.

About 155 families in the area were dependent on two public wells built by the government and two water tanks supplying 2000 litres each day, so it was impossible to secure enough water for agriculture.

Many of the houses were simple structures of thin concrete walls covered with palm leaves or tin sheets, and some of the families were still living in tents.

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[Thampakamam area in May 2016]

After seven months, most of the families have started building their houses with government support. The construction of 13 wells supported by JEN was completed in October, and we are in the final stage of construction of the agricultural cooperative association center, which is designed for people in the community to gather and work together.

The rainy season started in November, and large-scale agriculture was resumed for the first time in this area after the civil war.

Farming activities are taking place using seeds and seedlings distributed in late November, as well as water retrieved from the wells. In the Thampakamam area, which had been covered by sand back in May, we can now see houses, wells, fences set up between houses, and a green landscape thanks to resumed agriculture.

It gives JEN staff delight and a sense of achievement to see the extent of development carried out by the residents in such a short period.

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[Construction of wells in the Thampakamam area]

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[Kids excited with distribution of seeds and seedlings]

2016 was a year of many changes for the residents of Thampakamam area. Also for JEN’s Sri Lanka team, it was a year of much learning through working step by step with the local people for enriched lives in the community. 4 months remain until the completion of JEN’s current project.

Many tasks remain for JEN, including establishing an agricultural cooperative and boosting its activities, and further promoting agriculture.

JEN’s staff are committed to working together with the local people to strengthen the community’s self-reliance, and looking forward to contributing to their development and sharing their joy in the coming April.

We appreciate your continuous support through 2017.

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[Participants of the project in the Thampakamam area]       

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[Vegetation coming back to the Thampakamam area]

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

December 15, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

12/01/2016

Record Growth of Stray Dogs

The presence of animals is an essential part of life in Sri Lanka. Since there are many farmers in the north, you can see buffalos, cows, goats and poultry all used in daily farming. The most common animal to see are dogs.

Watch dogs are very important in the north of the country as, despite the recovery efforts underway, many homes don’t have doors, windows, or yards surrounded by walls due to the destruction the north suffered during the civil war.

Different from Japan, dog owners generally let their dogs remain free to roam
, despite not spaying or neutering them.  As a result, there are many stray dogs. There is no animal shelter or place to take care of stray dogs and so the stray dogs have to survive by scavenging food from garbage.

Previously, JEN’s Sri Lanka office saved 4 puppies, each about 1 to 2 months of age, and, while looking for new homes to adopt these puppies, JEN’s staff raised the dogs at their own expense. Each puppy, not having a parent or a person to look after them, lived in hunger and in unsanitary conditions leading them to get fleas and roundworms as well as skin diseases.

Now, after a month of being with JEN, they have completely changed. We are temporarily taking care of these dogs until they are adopted by a stable home, but we are happy to see puppies with different personalities growing together.



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[Brother and sister puppies “Momo” and “Big brother”]



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[”Hime”, the third puppy to come to our office, and newcomer “Kuromaro”. Kuromaro will be adopted by the local staff and Hime is now preparing to go to Japan]


Last week we decided to take the brother and sister puppies which first came to our office to the Subramanyam family living in Anaiviluntan locality, which have joined with JEN programs. They say they can take care of puppies responsibly as they are able to obtain more income through farming after they complete their water well.

This family first came to Kilinochchi from Kandy during the 1970’s persecution by the government. They evacuated to Vavuniya in 2009 during the civil war and came back to Anaiviluntan after a year. They used to live in a house made of soil and coconut leaves at the time as they lost their house in the war.

Today they have built a house with assistance from the government and are raising 3 goats and some chickens. Also they can fully undertake their farming using the water well, with the expectation that it will increase their income. We are looking forward to seeing the puppies grow with the family.



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[Living happily in the Subramanyam family with the new names “Tommy” and “Puppy”]



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[With the water well which JEN supported]

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

December 1, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

11/17/2016

The Establishment of an Agricultural Cooperative

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

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

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

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

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

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


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[People from various districts attended the workshop and discussed agricultural
co-operatives]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 17, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

11/04/2016

Capacity Building Training for JEN Staff

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

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

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

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


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Group workshop on negotiation

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

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

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

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

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

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JEN staff listening carefully during the workshop

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

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


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


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

 

November 4, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

10/20/2016

Construction of Thampakamam Community Center with Ford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 20, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

10/06/2016

Agricultural Workshop in Mullaitivu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

October 6, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

09/23/2016

Registration of Young Farmers’ Society

In 2015, JEN founded a new agricultural cooperative in Othiyamalai, Mullaitive District. This cooperative aimed to support community rehabilitation for the people who had evacuated and returned after the civil war. In last term’s project, we provided this cooperative with machines to make dried foods, so that the cooperative can increase its income by selling these foods made from agricultural produce raised with water from the newly built agricultural wells.

It took a very long time to have the cooperative officially registered and authorized as a local residents’ organization. The Othiyamalai cooperative, which entered the registration process as Young Farmer’s Society (YFS) last June, finally received the official registration certificate last month.

To be registered as YFS, all management members of the cooperative have to be 35 years old or younger. Since many of the families in the community that JEN is supporting are led by elderly members, we first asked them to select younger residents who are interested in agriculture and community building, as well as those who have potential to take leadership in the local community.

Then all members of the cooperative joined a discussion on what kind of processed product should be produced. Factors such as the demand for various processed goods, whether a market exists for the product, and price settings were considered, and then we decided to produce dried foods in Othiyamalai. Having the members involved in decision-making from the beginning allowed them to carry on their production activities even without the presence of JEN.

There are various conditions that have to be met to be registered as YFS. The first one is to hold regular meetings.

For all members of the YFS to cooperate in community building, they gather at least once a month to discuss issues and solutions related to dried food production, which are recorded in the meeting minutes.

Secondly, fixed fees have to be collected from each member and paid into the bank account managed by the YFS. At the last stage of the registration process, an expert on agriculture from the District Department of Agriculture visits the YFS, and the documents are handed over to the Department of Agriculture. Following the submission, it may take several months before the official approval is given.

JEN has established agricultural cooperatives in 7 districts so far. In Visuwamadu East and Visuwamad West, which were supported in 2013, the cooperatives are making compost. The sales from the compost along with the accumulated membership fees have increased the income of the cooperative, thereby helping to strengthen the community.


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【Members of the agricultural cooperative at Othiyamalai】

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【YFS certificate of registration】

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

September 23, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

09/01/2016

Hosted support workshop for community improvement

JEN’s current projects are not limited solely to hard infrastructure projects, such as well construction and other similar activities, but also include activities focused on improving community support services which were destroyed when people were forced to evacuate from their communities during the civil war.
Following the end of the civil war, as many people re-settled in different communities to the ones they fled, they, together with participants in JEN’s project, have had to build entirely new social relationships within these communities.
In order for the community to be united and improve people’s lives through cooperation, JEN held a support workshop aimed at community improvement for all project participants on 23 and 24 August.
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【JEN’s staff explaining the overview of the workshop to participants】

The aim of this workshop was to establish those skills necessary for carrying out community activities, such as leadership and goal setting in the community as well to develop strategies to assist problem solving among the team.   
We invited two lecturers, experienced in team building, training, and mentoring, to attend the workshop with the results being so positive that many people actively participated in the various activities such as games and short role-plays.
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【Participants enthusiastically listening to the lecturer’s talk】

In the first session, participants were divided into several groups within which they discussed common issues that they face and relevant solutions.  These groups then discussed with the wider workshop the particular types of skills and areas of knowledge that are needed to address the identified issues.
Participants also discussed their ideas about which institutions they should seek assistance from in the event of various issues arising among the community.  We believe that we can provide these participants with useful and relevant information by collating information through case studies concerning regular issues faced daily by the participants.
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【Participants solving problems experienced in the community through a short play】

In the last session, each participant announced their hopes for the future and their vision of their lives after construction of the wells was complete and the participants were able to increase their income.
In addition to gaining more income through agriculture, some participants told us of their big dreams such as opening a store and expanding the business, through the purchase of livestock, to include the sale of dairy products.
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【Trainer asking each participant about their future vision.】

In this project, we plan to form an agricultural cooperative association by supporting community improvement. We hope that this workshop will lead to the establishment of a more powerful organization and bring bigger achievements to the community.
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【Participants from Mullaitivu District】

September 1, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

08/18/2016

Difficulty in constructing the well

Hi, my name is Shudo, I am a supporter of JEN Sri Lanka. About one month has passed since I came to Sri Lanka and I’ve gotten used to the hot climate and local meals.

Now, in Sri Lanka, the well construction of this term has begun.

The problem we face first in well construction is the inflow of ground water at work. As rain water springs out, we are forced to drain the water while digging. In order to avoid this, we try to carry out construction during the dry season. Even during the dry season, water sometimes gathers affected by the height of ground water or sudden showers, so we have to continue the work draining off water by human power or machinery.

The problem we face second is the nature of the soil. When the ground is solid, the excavation method is adopted, where concrete blocks are piled up after digging the ground from its surface at one try with an excavator is adopted. However, when the ground is soft, a different method called a step-down method to lower the well itself little by little constructing the wall around it is adopted.

[The step-down method - they are digging down the well piling up blocks]
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The other day, an accident happened at the area where the latter method was adopted. The well went down and caused a crack of the wall. 
The reason may be that workers gave priority to speed and efficiency in order to have finished the work as soon as possible before the rainy season came. In other areas, however, the work in the same process as this went smoothly without any problem. We fully realize how much the well construction depends on environment.   

[The crack brought about in the step-down process]
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As the result of talking between JEN’s engineers in charge and constructors, they tried to dig out by human power so that they could dig the surroundings of the well evenly without giving shock to the foundation of the well and lower it at a slow speed keeping the level. Consequently, the work proceeded without any cracks, so we decided to dig out all 13 wells not with machinery but by human power in this area.

[JEN’s engineers are talking with builders about the solution to the cracked well]
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[Workers are digging down by themselves]
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The well is indispensable for people to engage in agriculture smoothly in the area where they have limited access to water.
The phrase “For such a construction as this, we have to go on digging by human hands” sounds primitive; if possible, we dare to say “we have to dig by human hands”’ not being afraid of misunderstanding. This is, however, the best way we chose after talking on the spot and we think it as desirable.

We only wish this construction will go on without running into difficulties from now on. The accident this time made us become aware that when engineers and constructors go on with the well construction through giving advice to each other and co-operating, we’ll be able to supply people of the community with wells satisfactorily.



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

August 18, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

08/04/2016

The construction of a well has been started!

In Sri Lanka, the construction of a well, which is one of the main activities in the current projects, took off in July.
Agrowells are essential for those who are living in areas where only rainfed agriculture is possible, but access is currently limited.
JEN plans to construct 24 wells for 93 households in the next two months.
A 10-meter hole will be dug and blocks will be piled up from the bottom, so that almost all of the work will be done in the ground.
In areas where this project will take place, the quantity of groundwater is large so the construction sites are covered with groundwater once it rains. This makes very difficult to proceed with construction since frequent drains are needed while working on the construction.
For this reason, the plan is to finish by October when the rainy season starts in northern Sri Lanka. 
In the process of construction of a well, there are main steps such as excavation, stonemason, plastering, and measuring the amount of water. As for now, excavation has been completed on almost all wells that our constructor has started working on. Although excavation is done with power shovel, it often happens to be bedrocks on a couple of meters from the ground, which are hard to break with power shovel. In that case, a jumbo breaker is used to break them to proceed with excavation.
[The excavation with a power shovel]
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Local people who are looking forward to have agrowells have started preparing small seed beds in order to start farming at the same time of accomplishment of wells. Also there are some people who try to draw water from an excavated hole using a bucket and a rope when the excavation finished because there is plenty of water in the hole which will become a well.
We will continue monitoring the construction of wells for people like this who have high motivation to start farming as soon as possible.
[The preparation of a seed bed in order to start farming at the same time of an accomplishment of a well]
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[People are drawing water from an excavated hole]
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[Blocks for stonemason are also handmade]
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[Hopeful that this land is filled with vegetables a few months later]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

August 4, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

07/21/2016

From the trip to Sri Lanka

The Tokyo office’s staff in charge of projects in Sri Lanka visited Sri Lanka to inspect past projects, the agricultural well that was built, and the activities of the agricultural cooperative. I would like to take the opportunity to report on it.
I left Japan on July 3rd, and arrived at Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport. The airport is 34 km from the city of Colombo, but now we can use the highway, and takes around 45 minutes to reach the city by car.
Since the end of the civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka has undergone rapid economic development. Especially in Colombo, many hotels are being constructed, and in coastal areas there were many high-rise buildings being built.
In contrast, agricultural areas are left behind that the gap between the city and the agricultural areas is widening. In particular, the northern parts of Sri Lanka such as Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu prefectures were areas of severe fighting, and now many residents are leading uncertain lives because many had to flee their homes.
Even after returning to their homes following the end of the civil war, families lived on agriculture are laden with problems, since the war destroyed many of their agricultural equipment and facilities.
In response to this, JEN has been implementing a long-term project on economic recovery for returning residents through agriculture and rehabilitation support business. Through this visit, I saw how the participants were able to return to independent agriculture, and confirmed the effects of the project.
[Kilinochichi Station, closest station from the Main Office of JEN’s Sri Lanka Branch]
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After 7 hours of a bumpy train ride from Colombo, we reached the nearest station to JEN’s main office in Sri Lanka. Snacks and lunches are sold during the ride, so you can enjoy the Sri Lanka cuisine on the way.
[Water storage tank in the Kilinochichi city that was bombed during the civil war]
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Like this, in the city there are still places where you can see traces of the civil war. I get shivers when I imagine the bomb that destroyed such a big water storage tank.
[The member of the Agricultural Co-operation]
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The photo shows the agricultural co-operation that was set up Mullaitivu prefecture in the 2014 project. The leader of the agricultural co-operation have been demonstrating leadership, and continuously running the co-operation. As the civil war intensified, to avoid danger, the residents had to escape. However, they have been able to return to their homes and have been working on building back their income. Though the visit, I felt the strength and courage of the affected communities.
[Cutting mangoes]
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Dried fruits are made with a food dryer at the agricultural co-operation. Little by little, they are raising some income from its sales.
[Dried Papayas]
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I had a chance to taste them. The sweetness was condensed and it was very delicious!
[The well for agricultural use that was built during last year’s project]
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The well is being used together by two families. When I visited, they kindly gave me some vegetables as presents!
[Fruits and vegetables that I received from the Agricultural Co-operation when I visited]
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Every time I visited project sites, the people of the agricultural co-operation offered me freshly harvested pumpkins, peanuts, papaya, and eggplants. I was touched by the hospitality of the people of Sri Lanka.
Through this first visit to Sri Lanka, I was able to see the efforts of the people who suffered the long civil war but still try to rebuild their lives. Seeing this helped me reconfirm that JEN’s projects are effective.
Also, even though they continue to live difficult lives, they were so kind to this Japanese visitor, and even gave us souvenirs. I truly felt their kindness. Also, I was able to learn local traditions and mindsets, which gave me time to rethink about my own life. I believe that their spirit of hospitality will play an important role in supporting the Sri Lankan society as is grows.
To support these people of Sri Lanka through projects in Japan, we will continue to work hard! The project to enforce community relations will still be running, so I hope that you will continue to support us.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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July 21, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

07/07/2016

First Birthday Party

Today, we would like to introduce Sri Lankan culture that celebrates children.

Gorgeously celebrating child’s first birthday is a common practice in Sri Lanka. It is similar to Japanese “Shichi Go San” event, a celebration of child’s third, fifth and seventh birthdays. Last weekend, Mr. Sutharson, who is a technical officer, invited JEN’s staff in Sri Lanka Office to his son’s first birthday party.

Approximately 50 people joined the party. There were not only family members but also colleagues from work. The party started with pouring a tray full of traditional sweets called Kolukkadai, pens, notebooks, a car key, money, etc.  from the top of the birthday child’s head.
     

[The act of pouring Kolukkadai to birthday child’s head]
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[Thinking which one to pick]
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After that, a slide show of the child’s first year of life was shown on a screen, sharing his progress with people at the party. The slide show was full-scale with music, similar to the ones shown at Japanese wedding parties.

Then, the birthday boy entered the stage driving a toy car, and took photos with his  relatives and friends from the neighborhood. Three professional photographers and movie cameramen were hired to record the party.

After cutting a cake and making it through photo shoots, all attendees had a meal together and the party ended.
  

[Mr. Sutharson’s son enters the stage driving a toy car]
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[Party venue]
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It was a three-hour party. All the family prepared for their son’s special event. We felt that their relatives, neighbors, people in their communities, and colleages all celebrated and supported the child’s growth.

Sri Lanka suffered many years of civil war. However, an event like this may be a sign suggesting community bond is back.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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July 7, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

06/23/2016

How to cope with the dry season in Sri Lanka

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Do you know what this photo is about?

This pot, made by cement, is a rainwater-harvesting tank that is used in Sri Lanka. We don’t see such pots in Japan, but it is used to save rainwater during the dry season. The size varies from 5,000 liters to 30,000 liters. The shape of the pots also varies, from pots like the pumpkin-shape pot in the photo, to pots that are either half or fully buried in the ground.

Saved water in the rainwater-harvesting tank is used every day for drinking and washing and can also be used for agriculture.

In Sri Lanka, people used to save rainwater in an artificial reservoir maintained from long ago. However, people have recently begun using tanks like this at their homes. Now, tens of thousands of tanks are used mainly in agricultural areas.

The tank saves rainwater through a downpipe from a roof. It provides water for families even when they face water shortages during the dry season. It may be low technology, but we can describe it as a revolution.

Sri Lanka may be famous for being a country with a lot of rain, however, the annual precipitation in the northern area of the country is only 1,200 mm, which is less than the annual precipitation recorded in Tokyo. Therefore, water storage and water-saving measures are a matter of life and death for people living in this region.

You may be concerned about drinking rainwater, but the air in rural areas is clean. Hence, the rainwater is not contaminated with pollution and causes no problem for use in everyday life. Depending on the family, some people do choose to chlorinate the collected rainwater.

The rainwater-harvesting tank has many advantages including, for example, providing accessibility to safe water during the dry season and assisting with preventing flooding during the rainy season. However, it also has certain disadvantages, such as the expensive construction fee, making it difficult to obtain the tank for low-income households in rural areas. The government provides subsidies to assist in solving such issues, but they still need to promote it.



【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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June 23, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

06/09/2016

Introduction of Sri Lanka Office Staff (Technical / Logistics Team)

[Kugan (Kilinochchi Field Officer)]

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I am Kugan and I live in Kilinochchi. I have six members in my family. My father is a farmer and my mother is a Housewife. I have two brothers and a sister. I got married last year.

I have completed Secondary education and am now in my second year of external degree in Social science at University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka.  I have been working with JEN for 3 years now. JEN supports disaster affected people in Sri Lanka and our current project name is “Assistance in Livelihood and Community Strengthening for Returnees in the North”.  As Field Officer, I spend the time mostly with our Beneficiaries, encouraging them to strengthen their income base through agriculture using our assistance.  My aim is to enhance support to the people with special needs or people with disabilities and see them live with equal rights enjoyed by other people. 

In my free time I engage in social work in my own village. My other field of interests are playing, reading story books and talking with people. About my Achievements, I passed the Degree in social science course and recently obtained the certificate.

[Ashok (Kilinochchi/Mullaitivu Senior Technical Officer)]

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I am Ashok Kumar known as Ashok working for JEN for nearly two years in JEN. I entered JEN in the capacity of Technical Officer from October 2014 and was promoted as Senior Technical Officer in March 2015. I spend my time mostly with our beneficiaries and designing wells and constructing agro wells to the selected beneficiaries to uplift the living standard.

I prefer to work for JEN since JEN is giving comprehensive support to the selected beneficiaries in the field of Agriculture. I have over 28 years of experience in UN, INGOs and in national NGOs.

In my past experience, I worked closely with civil society organizations to write proposals and implement projects to enhance community development through business, agriculture, environment protection, good governance, human rights and climate change. I have particular interest in working with vulnerable communities and groups such as IDPs, abused Children, and Single parent families, disable persons, war and post war conditions.

I enjoy bird watching as a hobby and often go to the natural tanks to see the birds in the morning. I put my hammock up and wait to see the beautiful birds with my binoculars.  Once I almost got attacked by an elephant while visiting a site!

[Niroshan (Kilinochchi Technical Officer)]

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My name is A. Niroshan and I live in Vavuniya.  I was originally living in Jaffna, but was displaced in 1995 during the war.

I have completed my Secondary education in Technical studies in the field of Civil Engineering (NCT Civil), then completed advance diploma in Civil Engineering in City and Guilds. Formerly, I worked with Road Development Department (RDD) in 2009 and then moved to District Rehabilitation Resettlement Secretariat (DRRS) in Vavuniya. My first experience with NGO started with my work with Room to Read as engineer.

I am currently working with JEN as Technical Officer, working for the war affected resettled population in the north of Sri Lanka.  I have been with JEN for almost 1 year.  As Technical Officer, I spend my time mostly with our beneficiaries in monitoring the construction of agro wells and community buildings like ACS.

I enjoy spending my time in the nature and having pets and aquarium. My special interests are in fancy birds like lovebirds.

[Dilson (Kilinochchi Technical Officer)]
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I am Chandrasingha Dilson. I am qualified in the field of Civil Engineering and have been working with JEN since 2013. Initially I started my career in JEN as Logistic Officer and then moved to the Technical officer position since I had experience and qualification in the technical field.  I like my position as technical officer and as it is more related to the field of my study.
I am interested in addressing the issues of global warming and have been involved in organic agriculture, Aqua culture and the coconut estate farming through environmentally friendly approaches. I am also involved in ornament collection and enjoy collecting antique books. In my free time, I also develop my technical studies in the relevant field to update my professional qualification.
I like to work with the communities through JEN’s work. JEN’s approach also very much interests me and am looking forward to continuing to work with JEN through the current project.


[Sutharsan (Mullaitivu Technical Officer)]
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I am selvakumar- Sutharsan. I was bon 1981-05-03, and I lived in Visuvamadu, Mullaitivu.  I have finished my highest study of Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering (HNDE (civil)) at ATI Jaffna. I have a 13-year experience in construction field, including serving as a consultant at construction sites. I have a wonderful opportunity to join JEN on 1 October 2015. This is the great opportunity to work with vulnerable people and I definitely give my best in this people.

In my work with JEN, I was responsible for monitoring the well construction in Othiyamalai and Tachchadampan work sites.  Under my supervision, JEN worked with the contractors to complete 10 wells in Othiyamalai and 5 wells in Tachchadampan.  In that process, I helped with the contractor selection too. I was also responsible for completing the ACS building at Othiyamalai. My responsibilities included reporting on major issues and solving each problem in coordination with the Senior Technical Officer and Project officer.

For the current project, I have worked with the team to conduct the baseline survey work, BOQ preparation for the wells and contributed to the well design.

[Freedan (Kilinochchi Logistics Officer)]
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Hello everybody my name is Freedan. Am working For JEN as a logistic officer in Kilinochchi. I was born in 1989 in Kilinochchi. Due to the civil war, I went to Colombo and I completed my studies in Colombo.

I started my career with Medecins Sans Frontieres – Holland (INGO) as a Register Officer, Supervisor and a Translator. Then I moved to UNOPS, UNICEF, UNDP, Assistant commissioner of local government as data collecting supervisor in Manic Farm IDP Camp in Vavuniya.

In 2009 I came back to Kilinochchi and worked for the HALO Trust organization as a logistic officer for five years until Jan 2015. I also worked for Holcim Larfage Cement Company from Nov 2015 to May 2016 as a sales promotion officer in Kilinochchi.

With all this work experience, I am sure I can support JEN for the projects and I will work hard in order to achieve the organization’s goals. Once again I thank JEN for helping the poor people and helping these people to build their lives better.


【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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June 9, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

05/26/2016

Tropical Cyclone Roanu hits Sri Lanka

Between 14-16 May 2016, Sri Lanka was it by a major Tropical Cyclone Roanu.  Roanu brought unprecedented amount of rain to many parts of Sri Lanka, causing landslides and floods in the central and eastern part of Sri Lanka. From the disaster, 92 people were confirmed dead and 132 people were missing, with the number expected to rise. 

Out of all districts, Colombo and Gampaha districts were particularly heavily affected by the flood due to the overflowing of Kelani River and other canals. In both Colombo and Gampaha, more than 300,000 people were displaced at the peak. The number of displaced people is decreasing as the water recedes and people return to their homes.

In order to understand the situation better, JEN conducted a 2-day rapid needs assessment in Gampaha and Colombo, visiting heavily affected areas and shelters where people are still displaced.  Even after a week since the rain had stopped, many affected areas were still under few feet of water with some areas only accessible by boat. 

In Kolonnawa division where we visited, people were still stranded on the roof and the community had arranged a daily delivery of food, water and medicine by boat. 

During the needs assessment, it became clear that one of the major risks of flooding is the hygiene-related and health risks that the water brings. 
In many areas, the water had mixed with the dirty black water, which created a major health hazard to those who were displaced and are returning to the area. People had expressed that they are getting skin rashes or diarrhea having gone into water to access their homes. 
In order to prevent prolonging health risks after the water has receded, personal hygiene items such as soap and washing powder, as well as cleaning items like disinfectants are greatly needed.

[Flood-affected area in Kelaniya, Gampaha] 
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[Much water remains in Wattala, Gampaha]
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Though the situation is dire, we also witnessed the strength of local government and local communities to come together to provide assistance to those who are in need.  In all of the areas we visited, the local government and community reacted quickly to provide immediate assistance of food, water and temporary shelter. 

In areas where the local government had not reached, the communities were arranging their own relief activities. Now they are in the second phase where most people are returning to their homes. 

For low-income families who have lost almost everything, assistance is needed to help them resettle back into their normal lives.
          
[Community delivering water, food and medicine]
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[Half-submerged house in Kaduwella, Colombo]
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[This place is usually a road]
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[Temporary shelter set up by the government]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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May 26, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

05/12/2016

Introduction of Sri Lanka office staff (Field staff)

In continuation from the past blog, we will introduce local staff from Sri Lanka. We will introduce field and back office staff in Kilinochchi and Mullaitive offices.

Mr. Suresh – Project Officer, responsible for the projects in Kilinochchi and Mullaitive.

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I was born in Jaffna. I graduated high school and technical college. I fled from Jaffna due to the civil war in 1995, and I had no choice but to go overseas because job opportunity and public security were unstable in my country. I learned various skills abroad. Having worked as a mechanic for three years, I worked for a hotel for seven years. After the end of the civil war, I came back to Sri Lanka and settled in Vavuniya, the northern part of the country. Now I try to spend as much time as possible with my son and daughter.

Getting a job at Sevalanka, Sri Lanka's NGO, made me start my career in the field of humanitarian support. I joined JEN as field officer in 2008 May. Now I work hard everyday as a project officer. I express my gratitude to my colleagues and international staff for giving me a bright future. As business promoter, I have recently been trying to focus on managing time and developing new ideas, as well as motivating the team.

In the future, I want to contribute to the country's green revolution by developing model farms with water saving faculty and connecting local farms with oversea markets.

Mr. Addikallam – Field officer at Mullaitive office; responsible for the cooperation with other support entities.

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My name is Addikallam. I have been a field officer of JEN since 2012. I am 36 years old and am from Vavuniya. My family business is farming. I fled from Vavuniya in 1990 due to the civil war, and entered a catholic theologian school to become a priest. I studied there for three years, but left it in order to support my family, who had become refugees. In 2009, when the civil war ended, I came back to Vavuniya, and got a job as a counselor at an NGO providing mental and social support. After that, I obtained a qualification at “National Institute of Social Development” for my career enhancement in the field of humanitarian support. In 2011, I joined an NGO named ORHAN, which supports disabled people. Besides that, I started farming at home.

Since I got a job at JEN, I have learned various skills in agriculture, such as composting by organic farming, making organic fertilizer and saving agricultural water. JEN has been supporting livelihood rehabilitation assistance through farming in the northern part of the country since 2013. I contributed to the project's success by the use of my background as farmer and the knowledge I had learned in JEN.

The project from 2016 to 2017 will cover the towns of Thanduvan and Ampakamam in Oddusuddan, Mullaitive. They used to be flourishing agricultural areas before the civil war. Yet the residents fled due to the war, and the facilities in need for farming were totally destroyed. JEN is now conducting preliminary survey in order to prioritize the support targets. I am proud of helping people who lost everything in the war recover their livelihood again.

Ms. Gamini  – accountant at Killinochchi office

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Hello. I am Gaminieesa. I have been working for JEN's Killinochchi office as accountant since 2015. I find it rewarding to work together with people in need and provide support to weakened communities. I am also pleased to learn new skills and techniques.

Though my specialty is basically accounting, I have been responsible for general affairs, accounting and logistics at the scenes of emergency support. I used to take care of a shelter program in UN-Habitat for a short time, though. It was a precious experience that I had a chance to talk directly with the victims in the civil war through the program.

I am grateful to JEN for its support to refugees and returnees since 2004, as well as the Japanese people for making the support possible. I am proud of helping the victims of the tsunami and the civil war. I also hope that JEN's projects support more people.

Ms. Gaya– general affairs staff at Killinochchi office

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Hello everyone! I am Gaya. I am from Vavuniya. I have been working for JEN as general affairs staff since this February. I started my career in the field of humanitarian support since I worked for Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) as general affairs staff for three years. My job in FSD was to remove land mines embedded during the civil war, and provide land mine education with the local communities. After FSD, I worked for UN-Habitat as database operator for three years. UN-Habitat conducts a shelter projects for the returnees.

In the future, I hope to continue to support suffering communities in the northern part of the country.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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May 12, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

04/21/2016

Introduction of our staffs in Colombo office

Introduction of our staffs in Colombo office

We have started our new project to assist people returning from displacement to regain their livelihood through agriculture since March 22nd, 2016. This will be our 11th year since JEN started our project in Sri Lanka.  As this year will conclude our agricultural livelihood project in Northern part of Sri Lanka, all of the staffs need to be united stronger than ever.  Now, we have three offices in Sri Lanka; Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Colombo.  To assist all of the staffs and the project, we have two staffs in charge of back-office services in Colombo office. Let us introduce them today. 

Jonathan-san is responsible for administration and Aparna-san is in charge of finance.  Their job is not only working with internal staffs but also keeping good relationships with the relevant government officers, banks and other organizations.  Below is their self-introduction:

[Jonathan-san]
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I joined Japan Emergency NGO (JEN) Organization in June 2009. The main objective of joining JEN was to serve as an active member and extend the support that was needed in numerous projects they were handling to help the poor people to have a better livelihood. In 2005 JEN had many projects to support Tsunami affected areas in Southern and later in Eastern Provinces in Sri Lanka. In 2009 JEN had projects to support internally displaced people (IDP) in the Northern Province. I was privileged to work in this organization where I was a member to support the underprivileged people who were affected in the war.

My main job is Human resource management, Security management, Asset management, Procurement and stakeholder management.

Further considering new project, my goal is to do my best for JEN to support the people in the North. Also I believe it will help to develop livelihood of people in Northern Province of Sri Lanka. We Sri Lankans are thankful to JEN and people of Japan for their assistance in developing people’s lifestyle. My earnest hope is that JEN activities will expand in other parts of Sri Lanka as well.

[Aparna-san]
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I joined with JEN January 2010. I’m working here for past six years with wonderful International staff. Based on my interest in humanitarian work field I applied for the JEN Finance assistant post in 2010. I was really happy about that chance I got because that covers both my education experience and interest. I’m currently working as Finance Officer of JEN Colombo office. But depending on my duties I have gone to Kilinochchi, Mullaithive & Batticala projects sites several times and witnessed all good works JEN has done in war-damaged areas.

JEN work has good value in Sri Lanka because Sri Lankan Economy is based on Agriculture. JEN is helping the farmers by helping them to have a smooth supply of water for farming. When they have water they can cultivate whole year and no need to wait for rain.

About me I like animals. I have a pet dog in my home too. In my free time I really like to read books, watch English & Korean Dramas & Movies & listen to Music. And also I like to travel and watch beautiful places. In Sri Lanka there are many beautiful places to watch and most of the places have historical value. Now I‘m very happy about my life and my career goal with JEN is to get involved with their project and give my knowledge to their project in order to improve the lifestyle of the community.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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April 21, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

03/17/2016

Agriculture Exhibition Visit in Mannar District

On March 14, the staff of JEN visited the agricultural exhibition by the Northern Province Department of Agriculture in Mannar district. Some other project participants visited as part of a workshop to learn new skills
The theme of the exhibition was “Bringing Eco-friendly Agriculture to the Market” and it mainly featured/showcased water-saving technology such as aquaculture methods, trickle cultivation and sprinklers, various planting techniques, crop disease, and cultivation technology.

We especially took interest in drip technology (by slowly providing water directly to the surface of the soil and the root area, it is an irrigation system that minimizes the consumption of water and fertilizer). We hope that we can promote improvements in water management, organic farming, and the use of new crop species.

In addition, we inspected many cooperatives. These unions produce dry foods and products made from coconuts as well. JEN donated dry food producing units in the current project; it was stimulating for the project participants to witness the success of the machines.

[Different ways to produce fertilizers]
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[Planting at the Greenhouse]
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[Dry Food Producing Units that use Solar Energy]
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The Deputy Secretary of Kilinochchi District and Mullativu District also attended the exhibition, as well as research companies and organizations – who introduced new types of crops and species preservation technology. Mr.Kirushunan, one of the project members and exhibition participants, was impressed by the variety of dry foods that other cooperatives were selling. Mr. Kirushunan makes dry foods for his household now, and he says he would be able to produce enough to sell to neighboring villages with improved methods. The JEN staff and the project participants plan to study methods for packing these dry foods in the future.

JEN believes that supporting the project participants who experiment with the new methods acquired from the exhibition supports community strengthening. This exhibition was an important opportunity to learn new skills and share the latest knowledge with the project participants.

Furthermore, it was a wonderful and productive day under the sun!

[The JEN Team at the exhibition]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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March 17, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

03/03/2016

Visitation of East Batticaloa

On February 26, JEN together with officials from the Japanese Embassy, one of our donors, visited East Batticaloa prefecture where assistance for recovering agricultural livelihood took place from around 2010 to 2012.

Batticaloa is a prefecture facing the ocean and about 320 km away from Colombo: a major city. It is known as the last fierce battlefield of the conflict that worsened in late 2006, and where over 80,000 refugees resided for a while. For two years, JEN constructed 69 agricultural wells for 552 households, established well management committees consisting of local people, and conducted livelihood assistance toward low-income areas through distribution of vegetable and seedling as well as workshops to strengthen the community.

We visited five wells, and upon hearing of around 10 households, we found out that almost all households there had gained much more income through agriculture, and that well management committees had provided maintenance for wells and pumps on a regular basis.

While one family had 1,000 to 1,500 rupees as monthly income before the project started, it became apparent that by selling vegetables and fruits from their own firm, they could gain around 20,000 to 40,000 rupees as monthly income (1,000 rupees =approx. 785 yen). 

In addition, not only did they raise basic mixed crops, but they also shared each responsibility of making different kinds of crops and divided their income among the members of the community, which proved that they utilized our workshop.
Furthermore, families made the well available for not only the participants of JEN’s project, but also for the whole community. There was also another
community  that improved their capabilities by creating a 1km water supply line by connecting a pipe to the well.   

Upon questioning each household about what they had gained from increasing their income, it was revealed that there were many households that had expanded their farms by purchasing land, new pumps, and tractors to cultivate and bring agricultural crops to the market. As a result, we could find out that our assistance continuingly brought good impact. In addition to that, there was a ripple effect such as children being able to return to school again because of the livelihood recovery.

Although assistance for recovering livelihood normally takes a few years to bring about an effect, as in the case of the people in Batticaloa, we are going to continue providing assistance by utilizing our knowledge on JEN’s well and agriculture, and lead to make the community become financially independent and this develops their self-help efforts for it.

[The vegetables which has been just gathered]
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[Well with the quantity of water for which the dry season is also enough]
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[The JEN staff who asks people in an area for opinions]
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[The simple water supply pipeline]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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March 3, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

02/18/2016

Greetings of Leaving Sri Lanka; the Land of Smiles

It was July 2014 when I for the first time prepared a quick report for JEN’s activities. It’s already one year and eight months since then, and I left Sri Lanka today. I was engaged in deployment of three projects and management of four offices during my term in Sri Lanka. With 35 staff members, I took charge of supporting the recovery of approximately 210 households through farming and strengthening of communities by forming agricultural cooperatives.

I commented in the report then, “I want to try my best supporting as many people as possible and make them smile again; smile more every day.”
Sometimes, there were misunderstandings between JEN and families JEN supports about JEN’s activity policy. There were sometimes cases where both parties could not agree with each other, or their smile were gone as a result of misunderstandings.
However, it has always been JEN’s policy to provide people with support with minimum necessary support from a long-term perspective.

I remember I and our staff explained again and again to the residents and local government administrators that JEN does not ”support more”, “spend more money” and “does not provide support further”, to reduce the dependency of people in North Sri Lanka who tend to be used to receive support.
I was heart-warmed in the moment when both residents and JEN’s members smiled eventually after they had reached understanding.
The 10-year government was changed after presidential election in January 2015. Parliamentary elections were held in August the same year, it was through this democratic move that a new president wes elected. .

Many of the international NGOs that supported people in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami in 2004 have withdrawn already. Also, many of the international NGOs that started work after the 2009 Civil War had ended have already withdrawn or are considering withdrawing. Sri Lanka is now in a transition period. This is an important time where Sri Lankans need to make the country better by themselves while reducing dependence on the international community.

Under such circumstances, JEN cannot withdraw from Sri Lanka. We want to provide support to people in the North area: especially those who were left behind by the support circle or lives in forgotten areas, so that they can keep up with, and actively participate in, the economic development of the country.
I would like to use the experience in Sri Lanka for the next post, remembering the smiles of people who I supported in Northern Sri Lanka, administrative staff who I cooperated in projects with, and JEN’s staff who tried hard on the front line.

Local business representative
Arisa Nishida

【With JEN’s staff】
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【With people JEN provided support】
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
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February 18, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

02/04/2016

Handover of ownership to dry food producers' agricultural cooperative association

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On January 28, we had a ceremony at an agricultural cooperative center in the Othiyamallai Grama Nidarari Division (Othiyamallai GND).

This area is located at a prefectural boundary and isolated from major roads. The village people, as well as people from other villages, were evacuated during a civil war, and just about half of the population has returned. There was no support from other aid organizations so far. For this reason, JEN selected the area to fill the gap of support.

JEN supported the establishment of an agricultural cooperative association with which the village people, as a unit, can contribute to the development of their area. We built a dry food center to improve profitability and strengthen the community. In addition, we provided training of food processing and organization management to support their operation.

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After having provided various forms of support to the agricultural cooperative association, the day finally came: to officially hand over JEN’s ownership to the association.

The program officer, the project officer and the filed officer from JEN attended the ceremony. The followings also participated: the head of local administrative section, the officer responsible for developing the economy, the principle of the area, 20 households which are participating in the JEN’s project directly and 32 households which are participating in JEN’s project indirectly.

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To mark the opening of the ceremony, the program officer cut a ribbon, and then passed a book to manage the association and a notebook for the operation record to the leader of the association.

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Next, we held a ceremony to plant perennial plants around the dry food center.

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And then, we signed MoU that defines the scope of duties and responsibilities of the association and the administrative office. JEN completed the official hand over to the dry food agricultural cooperative association.

All the participants were strongly interested in this new step for the association and expressed their gratitude to JEN. It was a very exciting event.

I also have worked with people in Othiyamallai GND to strengthen the community and develop the area for a year. Our efforts seem to have paid off. I also feel very happy with this result.

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February 4, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

01/21/2016

A workshop on Marketing in Kilinochchi district, Northern part of Sri Lanka

On December 8th last year, JEN held a workshop on marketing for 32 people who participated in the project.

In this workshop, we focused on the importance and necessity of marketing for local residents to sell their harvest effectively. The participants showed a great interest and worked on the project enthusiastically.
To encourage understanding and cooperation among the participants, we worked on the items below in the workshop:
- What is marketing?
- Where and what we sell?
- Marketing strategy

Also, we discussed a new method and a strategy of marketing such as what kind of crops we will produce during the rainy season. Through this workshop, the participants were able to obtain important skills to plan ahead for the future. For example, they learned when to produce what kind of crops in accordance with each season.
These marketing strategies should enable the locals to manage their businesses more effectively, which help them to increase their profit and income.
In the group discussion, we discussed the items below:
 
  How to ensure customers and consumers both in local and urban areas.
  How to decide the prices at the market.
  How to grow better quality crops.
  How to sell their products and what issues to solve.

[Group Activity]
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[JEN staff observing the activity]
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At the workshop, to take proactive steps for the rain season, we explained that dried food or powdered products are in on demand.  The lecture about crops and products that can be adopted for changing weather was popular among the participants. It seemed that the marketing lecture featuring seasonal issues was helpful for the participants.

At the end of the workshop, the lecturer explained about the flour mill and the dried food factory that JEN has built, and it is possible to make their solid financial stability which would be effective growth and selling crops.

[During the lecture]
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We hope that these efforts could empower and sustain the growth of the community.

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January 21, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

01/07/2016

Follow-Up Support Is the Key

Happy New Year to Our Supporters.

New Year’s Day is April 14 for the Sinhalese and the Tamils, the two kinds of people who make up majority of the Sri Lankans. So, we saw the end of the year without any year-end hurried atmosphere here in JEN’s office in Sri Lanka.
Nevertheless, in order to look back on 2015 and confirm what to do in the remaining three months of this project year, we held a meeting for all the staff involved with the projects in the northern areas.

Activities such as building wells, holding workshops and distributing agricultural items are yet to be done, but we realised our determination to make a greater effort to give follow-up support so that the people who participated in activities can sustain and make the best use of it.

For example, we will respectively make sure that Well Management Committee and Agricultural Cooperative Society are continuing their activities, that the distributed seeds and seedlings are efficiently raised, or that the people are effectively utilizing what they learned at agricultural trainings and marketing workshops. If we find some households or groups having difficulties or in trouble, we’ll help them by giving advice when needed.

Distributing items, holding workshops, building wells and founding a union are not the goal of our support. Rather, we believe that degree of success in JEN’s support depends on how carefully and effectively we could provide follow-up support.

We, the team JEN, will do our best to deliver better support in the remaining three months.

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January 7, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

12/24/2015

Year and celebration in Sri Lanka

Seventy percent are Buddhists, 10% are Hindi’s, 8.5% are Muslim and 11.3% are Roman Catholic. There are religions that people of Sri Lanka is to believe.

As a nation, Sri Lanka celebrates all the holidays of each religion.

Therefore, on December 24th is the celebration of Poya Day for the Buddhist and the 25th is the celebration for the Christians.

The temperature becomes more then 30 degrees Celsius but the whole country decorating with Christmas’s ornament. The Christmas in summer alike climate is also something romantic, which I love.
Sri Lanka, the country whole celebrates others, I like it thing. Merry Christmas!

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December 24, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

12/10/2015

Ambassador of Japan visiting JEN’s project site

A while ago JEN welcomed Ambassador and Ambassadress Suganuma of Japan to JEN’s project site in Kilinochchi.

The ongoing project is mainly funded by the Government of Japan and this visit became a great opportunity for JEN to introduce Ambassador Suganuma, who was appointed in July 2015, to our assistances.

This time, we explained about the current situation of the grinded food and dry food center of the agricultural cooperative society and the newly completed well.

Furthermore, Ambassador and Ambassadress Suganuma talked with the members of the Agricultural Cooperative Society.
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We explained what kind of processed food we can make by the machineries.
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The members of the Agricultural Cooperative Society who gathered to welcome the Ambassador were listening to his voice outside the grinding food center.
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They observed the newly constructed well.
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Ambassadress Suganuma was surprised at how large the well was.
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Finally, Ambassador Suganuma gave us words of encouragement and we took a photo together.
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Arisa Nishida

December 10, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

11/19/2015

Dry Food Production by Agricultural Cooperative Societies

The community we mention here is the ‘agricultural cooperative society (ACS)’, in which all project members participate. ACSs are established and supported in each project site. Each ACS selects a steering committee as its leader. The structure of a society is designed to enable all members to work together in order to seek solutions and address problems when they arise.

Previously they learned several skills at community strengthening workshops with various topics such as: what is leadership, problem-solving; relationship-building with local authorities; stakeholder analysis, and teamwork. The ACS provides opportunities for people to use these skills practically.
We also introduce activities which have specific themes, as ways to practice operational management of the community, and also, to create a source of income. This year’s theme is ‘dry food production’. The project is planned to be launched mainly by 7 to 11 steering committees in each project site.
Some days ago, a ‘drying machine’ which is need for dry food production arrived at the project site. Although its design is very simple, the machine is able to dry up to 20 kilograms of vegetables and fruit at once. We tried drying some edible leaves as a demonstration, just after the machine arrived.

JEN hopes that dry food production will lead to stronger communities and better relationships among project members and village residents, to motivate their cooperation in order to solve future problems.

This is the centre of ACS which is placed the drying machine
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This is the drying machine
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The steering committee placed sliced eggplant on the machine
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Vegetable leaf is also good for dry food
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They placed chip of wood on a bucket and it is fuel of the machine
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The bucket of chip put under the machine and set the fire
Hot air circulated from bottom to top of the machine and the food was made it.
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David, the project officer, explaining how to use the machine
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After 30 minutes, the dry food was made it!
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November 19, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

11/05/2015

Protect Families in long-running difficulties (Part Ⅱ)

Malini’s story continues.

“I have some experience in agriculture, but was not able to continue it because there was no agro well. Now with JEN’s support, I can start a small-scale agriculture. It will change my life significantly, and I’m excited about it.
The first stage of excavating work in well construction has just started, and I am so excited for the completion. I’d like to start with a home garden. If it goes smoothly, I am planning to sell home-grown vegetables so that I could make more income.
My daughters are desperately looking forward to the new well because they wil no longer have to go out to bathing. There has been a huge security concern for a long time.”

“I try my best to become a good owner.” Malini said strongly.

JEN understood our long-struggling fundamental problems and provided necessary support to the most vulnerable people in our village.

I would like to say thank you to all the people who supported JEN financially for the project.
Access to water is essential in daily life. We will remember the support every time we draw water from the well.”said Marini with smile on her face.

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November 5, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

10/15/2015

Protect family in the long difficult situation (Part Ⅰ)

I am a JEN’s staff. Once I introduced myself to her, Malini who lives in a village, looked at me with shining eyes. She said “I have been fighting with difficulties for a long time to protect my family, but I’m now full of hope. Since I participate in JEN’s activities, I can own property to improve our living condition and earn an income from small-scale agriculture.”

<Malini and goats>
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“I’m forty three years old. Two of my daughters are sixteen years old and fourteen years old. My husband fell victim to the war that continued over two decollates. Our life was destroyed in the moment of his death.

My husband’s death in 2000 was a tragedy. I thought that my life has been taken away, too. However, I have lived somehow only with a sense of duty and determination to raise my two daughters.

The past fifteen years since his death, I have been raising my daughters and worked as hard as I could. I’ve been a day laborer and supported road works and farm work of paddies. However, I could not get these works every time. Income from those hard works are only just enough for daily meal and minimum daily necessities for my little daughters. I didn’t have any other income sources besides the day labor.

However, I have two goats which are my only tool as sources of income.

I really felt relieved, when I was selected in a JEN’s project in 2015. I was told that I would be certified as a woman householder and would be provided a newly built well for farming to start a small-scale agriculture.

It was a very hard work to draw drinking water from a public well nearby. I was excited to hear that I could have my own well. My daughters didn’t like to bathing at the public well, so the news of the well is wonderful support for my family.

In addition, the project has another aspect which is “sharing”. My well is shared with two families, my family and my neighbor. To make it convenient for both of us, we agreed to build a well between the two houses.

I also participated in a workshop facilitated by JEN. They consistently told us to support each other and to aim for a common goal. I think it is important for support and develop awareness to each other in our community. Thanks to the workshop, I have learnt a lot. I look forward to carrying out life in our society, with the shared well with my neighbor.”

(Continue to next time)


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October 15, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

10/01/2015

New Administration and Finance Officers

I am Gaminieesa Gandhithason I have more than 15 years of experience in working with many of the organization including the UN. I have successfully handled finance, administration and logistic works for massive relief and recovery operations during and after the disaster.

I joined JEN as an Administration Officer. First of all I would like to say thanks to JEN Sri Lanka for selecting me for this position, to give my support to the community in the resettlement areas. I am very glad to hear about JEN’s activities in Sri Lanka since 2004 for post-disaster recovery and later supporting the war affected people in the North. I am so happy to be able to support contributing to our society, by helping those still in need. That is why I once changed my track from admin/finance to program for 2 years. I worked with UN-Habitat, as a Project Assistant (Housing). During this period I had a good chance to talk directly with the war affected people.

I hope that there will be much more people uplifting their living standards through JEN’s assistance.

[Gaminieesa(Administration Officer)and Al(Finance Officer)]
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Gaminieesa Gandhithason
Administration Officer



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October 1, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

09/17/2015

Constructing Wells by Stepping Down Method

Speaking of assistance to regain livelihood, how can you “regain” “livelihood?” This time around, I’d like to answer to this question.

Returnees JEN is supporting are living in agricultural regions. Before the conflict, most of the households were engaged in agriculture. During the time while they were evacuating, however, lands were devastated, farming equipment and water supply facilities were stolen. After they came back to their homeland, they manage to engage in farming on a small scale during the rainy season. In the dry season, however, they have no choice but to do day-labor jobs and they are at risk of losing these jobs at any time. JEN is supporting these people that they will be able to engage in farming throughout the year and make a steady income.
One of these main support activities is to construct agricultural wells. As long as they have well water, they can continue farming even during the dry season when it never rains. Do you know how to build a well?
 
There are several methods to build a well. I will show you a special method among these.
It is called “Stepping Down Method.”
The usual method goes like this: you use an excavator and dig the ground 7.5 meters at once, pile up concrete blocks from the bottom, plaster both inside and outside, fill a gap between the wall and the well to finish, a well is completed.
On the other hand, the procedure of “Stepping Down Method” is a little different from that of this usual method.

1.Dig the ground by an excavator or by hand work 2 meters to 5 meters until water comes out.
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2.Set up a Base Ring Beam (base).
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3.Pile up blocks to 1 to 2 meters.
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4.Plaster.
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5.Wait until the well sinks by the weight of the blocks.
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6.After the well sank, pile up the blocks and plaster again, repeat this procedure until the well sinks to the stated depth, add the finishing touches to the well, then it is completed.
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【Image drawing of Stepping Down Method】
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Why do we adopt a special method like this? It is because the project area in Kilinocci District is near the sea The soil is soft because it contains a lot of sand and clay. If you dig through the ground at once, the wall will collapse immediately When you construct a well by this Stepping Down Method, you can reduce the risk that the wall collapses since the well sinks silently into the sand on its own. 

The construction of the well started from the end of July and currently it is in the midst of the plan. The local people seem that they can hardly wait for the completion of the well, saying, “We will be free from conveying water from far-away wells again and again every day, which takes us more than 30 minutes each time.”  “We will be able to water the land any time.”, “We will be able to share water to nearby households who don’t have wells.”

We’d like to complete the construction of all the wells before November when the rainy season start.

Program Officer
Arisa Nishida

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September 17, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

09/07/2015

Community Empowerment Workshop

Our current project in Sri Lanka is to hold several workshops. The first one took place in end-August called the Empowering Community Workshop. The purpose was to create a community like the Agricultural Cooperative, but also so the members who are local residents can share knowledge to work together.

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Topics include "What you can get from community activity", "What is leadership?", "Problem solving technique", "How to deal with conflict", "Establishing a good relationship with the municipal government", "Analyzing stakeholder", and "Teamwork".

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Among the workshops, we included many group works and games. The picture shows the group work to enhance teamwork. The leader sitting at the front decides the direction of the workshop, and then the whole team moves their legs and works together to move forward.

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Sometimes the line got congested and broke off when trying to make a turn, but everyone did their best to work together.

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Activities of the agricultural cooperatives will be challenging. Despite the difficulties, we hope that it will be enjoyable and that by participating in these workshops, the participants will become motivated to be part of the community.



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September 7, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

08/06/2015

First Beneficiaries meeting at Othiyamallai project site

JEN held a first meeting for participants of JEN’s program at Othiyamallai Grama Nidarari Division (Othiyamallai GND) on 7th July. From JEN’s side, an acting head of office, project officers, community workers, and field officers were participated in the meeting. Also, the participants, beneficiary selection committee members and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) they were particularly important members, were participated in the meeting. The main purpose was introducing JEN officials and explaining the participants our project content, and clarifying their objectives.  JEN does feel, as a livelihood assistance project, the participants are able to know JEN’s project. We clearly explained then our livelihood recovery component and community strengthening part.   

The participants insisted importance size of the well. This is because they are also very much interested to do cultivation in a dry season.  In addition, they suggested completing the well construction work before end of a rainy season. They showed their eagerness to participate in the workshops.

The participants easily understood livelihood recovery part well. They raised questions on community strengthen parts.  It seemed we needed to do more explain in this regard again. Basically, they welcomed our idea on formation of well maintains committee and cooperative society. This is because they realize collective works will strengthen their unity and support their income raise.  They welcome our idea to establish food processing center in order to strengthen cooperative work.  The participants humbly request, to establish the food processing center with basic facilities such as permanent water source and hygienically accepted building. They pointed out for the approval and starting process indicated facilities were important. The participants requested to include their ideas also when their plan communities’ strengthen part.

Furthermore, the participants requested us to include local human resources in the construction work as well. This is because they think that it will support them to earn daily wages and ensure work quality as well.

People expect at least three month follow up work with them soon after formation of cooperative society. JEN agrees with their idea in some extent. This is because registration of the cooperative society becomes a hard task nowadays. They need to back up to run in the starting period to earn income and lead to registration.

Overall, people are very much interested to support and participate in our program.  They requested us to have regular meeting with them to discuss pros and cons of the project on time. It seems this is a good initiative to have good relationship with local communities and individuals.   
       

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Adaikalam
Field Officer



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August 6, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

07/23/2015

We have been keeping assistance in agricultural income livelihood and community strengthening for returnees this year.

As we have explained before, we have been implementing the assistance in agricultural income Livelihood and Community Strengthening for the returnees similar to the last year from 22 March, in corporation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs NGO Grant.

About the project sites, there is 1 location in Mullaitive District, Northern Province, newly selected. In Kilinochchi District, there is 1 location, newly selected, and the same location as last year.

In Othiyamalai GN, Oddusuddan Divisional Secretary, Mullaitve District, there’s not enough electricity installed, and the road without maintained, so that it’s difficult to access to the town and markets nearby.


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(Quoted from Northern Province Council)

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There’s electric lines, but there’s no electricity to work.  Othiyamalai GN is located at  prefectural boarder, and it’s far from the center of the Divisional Secretary, where infrastructure maintenance is delayed.

In Vempodukerny GN, Pachchilaipalli Divisional Secretary, Kilinochchi District, there’s the many returnees, returned within few years after demining was over few years ago.  In Muhamalai GN, the site for the last year project, there’s still some villages without demining work done, so that it has possibilities that more returnees will be back after the completion of demining work.

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(Quoted from Northern Province Council)

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In Vempodukerny GN, there’s some returnees who are still living in temporary shelters, and many of them are waiting for the assistance in housing construction.


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Office for GN division official is still temporary one.

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In Muhamalai GN, there’s still demining on-going. 
It’s been said that it suppose to complete within this year.

About 4 months has passed after the project start.
Base line survey and beneficiary selection, and 1st general meeting for beneficiaries have completed. Various assistance activities will be implemented from now on.

We will introduce the status occasionally, so please check it.

Nishida Arisa
Program Officer


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July 23, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

07/09/2015

Voices from the past project participants

Name of Interviewer:   R. Kuganesarasa (Field Officer)
Name of Interviewee:   Ms. Sayanthinie (Secretary-ACS, Muhamalai)
Date: 12th June, 2015

JEN: Vannakkam” (Good morning), as you are the Secretary of the Agriculture Co-operative Society (ACS), I want to know about the functions of the ACS and what are the benefits people enjoy? Also, (after the participation in the JEN’s project) would like to know about   any developments, changes you observed in your village.
Interviewee : Yes of course. Thank you for coming to us and the ACS.

My name is Sayanthinie, 25 years old.  I am the Secretary of the ACS.   Telling about ACS, as Secretary I am organizing  meetings  which is being held monthly and keep records, support to implement decisions that has taken up at the meetings,  that’s about functioning.  Our ACS functioning started without any difficulty this year and up to now had two monthly meetings. At these meetings we talk about additional products that can be grinded, faults in the machinery, income and how to improve further etc.   
People come to grind food products, mainly to powder rice and chilies.    Earlier they went to nearest city.  But visiting our ACS makes them reduce time waste and reduce cost.    About 3-4 families visit our society per day.

About our village, still there are people to come back to settle.    People depended on daily labor work as their main livelihood in the past seems to be improved to some extent to find their jobs on their own, living with happiness.  Almost all people have permanent houses, people are co-operative each other and they are freely moving, no security issue at all.  So People now enjoy a happy living environment, a BIG change.

Sometimes I used to grind food instead the main operator which gives me happy to do a job.  Reason is this ACS belongs to our village. So working for the village is a gift to me.    I am happy if all members join hands with me to uplift the society to a grand level.  I like this ACS activities expand more and more to benefit the adjoining villages too, is my dream and happiness.

[JEN FO meets ACS Secretary at the ACS building]
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July 9, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

06/25/2015

Situation in Kilinochchi After office relocation(Part2)

I started last time from around office.
I walk more this time in the town of the drill notch.

Only one supermarket in the town
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Café nearby
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I sometimes go to buy some foods at the supermarket, but local peoples often
Go to buy something at a bazaar, located in center of the city.

Colorful vegetables. It’s delivered from Jaffna District, situated in most northerly district.
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Woman, selling vegetables by measure with her experienced look
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Fish market. Not yet purchased fishes here
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Fruit shop, selling jackfruits
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Very beautiful station, built after civil war
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How was everything after reading this blog?  Do you think this town is built up as you expected. Or, just as you imagined?

Arisa Nishida, Program Officer



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June 25, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

06/18/2015

Situation in Kilinochchi After office relocation (Part1)

As we explained in the blog last time, our office was relocated in Kilinochchi district, Northern Province at the beginning of May. Kilinochchi district is situated at developing small town northward 7 hours by car from economic city, Colombo in Sri Lanka.
During civil water time in Sri Lanka, there is a base of LTTE.  After the war end, the
city was dramatically developed.

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(quoted from Google Map)

We will explain about the situation in Kilinochchi District by using some photos today.
At first, it’s about the office around.

JEN office gate
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Route till the office.   It’s submerged when it’s heavily rained.
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Rural landscape.  Even if it’s get dark, we can see people working.
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Kilinochchi district is situated at the city along with main road called “A9”
Along this A9 road, there are various buildings you can see.

Very outstanding Hindu temple
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[To Be Continued]

Arisa Nishida, Program Officer



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June 18, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

05/28/2015

Interview to a beneficiary in Kilinochchi District

We cultivate our own lands and get produces which is our only income.

As a beneficiary I participated in training workshops conducted by JEN. Telling about what I gained from trainings was that I occasionally participated in common meetings in the village in the past. But after the training workshops I use to participate in all the meetings convened in the village because I realized the necessity of what a villager can do by attending such meetings. 

Through attending such meetings and sharing ideas would help us to be a participant in the village development and also we get recognized to others which will make me a leader in some aspects to take part a responsibility in the development work.  Before we do anything we should PLAN is the best thing I learned.   Importantly, from the agriculture training I got knowledge in land preparation, making organic compost, pesticides, water saving methods, seasonal crops and many others. I did not know about harvesting, pest control, health issues etc. I started land preparation and compost making now. After I place seeds and replant long term plants I will practice all others what I learned.

[Beneficiaries]
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The happiest situation in me is that JEN provided a sharing agro well, seeds, tools and specially trainings in farming. So “I have all requirements for cultivation is a pleasure”. Therefore I will do a good planning to do cultivate my garden and get high yield in future from which I will save money for my children’s needs.

[Compost making]
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May 28, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

05/14/2015

Moving offices in Sri Lanka, from Vavuniya to Kilinochchi

JEN Sri Lanka is delighted to let you know that we have moved our main office from Vavuniya to Kilinochchi town, which is an hour’s drive to the North. After spending more than 6 years in Vavuniya, we have decided to make this grand move as our current project sites are in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts, and we have none in Vavuniya District. In addition, we closed the field warehouse in Pachchilaipalli DS Division and integrated the two offices into one in Kilinochchi Town. Thanks to this decision, international and local, as well as project and administrative staffs, are now working in one office, and we can now directly communicate with each other.

So today, I’d like to share lots of photos that’ll show you one of the examples of how “moving in Sri Lanka” looks like.

What you see right below is the rolly truck we used to move our stuffs. Sri Lankans simply call them, “Rollies”. We had two Rollies and seven young men support our moving.

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Desks, shelves, fridge, dressers, boxes, bicycles, you name it.
Whatever the item, they smoothly carried and put it on the Rolly. Very impressive.

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And after one or two hours, the Rolly reached maximum capacity.
Oh boy, that was quick.

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And the office became empty in a very short amount of time.

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We attempted to load the security hut too, and though a bit of it stuck out, we deemed it successful. We were advised by the local police office to put a red flag to caution vehicles around the Rolly while it moved. But as we did not possess such item, we collected a red-colored plastic bag from a nearby shop. It seems that this was sufficient.

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To our surprise, all office and household items reached the new office in Kilinchchi town in one pieces.
So, what do you think? Did it terrified you or impressed you?

Next time, I’ll guide you through Kilinochchi town, where our new “headquarter” is at.
For now, I’ll end with giving you a glance of our new office.

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Arisa Nishida, Program Officer



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May 14, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

05/01/2015

Monthly Sri Lanka/Reviewing the past 10 years -Sri Lanka Project[Part4]

We could have supported to rebuild their lives of more than 167,000 IDPs and returnees for 7 years in the North and the East of Sri Lanka. We constructed 188 transitional shelters and 188 semi-permanent toilets. Also, we could clean 1,535 wells and renovated 1,275 wells, and constructed 13 common tube wells not only to assure safe water for domestic use, but also to be a base for restarting regular vocation towards farmers. Also, we could construct or renovate 16 culverts, which promoted marking and economic activities during rainy season. Also, we constructed 218 agro wells and formed the foundation for self reliance. Furthermore, we formed 204 well-maintenance committees (incl. 6 steering committees) for maintenance of the granted items, and formed 8 agricultural cooperatives and rehabilitated 12 fisherman’s unions for the community activation through fishery and agriculture.

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Although there are still some areas in the north where people cannot return due to the unfinished land-mine removal, we have expanded our activity since 2014 to Kilinochchi District, way up north, to conduct self-reliance support for the returned people. We would like to express our appreciation for warm support given to us for 10 years. We, JEN Sri Lanka, will make an effort to support the self-reliance of more peoples. We will appreciate for your further warm support.

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May 1, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

04/16/2015

Handing over ceremony

We could complete our project at Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi District in north funded by Japan government on 21st March with 3 weeks extension.
At the end of the project, we hold handing-over ceremonies to officially hand over the provided items. This ceremony is one of the turning points of “self-supporting livelihood” as JEN’s concept.

This ceremony is prepared and managed by beneficiaries independently. So the ceremony has deferent colors depended on the project sites.

[Ceremony Kilinochchi]
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The method is traditional based on Tamil, it seems this is affected by Hindu. For example, lighting candles by guest, decoration of venue, painting a red point on forehead, etc.

[Dance]
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From 22nd March, we start a new project in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi District funded by Japan government again.

Administration and Finance Officer: Tomoo Nasuda



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April 16, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

04/02/2015

Monthly Sri Lanka/Reviewing the past 10 years -Sri Lanka Project[part3]

After the 26 year-long civil war ended in May, 2009, more than 280,000 Tamils started to return from the IDP camps to their home. In response to this, JEN provided assistance for water supply, where the people can get necessary domestic water at the IDP camp in Vavuniya District, since people had been facing with serious water shortage since June, 2009.  At the same time, JEN distributed emergency-relief material (hygiene kits, shelter kits, complementary foods) which Tamils needed when they returned home.  Also, in order for the returnees to get water sources in the devastated areas when they return and  re-start self-reliance lives JEN expanded the targeting area to the Mullaitive District, where we continuously renovated and cleaned the wells and distributed agricultural tools, and also constructed transitional shelters and semi-permanent toilets.

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April 2, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

03/19/2015

Distribution of Water Pump

We, JEN Sri Lanka, have been constructing 38 agro wells in Mullative District and 10 agro wells in Killinochchi District.

[Agro well, constructed by JEN.  We will dig each hole10meters deep]150319_10m_3


[The well in process of construction]
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Rainy season starts from October to March and dry season from May to September in the Northern Sri Lanka. But, recently the situation has been changing, where dry season might start earlier than usual, it’s been sunny every day since January this year.
During the dry season, the water level will be low. In the case, people need to pull out of the heavy bucket at almost 10 meters to fill the water with. This can be heavy work.

That’s why we’ve been distributing the water pumps
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We would like to explain about ceremony of water pump distribution, held in 3 locations of Mullaitve District this time.

When we got close to the community hall in the area,
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already many women have been waiting for us.
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In this area, 1 well has been shared by 2-4 households.  Water pump with hose pipes have been handed over to each group, where they would share a well with
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Mother, receiving a water pump with hose pipes 12meters long, looks happy
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Carry the distributed item on the book rack on the back of the bike to the home
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In this area, people sometimes carry the water from the common well, more than 500meters to 1km away from home.  Water will be used for not only domestic purpose, but also watering necessary to the agricultural crops. So, people need to go and return at some dozen times in a day. Even if the said works have been shared by the family members, still binding hours will be 5 to 6 hours in a day.  And, it is heavy lifting for the women and the old persons.

Also, in the dry season, the common well is dried up, where the people sometimes are completed to decrease the size of farming areas.  By constructing agro wells and providing enough water, JEN will keep supporting them to decrease their binding hours, and increase their crop yields, which leads to income increase.

It’s a throw-in.

The store, located close to the community hall. The shopkeeper is the mother, standing in front of the shop.  She is selling vegetables, soaps, drinks and ice polls (it’s inside of a white foam-made box front side)
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The vegetables, selling at this shop
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The vegetables, made by villagers, are sold at these kinds of shops.



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March 19, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

03/05/2015

Monthly Sri Lanka/Reviewing the past 10 years -Sri Lanka Project[part2]

【7 years of support activities for IDPs and returnees in the eastern and northern region】

The conflict between Sri Lankan government and LTTE had intensified in the second half of 2006 and this lead up to 130,000 Tamils to become IDPs. After the conflict in the eastern region ended in July, 2007, homecoming officially completed by November, 2008. 

Batticaloa District in the eastern region was affected both by the massive tidal wave in December, 2004 and the conflict in 2006. Through that period, in this District, we implemented nutrition, health and hygiene activities. At the same time, we had provided counseling and conducted workshops toward revitalization of fisheries cooperatives since June ,2007.

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And, we also implemented self-reliance support activities in Ampara District in the eastern region. These support activities were aimed to make the returnees to acquire ability to improve their lives cooperatively. Through building agricultural wells, providing water pumps and agricultural technical training, agricultural revenue became stabilized. Through building well maintenances committees, steering committees and agricultural cooperatives, returnees improved their lives. By the end of February, 2014, we saw the benefits of these activities. Therefore, we completed the last self-reliance support projects in this District.

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March 5, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

02/19/2015

First Exchange Program between Agricultural Cooperative Societies (ACSs)

On January 28th we assembled 42 members of 6 Agricultural Cooperative Societies (ACSs) that JEN formed during the 2013-2014 project and in the on-going project. It was our first time to have beneficiaries from different assistance periods and areas meet each other. So JEN staffs were both excited and a bit worried in obtaining our main objectives:
1. Networking between ACSs
2. Sharing success stories, challenges and problem solving methods

From 7am, we hired two buses that drove through 4 areas to pick up the participants and around 9:30am all participants reached the ACS Center (Compost Making Yard). After providing some refreshments, we started the exchange program at 10am. First of all, the President of the Compost Making Yard ACS welcomed all participants and then all participants introduced themselves to others about where they are from, their roles (president, treasurer, secretary, etc.) in the ACS, what activities they are doing, and what they expect for the exchange program.

【The bus that transported ACS members】
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【The Compost Making Yard that was established in 2014】
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【Welcomed by ACS members】
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【JEN Field Officer making a welcome speech】
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The discussion session started by explanations from Compost Making Yard ACS members about roles/responsibilities of each position, running costs, keeping meeting minutes and account records, raw material collection, compost making procedures, marketing methods, etc. In addition, registration procedures of cooperative societies, relationship building with government officers and future goals were shared as well. As the ACS members for the ongoing project lacked confidence in continuously running the ACS and how to solve issues that may hinder their activities, they posed lots of questions about their concerns. All questions were answered in an understandable language. The session ended with all members mixed and divided into small groups to discuss about possibilities of cooperation in the near future to develop as an ACS.

【After getting into small groups the members brainstormed about the roles of an treasurer】
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【Sharing what they discussed to all the participants】
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The ongoing project held multiple workshops during the past 10 months, such as community strengthening, agricultural skills training, marketing, and management of cooperative societies. They were facilitated by government agency officers and we made extra effort to make the content as simple and easy to understand as possible by including many group activities and discussion among participants. This exchange program proved that “peer education” can be as effective as trainings from experts. Because all participants have similar backgrounds of once being IDPs and have gone through difficult times trying to rebuild their livelihoods and reconstruct communities, they can be in each other’s shoes. With many participants nodding a lot and asking more questions than usual, I sensed that this exchange program was more participant-friendly as the content was easier to understand and knowledge delivered was more relevant to what they need to most.
We were able to receive comments like,
“The program was well organized and useful.”
“My concerns decreased and I have more motivation to manage the ACS.”
“Easy to understand.”
“I learned the most that teamwork and perseverance are important to succeed.”

Also, for future cooperation, we received responses that ACS members are willing to exchange end-products, such as nursery plants and composts as well as making suggestion and advices when encountering issues.

【Group photo of all ACS members at the end of the Exchange Program】
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In the ongoing project, ACS members in Mullaitivu District will manage Plant Nursery Centers and members in Kilinochchi District will manage a Grinding Food Center. We think that this exchange program laid a foundation for further networking and cooperation, and expect that the tips shared will contribute to sustainable management and development of all Agricultural Cooperative Societies.

Arisa Nishida
Program Officer




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February 19, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

02/05/2015

Monthly Sri Lanka: Looking Back on the Past Ten Years of Support (Part 1)

Thanks to the 620 million yen donated by our many supporters (*) over the 10 years since the end of December 2004, more than 200,000 people's lives have been enriched.

[Three Years of Support for Tsunami Victims in the Southern Region]
More than 30,000 people were killed by the by the tsunami that occurred in December 2004. JEN dispatched a staff on the day following the tsunami and distributed urgent daily necessities to the families that were scheduled to migrate to the makeshift housing in Hambantota District. The disaster victims were in harsh living conditions, affected not only to the loss of their families, houses and household goods, but also by the loss of their livelihoods

In order to help the displaced Sri Lankans master new skills and recover positive attitudes, JEN carried out vocational trainings (e.g. making coconuts ropes, fishing nets, vegetable gardens, etc.) and group counseling and extracurricular activities for children.

Thanks to the help of our supporters, JEN was able to assist disaster victims to take their first step towards starting their new lives. JEN completed its last independence support program in the southern part in end-February 2007.

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The continuation of this story will be published in March.

(*) Ajinomoto Company, Incorporated; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Kao Corporation; Sompo Japan Insurance Inc.; NGO Japan Platform; Japan Team of Young Human Power; Chabo !; FELISSIMO CORPORATION; Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Smile Hart Club; Management Organization for Postal Savings and Postal Life Insurance; Yomiuri Light and Humanity Association; and many private sponsors.


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February 5, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

01/22/2015

Presidential election and the Pope

The presidential election was held on 8th Jan.
The election system is Direct Election in Sri Lanka.
Due to this system, the government suddenly requested to all organization and companies that the day is treaded as paid holiday.

Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, incumbent minister of health, run against Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, incumbent president. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena had belonged to the same political party as incumbent president’s one, but he left from there and established new one. This was practically revolt against his boss.

On 9th Jan., the result was announced and Mr. Maithripala Sirisena won.
It was a close election, Mr. Maithripala Sirisena got 51.28% and Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa got 47.58%.

Since we had been afraid of the wild party by the supporters to the winner and protestant by the supporter to the loser, we set the day as a holiday in haste to guarantee security of staffs. But there was no big incident because the former president stated the defeat soon and left from his post. It seems Sri Lankans accepted the result solemnly and silently.
The voting rate was 81.52%. The late of Lower House election in Japan on Dec. 2014 was 52.66% and it’s ashamed as Japanese.

From 13th to 15th Jan, the Pope came to Sri Lanka. On 14th, he visited Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu at Manner District in North on 14th. Religions in Sri Lanka are Buddhism(70%), Hindu(12%), Islam(10%) and Christian(7%). Manner District was Catholic are and it is said that it was influenced in the period of the Portugal colonial rule. On 13th, the government announced 14th was added to public holiday. So it became a series of holiday as 15th is holiday originally.

This is comment from Sri Lanka had many big events and holidays.

Administration and Finance Officer: Tomoo Nasuda


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January 22, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

01/08/2015

Holding a marketing workshop to increase incomes

A month after JEN held the Agricultural Training Workshop during mid-December, we held the next one that will contribute to increasing the incomes of our beneficiaries—the Marketing Workshop. Our main objective was to have our beneficiaries learn about how to efficiently sell agricultural products by gaining knowledge and skills in rural marketing.

To do so, we invited a facilitator who specializes in rural marketing in Northern Sri Lanka, and included topics such as:

1. 4 pillars of marketing (product, price, place, promotion)

2. Rural markets and customers

3. Quality improvement, price determination, distribution, selling techniques

4. Developing business plans

The workshop included lots of group works so that we could avoid too much lectures and have the participants were well-focused throughout the day. For example, the participants did role-playing. They were grouped and did a selling competition game by holding shops for fruits, vegetables, bags, stationary, etc. JEN staffs acted as consumers and walked around the room to see if they are convinced into buying products from each shop. It seems hard for our beneficiaries to practice any selling techniques and they just mentioned, “”What do you want? That is xxx rupees,“ as they lacked the knowledge. So the facilitator was able to assess the knowledge level of the participants based on this activity and include useful topics and group activities in the workshop.

[Workshop participants preparing their shops]
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[A participant trying to sell vegetable seeds to JEN staff]
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At the end, the participants developed business plans using the marketing knowledge and skills they learned during the workshop. Each group was able to explain about their target customers, selling points of their products, price determination and selling methods.

[Getting advices from the facilitator while developing a business plan]
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Most of JEN’s beneficiaries live in areas where access to the local markets are limited, which deprives them of communicating with consumers directly. And they have to be dependent on middlemen who, in many cases, offer an unfair price to buy their agricultural products. We hope that the beneficiaries come up with better selling methods to increase their incomes by using the knowledge and skills they learned in the Marketing Workshop.

Arisa Nishida, Program Officer



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January 8, 2015 in Sri Lanka |

12/18/2014

Interview to a beneficiary in Mullaitivu District

I’m living at Manakandal GND in Mullaitivu District with my three children. I got injured by shelling during last battle in my stomach. There are shells into my stomach without remove. I had problem to do hard work, out of my home to cate my family. I struggled a lot to manage daily life without fix income.

I am walking up and down every day around 1 km, to fetch water for my domestic use. JEN choose my family as beneficiary and provided seed, long term plant, barbed wire and workshop to start agriculture activities. I attended three workshops so far, such as community strengthen, agriculture and marketing. Workshop on agriculture gave me enough confident in my life. Especially training on compost making and organic pesticide killer are the new to me. Currently, I have started to make compost and organic pesticide killer. It is take time to make it. But, it is cost effective and healthy for our life.

I have cultivated black gram. I hope, I will be able to use organic pesticide killer to the black gram. Once black gram cultivation over, I will do land preparation for vegetable garden. At the time, I will use compost to fertilize land.
My dream is to build my life without dependability with the support of JEN’s assistance.  My joy is working into my garden with my children in a non-organic free environment. I thank to JEN and Japanese people a lot once again.

[Beneficiary and black gram land]
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写真①

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December 18, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

12/04/2014

Provision of agricultural items

We provided agricultural tools, vegetable seeds and long term plants on the middle of November.

Concretely, we provided:

- Barbed wires for farmland to protect it from animals
- Hoes
- Sprayer for organic pesticide
- Vegetable seeds (chili, eggplant, long bean, ladyfinger, tomato, snake ground, green leaves, corn and black gram)
- Long term plants (coconut, jack fruit, lime, orange, mango, pomegranate, drum stick and papaya)

Vegetable seeds, long term plants and sprayer were provided to apply knowledge we provided through agricultural workshop soon.

[Barbed wires and a hoe]
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[Vegetable seeds, long term plants and sprayer]
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In fact, NGO can’t provide items freely in Sri Lanka.
The government checks the items and the administrator of the division witnesses the distribution.
The date when the administrator can’t attend it can’t be set as the distribution day.
The place to deliver them is designated at the front of the administration office.
In case of distribution of heavy items, we can’t deliver them to houses of beneficiaries directly.
We provided 2 rolls of barbed wire weight 25 kg per roll this time and gave them in front of the office to the beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries know the situation well and arrange a tractor as the common transportation.

[Common use of the transportation for heavy items]
141204_cooperation_among_benefici_2


Administration and Finance Officer: Nasuda

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December 4, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

11/27/2014

Agricultural workshop

We held an agricultural workshop on 11th Nov.
This workshop intends to maximize a function of agro well JEN constructs and gain the income efficiently.
The contents are:

- Land preparation
- How to make organic compost
- How to make organic pesticide
- Water management on agriculture
- Pest control
- Method and timing of cultivation
- Health problem on agriculture

The half day is for lecture in a room and another is for practice in field.

We frequently and closely have contacted to local agricultural department. As the result of communication, they have cooperated with us and provided the instructor for the workshop and the agricultural training center as the venue.
Especially, Sri Lankan agriculture is trying to shift from chemical pesticide to organic pesticide due to health problem by the chemical. This background may push the local government to help JEN have provided organic agriculture for long time.

[Lecture]
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And then the each theme put group work into center to understand the contents well and to keep their concentration.

[Practice of making organic compost]
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[Practice of making organic pesticide]
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On middle of December, we have a plan to provide marketing workshops to maintain their income efficiently from their cultivation.

Administration and Finance Officer: Nasuda

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November 27, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

11/06/2014

Workshop for community strengthening

To share and manage agro well and agricultural tools JEN provides, JEN forms Well Maintenance Committee. But beneficiaries can’t understand the meaning of the committee soon, so JEN provides workshops to know the merit of community.

In workshop, JEN is providing following themes to take hints to manage the committee well:

- What is stakeholder?
- What is leadership?
- If you face on conflict in the community.
- If you face on trouble in the community.

Just we held the workshops on 28th Oct., 4th and 5th Nov.
JEN invited a person is teaching at a university in Sri Lank as the instructor.
At the beginning, to let the participants relax, the instructor gives them ice breakings. The instructor added essences to build conveyance among the participants with team games and holding hands, closing their eyes.
Especially, a workshop that participants came from 2 project sites, at the beginning they seated separately, but they started to talk each other as it takes time.

[Ice breaking]
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And then the each theme put group work into center to understand the contents well and to keep their concentration.

[Group work]
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On middle of Nov, we have a plan to provide agricultural workshops as the next step.

Administration and Finance Officer: Nasuda


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November 6, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

10/23/2014

Interview to a beneficiary in Kilinochchi

I am a native of Iththavil village. We have 7 children; Eldest daughter aged 19 years old forcibly had to join the Militant group and died during the war. The only permanent income is earning by my daughter who is employed in a garment factory (textiles). This my husband is doing day to day odd jobs from which income I am maintaining my family though it is not enough to fulfil all needs.

About the village, this is a village directly affected by the war and fully destroyed. Houses, common buildings, drainage system and even big trees were completely destroyed. We were displaced from 2004 until 2012. When we came back we saw the village is like a cemetery.

We always think our present living and try to manage with what we earn or have as we realize that this is the only way to make us alive and live peacefully. We do not depend on neighbors to meet our needs. We are confident about hard work, effort and earn is our vision which give us happiness. Our future hope is to educate our children and make them good citizens.

About a Cooperative society, I have no many ideas to share but I know by being working as a group we can save time, share new ideas, support to promote social infrastructure, economic development etc. can be done.

[Beneficiaries]
141023_beneficiaries_2






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October 23, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

10/09/2014

Interview to a beneficiary in Mullaitivu

I am living in Thachadamban with my four children and husband. Two my sons are person with disability. Other one is doing daily odd job and another is a student. I am doing a very small scale home garden to manage daily food consumption, even though I don’t have well. I am fetching water from a neighbor’s house and carrying in buckets and watering to my home garden.

In 1997 I was displaced to an IDP (Internal Displaced People) camp and returned here in 2000. When I returned to my home, I saw my permanent house was fully bulldozed and agro land was used to mine sand to make war related earth bund. Still there are big holes in the land. Then I was displaced in 2008 and returned again on 2010.

JEN has selected me as its beneficiary considering my interest and effort in home gardening. JEN directly visited to my place and checked everything and selected as its beneficiary. I hope JEN assistance will bring very positive changes in our family. It’s happy to think, that doing a home garden with a big agro well sharing my neighbor. My dream is to build a big permanent house through the future yield of home gardening.

JEN cooperative society formation will help us to strengthen our village financially, culturally and socially. Cooperative function will lead us our children in the future to start a big scale business in our village. I thank to JEN and Japanese people for their generous support to develop our life.

141009_beneficiary_in_mullaitivu_2





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October 9, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

09/25/2014

Sri Lanka Festival 2014

This is information in Japan as an opportunity that you can feel Sri Lanka directly.

On 27th and 28th September, Sri Lanka Festival 2014 will be held at Stone & Light Square near Tokyo Big Site in Odaiba.
The venue was changed from Yoyogi Park!

This festival is organized by Embassy of Sri Lanka in Japan and 11th anniversary.

Embassy of Sri Lanka → click here

State of 2012 → click here

You can enjoy Sri Lankan food, tea and traditional dance there.

Don’t miss it!




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September 25, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

09/11/2014

Self-introduction

140911_3
I am R.R.Vinothini newly appointed Admin Officer in JEN Sri Lanka Vavuniya Office. First of all I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Jen Sri Lanka Team to offer me the chance to work with JEN Team to support the community in the resettlement areas.

Today on the first day I am very glad to hear about JEN’s activities in Sri Lanka since 2004 by supporting the Tsunami affected areas in Southern and following that in Eastern part of Sri Lanka and further expansion of its activity in the Manic farm IDPs by providing the water supply assistance which was the precious assistance for the IDPs during that time.

Hence, I am very much proud to be a team member of JEN Sri Lanka to work with the community to enhance their life and I am happy to say that I will give my fullest support and cooperation continuously to the JEN Sri Lanka to achieve the objective of the organization.

Further I am proud to say that JEN has stamped their good name and was very much popular in the manic farm. Through all the challenges of livelihood recovery of the returnees in Northern part of Sri Lanka JEN is still behind the innocent people (IDPs) and working hand in hand with its communities. People are very happy for the timely assistance by JEN.

As a Sri Lankan I am very much thankful to JEN and people of Japan for their timely assistance for the sustainability the vulnerable people of Sri Lanka and brought the confidence by rebuilding the livelihood activities and hope that JEN will uplift the vulnerable people in Sri Lanka by expanding their activities in various part of Sri Lanka. 

I express my best wishes to JEN for the success of the future activities.

Best wishes

R.R.Vinothini
Admin Officer
JEN Sri Lanka



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September 11, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

07/31/2014

The importance to give hard look at the past project: investigation by the MoFA after the project

Short time ago, on 23 and 24June, some officials from Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka
visited 2 past projects sites for the investigation after the project, implemented by the
MoFA.

On the first day, they visited the livelihood recovery assistance project for the returnees,
where 40 agro wells were constructed in Batticaloa district of Eastern parts of Sri Lanka
from June 2009 to November 2011.On the second day, they visited the livelihood recovery
assistance project for the returnees, where 29 agro wells and 14 culverts were constructed
in the same district of Eastern parts of Sri Lanka from November 2010 to December 2011.

At that time, Agro Well Maintenance Committees (AWMCs) which consist of 8 households per well were formed. We provided with water pumps (for pumping out the well water, and spraying their farming lands), barbed wires (for the wild animals to be fallen down into the wells), vegetable seeds and perennial plants with the said AWMCs. Also, we implemented some workshops of organic farming and methods to share the common wells and water pumps.   By cooperating each other through the workshops, we targeted at promoting their bonding within the community.  After 3 years and half months passed, I also tried to give hard look at the past projects, when I visited houses of some past beneficiaries.

(photo: stone plate, filled in each well)
1_2

(photo: officials from the Embassy of Japan, Sri Lanka, while investigating the situation of the well(2 persons in front))
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(Photo: JEN staff, explaining about the well)
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The bottom line is that we all found out that the effectiveness of livelihood recovery, which we targeted at, was still lasting.  By hearing investigation and dialogue we conducted research towards 16 households selected at random out of the past beneficiaries.  The result showed that the income of all of the said households has been increased from 3 to 6 times(LKR 3,000-6000,JPY about 2,340-4680).  By using the income, obtaining from agriculture, there are some households who extend their faming lands, who purchased domestic animals, or who increased kinds of vegetables to plant. Also, there are other households who started a variety store, or who increased their income more than 10 times. Furthermore, there are some households who shared their income (obtained from agriculture) fairly towards neighbors, whom they cooperated newly with by starting agriculture collectively.

(photo: dialogue with past beneficiaries)
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(photo: beneficiary, who started new variety shop, by using the money from agriculture input)
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  We have been taught from a beneficiary with disabilities that how he had faced with the
difficulties in his life without proper job before receiving the assistance from JEN and how
his living is stable now.  In the premises, we could see well-grown perennial plants like
papaya, mango and Jackfruit, provided in those day.

(photo: Officials from the Embassy of Japan, Sri Lanka and JEN staffs, hearing from
the disabled beneficiary)
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(Photo: well-grown perennial tree)
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Furthermore, there’s many households who have kept using some organic farming methods such as organic fertilizers and organic insect killers, learned at the workshop at that time.  I’m grad to say that as secondary effect each well have been used not only by the past beneficiaries, but also 20-30 neighboring villagers per well. I was relieved that there’s “Positive Impact” clearly we could see.  Similarly, it shows that we can expect it became positive investigation, where beneficiaries’ living will be going up increasingly in the future.

(photo: beneficiary, using the organic insect killer, learned at the workshop of organic farming)
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(Photo: other than Jack fruit, we had papaya, cassava and mango from each beneficiaries they harvested, during our visit)
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However, we need to admit that there are the cases that the effective will be changed easily by the external factors, all assistance agencies cannot control.

As was referred to earlier, I placed major emphasis on “giving hard look at” the past projects this time.  As the result, it reveals that some “unexpected negative circumstances”.  As one of external factors, there is “climate change”.  This year, it was unusually hot summer during this dry season and it looks like near-drought situation in the North and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka.  Because of that effect, there are many wells where the water depth of the well is low and there is a household who is using well water for domestic purpose only.  Because of shortage of water, there’s household who stop doing farming for a while and find other jobs.  Due to this situation, there’re a agro well maintenance committee, where well and water pump are shared by not 8 households, but  2-3 households.  We strongly hope that the said households will start doing farming again after the rain comes during rainy season soon.  Nevertheless, I debate myself how the beneficiaries’ lives will be if their wells water were dried up every year, and whether to think of the assistance project, adaptable to the change of climate in the future.

(photo: the well, where we almost could see the bottom due to water shortage, effected by drought)
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Except for “Climate change”, there might be the exceptional cases like “moving after villager’s death”, “shortages of capacity and budget of the government”, and  “policy change of the government” in the future, caused by many “external factors”, where we cannot control.  In fact, our on-going project is also affected by the drought somehow. There might be some other external factors, which are not comprehended, lied hidden. But, we’ try our best to think of measures against such unexpected external factors.  I thought I need to buckle myself to the work, considering the importance to look for points for improvement always and give it a twist in order for positive effects of the present project for more beneficiaries to go on, after giving hard look at the past projects though this visit
.
Arisa Nishida
in charge of Sri Lanka program

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July 31, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

07/17/2014

Thank you poster

I am pleased to hear that JEN celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2014 for its twenty years operations for providing assistance to help peoples’ life.
On this twentieth anniversary occasion, As JEN staff of Sri Lanka I express my heartiest thanks to JEN to support and provide assistance to the most vulnerable people in Sri Lanka to live independently.

I am very  proud to be for a JEN’s staff to work with the community to enhance their life. Therefore, I offer my heartfelt thanks to JEN for giving me this great opportunity. As a Sri Lankan and a staff of JEN I offer my continuous support to continue the projects which are carried out by JEN in our country to enhance our peoples live.

I am very  happy to hear the voice from the community where the JEN done its assistance are still remains and remembering in their hearts. They are much thankful to JEN always.
Sri Lanka is offering its gratitude to JEN for still getting JEN’s assistance to improve peoples’ lives from different project for many years and it will help people to sustain their life in future.  Really JEN triggered vulnerable peoples’ eyes to open wide and exposed them the green lights in their live.

Finance Officer   M.Priyatharjini

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July 17, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

07/03/2014

Hello from a smile-loving country

Konnichiha, everyone! My name is Arisa Nishida, and I started working as the Program Officer of the Sri Lanka Program this June. Before, I worked at the Tokyo HQ supporting the country offices in Jordan and Iraq which assisted the water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as the education sector. As you may have recognized, I have entered a new field: the Agricultural Assistance; that means new experience, new knowledge, new everything. Believe it or not, I encountered something new on the first day in Vavuniya: palm trees located in the middle of paddy fields. This is something you don’t easily come across in Japan. I am very motivated to learn different values, lifestyles, beliefs so that the new knowledge and experiences that I will acquire will contribute to offering better and effective assistance for the recovery and development of Sri Lanka.

Over the past two weeks, I had opportunities to visit current and previous project sties, meet local government officials, and walk around in Vavuniya Town where our country office is located. Through this course of observing and talking, I recognized that, “Sri Lankans smile a lot.” And I also noticed that these smiles served as my mental relief especially when I get them after walking under the blazing sun.

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I do need to say here that there are so many war-affected people who still have not yet been able to re-build their livelihoods; many live in semi-permanent shelters, lack income to treat their families to adequate nutrition, and have to withdraw their children from school because they cannot afford educational materials. Also, many lost their family members during the conflict, and have not yet recovered from the depression and mental instability.

I sincerely hope that there will be much more people restoring their beautiful smiles through JEN’s assistance, and the last couple of weeks spending here has given me not only high hopes, but also confidence, for that to happen.

Arisa Nishida, Program Officer


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July 3, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

06/19/2014

Oddusuddan Divisional Secretary in Mullaitivu District

I explain one of our project sites this year, Oddusuddan Divisional Secretary (DS) in Mullaitivu District.

[Oddusuddan from Northern map]
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[Oddusuddan from Mullaitivu map]
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Oddusuddan is an area that people started to return on 2010 after the war on 2009. Because Oddusuddan is most affected area by the war in Mullaitivu District, the support is still insufficient. Actually, almost of residence has lived in their shelter.

[Returness shelter in Oddusuddan]
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80 % of people at the area earn their living by agriculture. But since the water is relied on the rain, during dry season they have to do daily labor work to earn the money. So their income average is LKR 1,500 under poverty line LKR 3,774 defined by Srilankan government at the point of August 2013. It’s called 25 % of household in the area is woman headed family.

Only 10 % of household have a well. To get drinking water, people use common wells and they can’t use the large quantity of the water for their agriculture. Additionally, some wells are broken or dried up. The water shortage is serious problem in the area.

[Dried well in Oddusuddan]
140619_dried_well_in_oddusuddan_2

We believe the construction of agro wells contribute not only the increase of their income, but also reduction of the scramble to get drinking water from the common well.

Administration & Finance Officer 
Tomoo Nasuda

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June 19, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

06/05/2014

NGO VISA

Our international staff in Sri Lanka gets NGO Visa to stay there.
At first, we get Entry Visa for 1 week, and then get Residence Visa for 1 year.
The procedure is different from Visit Visa, but it’s difficult to get NGO Visa.

First of all, so many documents for the application are required.

1.Work permit application
2.Entry Visa application
3.Passport copy
4.CV
5.Agreement on employment
6.Educational certification
7.Terms of Reference
8.Recommendation letter from the organization
9.Police report

Police report is issued at a police station in Japan. After 2 weeks, we can receive the report. In case we request it at diplomatic establishments abroad, it may take more.
If you took your degree abroad, you need to order it and it will take more.
To prepare the all documents, roughly it takes for 3 to 4 weeks.
Then the documents are posted to Sri Lanka. It takes 1 week.

In Sri Lanka, we need to get recommendation of the application from a district where we are operating our project.
It takes more than 1 week to get it.
Next, we bring the applications to NGO Secretariat and get the permission.
NGO Secretariat is belonged to Ministry of Defense and we get security clearance at the same time.
But this part is a hurdle. To get the clearance, the applicants must be out of Sri Lanka for minimum 6 weeks. Sometimes it takes more than 2 months.
So to get the permission of the application, it takes more than 2 months.

After getting the permission and the clearance from NGO Secretariat, we can apply the Visa to Immigration office.
After 1 week, the application transfers to Embassy of Sri Lanka in Japan and the applicant is interviewed there.
After 1 more week, we can receive Entry Visa at last.

The total period is 4 months; 1 month is for the document preparation, 2 months are for the permission and 2 weeks are for the application.
After the arrival, the applicant has to prepare Entry Visa application. So the application can’t feel relaxed.

This is an invisible difficult story for NGO.

Administration & Finance Officer
Tomoo Nasuda



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June 5, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

05/22/2014

New project

We could complete our project at Mullaitivu District in north and Ampara District in east funded by Japan government on 28th Feb.
From March we started a new project at Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi District in north funded by Japan government.

Based on our experience, we operate;

As the livelihood rehabilitation based on agriculture;
1.Support for water supply based on agriculture: Construction of 48 agro-wells, and distribution of water pump and fences to protect the well
2.Support for improvement of productivity: Holding agricultural workshop such as making compost and organic pesticide, and distribution of seeds, plants and agricultural tools
3.Support for improvement of income: Holding marketing workshop to earn the money effectively from their product

And as the rehabilitation of community;
1.Establishment of Well Maintenance Community: Establishment of 24 communities to manage the well and items with workshops to learn the merit of organization and leadership
2.Establishment of agricultural cooperative society: Establishment of 5 cooperative societies to develop as the community

On the project, we work at Puthukkudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu District where we have had our project, newly Oddusuddan in Mullaitivu District and Pachchilaipalli in Kilinochchi District.

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The reason of the selection is followings;
・Puthukkudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu: Isolated area from the supports due to a muddy road
・Oddusuddan in Mullaitivu: Most affected area by the war in Mullaitivu District
・Pachchilaipalli in Kilinochchi: Just resettled area on 2012

I’ll introduce each project sites from next time.

Administration & Finance Officer  Tomoo Nasuda

 

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May 22, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

05/08/2014

Interview to a cooperative society member in North

Mrs M.Selvarani in Barathi puram village in Visuvamadu East GN division has seven children. Now she is living with her 6 family members in recently constructed Indian house. Her daughter died & son missed during the war time.  In 2009 during the displaced time she lost all her properties. She was a famous farmer before she displaced in her village. She used to include latest techniques & using organic compost in her agricultural work and had been gained more profit in her work.

After 2010 she returned she land she received only a tent as shelter. She had struggled to set the tent as alone & she faced economy problems. Her husband had mentally & physically upset to start earlier life. So, she was unable to do odd jobs. So Mrs M.Selvarani pulled to restart her livelihood.

That time JEN entered to her life. JEN has helped to her to meet expected needs. So she restarted earlier joy fully life. JEN formed cooperative society. And she interested to joint this society. Now she is member of cooperative society. Now she is enjoying to product organic compost & makes a good relationship between the village people. Her dream is build up healthy next generation. She hopes that her village will be clean, because the cooperative society will collect the garbage from villagers to product compost. She hopes income from CMY will help to improve her village economy and manage disaster situation.

[Collecting the material]
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[operating multichopper to make the compost]
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May 8, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

04/24/2014

Interview to a cooperative society member in East

It gives me more pleasure to sit here in front the compost making yard. Frankly saying, this building is an asset to our whole region. To my knowledge this is the first building for ever after we return to the village.

Since we return after war, we made several attempts to link many Organizations, Government sector to receive assistance to restart our livelihood. But, all went futile.

By being a traditional farmer, I follow Sky, Earth, Clouds and the God. My goal is harvest whatever it is. It can be from vegetable production, other sources as I do not depend on only vegetable cultivation due to less rainfall as a result of climate change which has become worsen. But I do not give up hope look for solutions and better prepared. If we are prepared we can meet any challenge. As the clouds prevent give us rainfall we cannot prepare our lands which are getting dried.

But, after JEN provide water to us we become able to do prepare our lands and do vegetable cultivation.  To respect JEN Organization, I consider this year as “JEN’s year”. I maintain a garden namely JEN’s vegetable garden.

On the other hand, the compost making yard is another Income source for us. Through this we can generate income by way of making compost and sell them. The compost making yard is also an alternative source to find income. 

Through the Cooperative society we expect to employ 2-3 persons as permanent worker’s to operate the compost making yard whereas other villagers (beneficiaries) will support us and also get compost without chemical. The people could get chemical free vegetable thereby they could have nutritious vegetable for their living through which they could lead a happy life with joy and peace which is our hope. 

Thank you JEN and the People of Japan..

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April 24, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

04/10/2014

Agricultural cooperative society

JEN supports to establish agricultural cooperative societies, not only to construct agro-wells and hold workshops..
This cooperative society is composed of leaders of Well Maintenance Community for the agro-well.
This was established as an idea to solve problems and challenges are difficult for a household, shoulder to shoulder with the members in the society.
As the concrete theme for it, we supported to set up a compost making yard and empower the society through the management. To manage the compost making yard, we provided a tractor to collect materials and a chopper to crush the material efficiently, and constructed a hut to keep the machinery and the materials.

[Tractor]
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[Chopper]
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[Hut]
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The beneficiaries know how to make the compost well since we provided the workshop and they have practiced it. So we think they can concentrate to learn the management of the society as the core of community empowerment. As the result of the idea, the discussion among beneficiaries became active and they said “Let’s register our product as our brand and sell it after we have a capacity of mass production!”, “Let’s try to use the hut as a market to sell vegetables we made!”

[Compost yard]
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The opening ceremony was prepared by all beneficiaries. The ceremony starts with a walk by a children’s band. At the ceremony, crushing materials was demonstrated. A staffs of local government said “Collection of material can be regarded as the measurement of dengue because it can be reduce egg-laying sites of mosquito”. We could get a new idea for our project.

[Ceremony]
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[Ceremony by children]
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[Demonstration]
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While I was surprised at the motivation of the beneficiaries, I could feel an expectation of their development at same time.

Administration & Finance Officer Tomoo Nasuda

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April 10, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

03/27/2014

Wisdom of beneficiaries

After the completion of construction of well, JEN distributes a water pump and hoses to Well Maintenance Community formed by the beneficiaries sharing the well.

On December 2013, I went to check the usage of the wells.
But, in fact, almost of beneficiaries didn’t use the distributed pump.
The beneficiary said “We don’t need the huge quantity of water provided by the pump during the rainy season because we can’t get enough quantity of water to grow vegetables from the rain. After the rainy season, we are going to use it. ”
Instead of using the water pump, they install a pulley themselves and use it to get the insufficient quantity. Through the pulley, they save the money for fuel to operate the pump. The pulley is handmade and made it of a gear from an electric meter and a bike.

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I appreciate to see such idea implemented by them, based on the support from JEN.
Additionally, another beneficiary sharing the well also installed the pulley same as the neighbor.
I could see they imitate good ideas themselves positively.

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Like this situation, we hope they rehabilitate their confidence among neighborhood and it spread to whole village and region.

Administration & Finance Officer Tomoo Nasuda




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March 27, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

03/13/2014

Interview to beneficiary in North

I have a wife, a son and 2 grandchildren in my family in Gajabapura Village in Sampathnuwara Divisional Secretariat at division which is 65 KM away from the south Mullaitivu District. I lost my one side leg foot for landmines in 1992.

I’m a daily labor who mostly finds opportunities during the paddy seasons (Maha and Yala). I and my family interest in home gardening. Apart of food security sustainability JEN provided Vegetable seeds and Long term plants. I’m using the provided well for home gardening.

I’m hopeful that there are vegetables soon for the household consumption.
I’m extremely happy and thankful for the support obtained through the project. We will never forget JEN and Japan People for timely assistance provided to us. And we are very much proud to express that we are part of this project and we feel JEN is supporting us like another family members to exchange our family living standard.

[Northern beneficiary]
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[home garden]
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March 13, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

02/27/2014

Interview to beneficiary in East(PART5)

I was born and bred at this village called “Komparakarachchi“ in Thirukkovil. I have a wife and one daughter. We were affected during the war and displaced, lived with relatives. Indeed, we were not resettled but forcibly returned to our village in 2011 and settled down on own wish. No basic facilities were provided to us. No safe houses, no water, no income and hence we had no hope to organize our life. Every year, for 4-5 months we migrate to other places to find livelihood. This is as a result of no income source due to dry weather.

The longstanding water requirement was achieved by us because of JEN’s intervention gave us happiness. To see always good water level in the well is also make us very happiness. Before, construction of this well, whether dry or rainy season we had to walk about 2 Km to collect water for domestic purpose. Now we have JEN well in our close proximity is highly benefitting us naturally and physically.

Not only agro well but also the trainings given in life skill development(leadership, community based organization functioning and it’s benefit, new techniques in agriculture production(organic compost)and many other lessons gave us to organize a well planned structure to lead a peaceful life.

To increase agriculture production and lead a peaceful life is our dream.

140227_beneficiary5th_interview




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February 27, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

02/13/2014

Interview to beneficiary in East(PART4)

I am permanent resident in the village. There are no roads to this village. From the main road we reach our village by walking about 3 Km. This is the situation for many decades. We have lands which is the only asset for us. There are no brick made houses, common buildings, school, Devotional places, Wells. All the people live in temporary shelters.

My husband is the breadwinner. He is working as labor by visiting place to place and earning a livelihood. Many times we faced war and repeated losses incurred. No protection from wild animals. Our moving outside is limited due to fear from wild Elephants. Though the dangerous war is over we are not living peacefully due to lack of facilities. My husband very hardly earn during the day time has to protect us from wild animals, so he cannot sleep in the night instead watching. He is getting sick because of this.

JEN agro well is an only structure we have seen after many years. Now, we are provided with water facility so we can engage in agriculture work and start a livelihood on our own. My husband need not go for labor work. We are happy to see a big well which we have never seen before. I am planning to organize a Farm and grow many variety of vegetable and increase vegetable production. If my plan become successful and could save some money I will buy a vehicle for the purpose of movable vegetable selling.

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February 13, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

01/30/2014

Threat of elephant in East

Beneficiaries in east are suffering from wild elephants.
They say the elephants are in jangle in the daytime, but at night they appear.
In the project site of JEN, we can see the footprints.

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This problem is very serious for our beneficiaries.
At certain village, all residents escaped because of the damage cause by the elephants.

Around their house, we can see some lookouts on the tree.

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At night, the resident watches the arrival of elephants there in rotation.
The residences receive some crackers against the elephants from local administration.
They can drive an elephant away by it, but it’s difficult for groups.
In case elephants don’t escape, the residents have to evacuate to an elementary school made by concrete.

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They can’t sleep safely.
I could know the context that the beneficiaries say they want to construct a durable house with their income generated by an agro-well.

Admin & Finance Officer Tomoo Nasuda



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January 30, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

01/23/2014

Interview to beneficiary in East(PART3)

I live at Kanchikuduchchiaru village is our native place located in the Thirukkovil DS division, Ampara district in the Eastern province. I’m widow and have a daughter 20 years old. We displaced due to war in 2006 and returned in 2010. My husband died due to wild Elephant attack in 2012 while he was doing night watching. Watching in night to safe guard us and our livelihood from animals is my late husband’s main job. Many people benefitted. But, unfortunately he died. Big loss for us.

Other than this there is no hope of any other relief. Therefore have to reorganize our normal life. I myself and the daughter planned to continue doing our livelihood as we do not have other options to earn. We can do cultivation in the rainy season only (4 months from October to January). Ground nut and maize is main products. The difficulty for us is to protect cultivation from wild animals like Elephants, Pigs. Our harvest is less than what we expect due to animal attack, sometimes animals destroy all the cultivated items. After rainy season we have no source of livelihood because we do not have irrigation facilities.

On the other hand basic facilities like house, sanitation are not provided to us and hence we have no protection at all.  We live in small huts, no sleep in the night, so we lead a restless days. We are compelled to live here to protect our lands which are the only hope for us. If we leave the village, the lands will be encroached. Natural resources like mangoes, jack, and coconut are destroyed by the war or damaged by wild animals. Due to this reason we do not have any resources in the village. 
My daughter collects raw materials from outside the village and make brooms and sell to villages thereby we get a small income. 

This is the first time I came to know that Organizations are supporting people like us. We never dreamed to receive an Agro well in our village and we never seen such a big well. By this we hope we will manage water requirement and do cultivation in the whole year. I plan to plant about 25 coconut plants. Also from saving I plan to put a small house for my daughter because I like my daughter live permanently here.   

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January 23, 2014 in Sri Lanka |

12/26/2013

Self Introduction

Nice to meet you.
I’m Kenichiro Honmura
I came to Sri Lanka as a JEN intern.

I’m an undergraduate and took a temporary leave from school for one year. And then I started to intern in JEN Tokyo from April 2013. I’ve been in Sri Lanka since December and stay for 3 months.

While in university, I participated in volunteering activities which support refugees to Japan. So I got interested in international cooperation and NGO. That’s why I applied to JEN and started as intern.
I report project progression and real situation during my stay as simple as possible

Sincerely

Intern in Sri Lanka Honmura

[JEN’s project site in Batticaloa where the people lives is inconvenient and there are no shops and hospitals.]
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December 26, 2013 in Sri Lanka | | Comments (3218) | TrackBack (0)

11/28/2013

Interview to beneficiary in East (Part2)

I reside in a village called as Kompaikarachchi, and am doing agriculture since my young age. This village is situated 12 Kilo meters away from the main road. We have no transportation facility either from the State or Individuals. My family is constituted with three members and my family members extend their support for my involvement in agriculture. As my son too involve and show keen interest in doing agriculture along with us, and as nature of my residential place is conducive and lot of opportunities available to involve in agriculture rather than taking up other jobs, we earn our income from agriculture.  As because I do not have any least intension of sending my son for other or foreign employment, my son assist me to recover from the affect erupted due to war, and to experience the peace of mind.

I am compelled to face several problems in my employment. For example, Elephants, Pigs not only damage the crops but also damage the dwelling places as well.
As far as my village concerned, water scarcity is also a problem to do cultivation. Hence there is opportunity to do crop cultivation from January to April, as water flows in a small canal in the close proximity of my house, and I avail this opportunity to do the crops cultivation, as it is the source of our livelihood. As no adequate water available after April, I am compelled to not only leave out this job, but also unable to do alternative job due to my bad condition of my health, and during the dry season I manage to use the amount saved .and using the portion of food retained from the crops and the dried fish kept for use in dry season.  Though we eat with care with preplanning, it is very difficult to release from the damage caused by the Elephants and the high cost of living.

I will plan to utilize the whole piece of land for vegetable cultivation after water facility is provided by JEN agro well and to do cultivation in the whole year. We live in a small temporary hut and hence my son is very keen to build a brick house in future.   

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November 28, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

11/14/2013

Interview to beneficiary in East

We displaced due to war in 2006 and returned in 2010, now live in the village called Thangavelyuthapuram which is in the Thirukkovil DS division, Ampara district in the Eastern province, an isolated village. There are 6 members in our family, three daughters and a son. My husband as suffered from Diabetes, he is unable to do any hard work. 

[Beneficiary in Thangavelayuthapuram]
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As my husband is unable to do hard work, I do the labor work like removal of gram in paddy field, selling vegetable leaves grown in the forest during the dry season and receive small income. This income is enough hand to mouth only. This is the only source of income for us. Other than this our income produce depends on rain water. If rain comes, we do chena cultivation (high land crop cultivation like ground nut, maize). In case no sufficient rainfall, we have to migrate other villages for odd jobs.  We are practicing this way for a long time because we have no support to do a sustainable income produce in our village. I am trying to give education to my children to maximum level Due to lack of facilities many parents stop educating their children.

But I do not want to do that.I want to give the best to educate my children. I need to find a permanent and sustainable income producing mechanism to do that. If JEN provides water supply I can make a small home garden and start to grow vegetables and produce income. This is my first wish, then to utilize income to feed my children. My second wish is that by doing home gardening, I will make my children realize how am to suffer to educate them which will encourage them in their studies and think what they want do in future.

But, we are now in utter distress. As we reside in a hut, rain water ooze from the roof. The books of students get wet due to rain water. The attacks by wild Elephants to our village are frequent and due to this we can’t sleep well at night. Due to this villagers get together and sleep in one place. Our very important and basic need is house and water.


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November 14, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

10/31/2013

Agricultural workshop in East


Today I introduce an agricultural workshop in East.
JEN isn’t only providing agricultural wells, but also agricultural workshops to empower the productivity, using the wells.
In the workshop, the beneficiaries don’t only listen to a lecture, share and discuss their issue.
So far, 1 group is made up of near beneficiaries and the workshops were held in each group.
This time, JEN makes an opportunity to gather all groups.
Expansion of their community, awareness of their good and bad points and strengthening their union by comparison with other groups are expected through this trial.

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We introduce some practices, observing a real organic pesticide and pest with a microscope, to keep concentration of beneficiaries.

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JEN staffs make the minutes to share the lesson through the discussion.

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This agricultural workshop is supported by Agricultural Department and their mark is printed on the hand-out as their authorization.

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At the beginning of the session, participants are nervous because of the first bout. But once the discussion was begun, they relaxed and the discussion was activated.
I believe this trial lead strengthening the community.

Administration & Finance Officer in Sri Lanka office: Tomoo Nasuda


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October 31, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

10/17/2013

Correspondence between Keiko Kiyama and JEN staff

Dear Mugunthan,

Thank you very much for making various arrangements during my trip.
This time I was able to realize once again that our work had led to peace-building.

When the people came back to their familiar homeland after the end of the civil war in 2009, they found that it had been completely destroyed.
When they feel anxiety and frustration in the severe life they have to start from scratch, their anger is naturally directed at the civil war that lasted for many years.
Sometimes the anger may be directed at the people they fought against as an enemy.
So, I felt real peace in the hope-filled smiles of the women who told me that their income had quadrupled and now able to do so many things with their own money.

On the other hand, in some cases people tend to deny other people whose opinions and ideas are different from their own.

I think they will be able to live together if they can accept the differences as differences without denying them.
The key to harmony is tolerance.

In Sri Lanka, all the education is now being carried out in two languages, isn't it?

If the peoples with different languages and customs were to mutually accept without denying each other and share their lives, they would surely be able to live together.

"Peace is in the heart of each and every person"
Through my visit I was able to ascertain that our activities that strive to improve their lives had helped to build peace so that every person would be able to continue to have a supple mind.

Sincerely,

Keiko Kiyama

***************

Dear Keiko-san,

To tell you the truth, we were nervous until we saw you because none of our staff in Vavuniya office had ever met Keiko-san. However, we felt relieved very soon, for you started talking to us in a friendly manner right after you arrived.

It was impressive that you talked friendlily but with respect to local people and the community workers, who are also returnees, as well as to the workers at the related organizations during your stay.  This may be one of the reasons why the returnees were willing to tell you about their ongoing lives.

I remember very well that you gave us some advice on being thoughtful and what the support should be during the latter half of your stay. I remember you particularly emphasizing the importance of future peace-building and working in harmony with the society.

The northern part of Sri Lanka was well known as a vegetable-producing center thirty years ago. But the bitter civil war deprived many people of not only their homes and fields but also their strength of mind to engage in farming. It is through the ongoing project of sharing wells and farming equipment and working together as a group for their spiritual recovery that people have come to cooperate with each other as community members.

Peace-building is closely connected with everyday life. I would like to continue performing activities to let everyone become positive.

Mugunthan(Sri Lanka Office)
131017_4
[ Mugunthan:left side]



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October 17, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

10/03/2013

Real in North projet

There are still un-resettled areas in North, while 4 years passed since the end of the civil war.

A house has a bullet wound has still left in that area.

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Also we can see tens of vehicles have been burned and left there.

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There are mines near that area and removing them is on-going. A red sign in the picture means “mines are still there.”

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A tentative school is next to the minefield.
The inhabitants of the area feel fear that children may play in the minefield and been involved in an accident.

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After the removal of mines, resettlement will be started there. As it took more 4 years since the inhabitant left, necessary items for their life will not be there. So the assistant for returnees will be needed after this.

Administration & Finance Officer in Sri Lanka office: Tomoo Nasuda




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October 3, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

09/19/2013

Monitoring report in North projet

I introduce a current project at Mullaitive, northern Sri Lanka, funded by the Ministry of foreign affair of Japan.

The project in north has 2 same components; constructions of agro-well as water supply for agriculture and workshops for formation of the well management community and empowerment of the community as east. But there are different difficulties.

130919_geology_of_north_3


On construction of well, geology is different from east.
While a drill is used in east because the ground has hard bedrocks, it’s no need in north.
But the soft soil often causes collapse of the excavated hall.

[Collapsed well]
130919_collapsed_well_3



The local community has difficulty to introduce common use of the well.
The community has resistance to share the well because they feel fear that 1 beneficiary constructed the well in his land will occupy the well, saying “Today, there are no enough quantity of water.”
Therefore, JEN make an environment to use their well without restraint through the construction of the well on their boundary of their land.

The communication among the beneficiaries is mainly promoted by community workers belonging the village.
The coordination by them also is one of the programs to enforce the community.

[Community wokers]
130919_comunity_wokers_3



Administration & Finance Officer in Sri Lanka office:
Tomoo Nasuda




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September 19, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

09/05/2013

Present Weather Condition and Challenge the JEN Agro Well Construction – in North Srilanka

JEN is in process agro Well Construction and distribute agricultural instruments to improve the livelihood of the very poor people in the Mullaitive district, Puthukkudiyiruppu Divisional secretariat division Visuvamadu South and East GN divisions.  

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A list of the very poor people is prepared and selected and each of them is given ½ acre of land which could be cultivated round the year. To cultivate the land they need water supply round the year. To facilitate the supply of water wells are being dug. They are about 25 feet depth and 12 feet diameter.

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Wing to the present weather condition there was heavy rain fall the first quarter of the year as a result of which the ground water level was high when the wells were dug. The rise in the ground water level was challenge to JEN who were Constructing the agro wells. In case the dewatering Time was increasing.  Need more fuel and had to be used High Horse power pump to manage the Manage the de watering. 

130905_tractor_has_been_used_to_r_2

The contractors who took up the work on contract with JEN to construct the wells have agreed to bear up the extra expense as an opportunity to help the poor people. 
People are grateful to JEN and its contractors for the timely support to finish the agro well construction even though face challenges and hardship during the construction of Agro wells..

Thanga Kesavan – Technical Officer.




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September 5, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

08/22/2013

Current project in East

I introduce a current project in Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka.

The current project has 2 components; constructions of agro-well as water supply for agriculture and workshops for formation of the well management community and empowerment of the community.
The construction is on-going on July.

0822__excavation_2

A heavy construction equipment is used for the excavation work.
Of course, water gushes out during the work is disturbing the excavation. Work has to dig out the water as same as the soil.

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Before the excavation, we do geological test to select points to start digging.
But some points don’t go well because big quantity of water comes by a few digs.

0822__drill_2

And because eastern geology has hard bedrocks, we have to break the rocks.
It takes so many times because one machine repeats the changing of parts, from a shovel to a drill and from drill to shovel.

0822__mason_preparation_2

Mason works start as forming the well after 10m excavation and confirmation of water quantity.

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This works such as carrying bricks to the bottom, making cement and building bricks are doing by hand, drawing gushing water.
They work on the a few scaffolds while their foot can’t touch the ground.

Administration & Finance Officer   Tomoo Nasuda

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August 22, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

08/08/2013

Monitoring report of East project

I, Nasuda was posted as Administration & Finance Officer in Sri Lanka from Program Officer at headquarters.

I report an achievement through monitoring.

This is an agro-well built in 2011 at Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka.

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A new pump was added after the construction!

The well has enabled the resident to expand their farmland themselves and they purchased the pump to expand their land more.
Nowadays, they constructed a tank to keep the water until the water level comes again.

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The workshop contents, how to make composts, to promote the efficiency in the cultivation, etc..., have been used.

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Keeping accounts have also kept among them.

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A cycle introduces new way to increase their income was made by themselves. Their monthly income has grown from 500-2,000 Rs to 5,000-10,000 Rs.
I’m surprised such changes for only 2 years.

Administration & Finance Officer  Tomoo Nasuda



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August 8, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

08/01/2013

Sarvodaya Sharmadana Movement

Ms Keiko Kiyama, Secretary General of JEN, and Mr.Tomoo Nasuda, Administration and Finance Officer for JEN in Sri Lanka,and I went to Moratuwa to meet a profound and a pioneer social worker in the evening of Monday 22 July 2013.

We were anxious to meet this distinguished stature of our time. When we arrived at his residence, we were warmly welcomed by him and his dear wife. He was in his national attire. He is a humble person by nature and, always stood for integrity. His life style was admired and commended by the people of our country as it had a major impact on the people who were downtrodden. In his young age, he was a teacher by profession. His ability to meet life challenges and the exemplary ways of solving problems of day-to-day lives helped and encouraged most disadvantaged people to build up confidence and stand up on their feet. Let me introduce this well-known gentleman, Dr. A. T. Ariyarante, founder of “Sarvodaya Sharmadana Movement”. 

Dr.Ariyaratne began “Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement” in the year 1958. “Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement” is a non-governmental, and a non-profit making people’s Organization which is currently having offices in 34 districts and serving in 15,000 villages, in Sri Lanka.

The word “Sarvodaya” was taken originally from the vision Mahatma Gandhi had i.e., “better lives for all”. “Sarva” means “all”; “Udaya” means “awakening”; and “Sharamadana” means sharing one’s labour (energy)”. The vision of Sarvodaya is to eradicate poverty from the people by sharing the resources to awaken the lives of the poor. Having this great vision in mind, they began the mission of uplifting the living standards of the deprived people in Sri Lanka. “Sarvodaya” has identified many needs that liberate the under privileged people. The goal is to fulfill the basic needs that will support to upgrade the living standards of the under privileged people of this country.

Sarvodaya is supporting the villages to be “Grama Swarajya” means ‘self-governed’. Sarvodaya has implemented 16 main units to accomplish their vision and have introduced many activities that have already benefitted many people to come up from their dire situations. Out of these 16 units, the unit called “5R Unit” has impressed the people in a greater way. It consist five meaningful words, i.e., Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Reawakening. This Unit had been instrumental to empower and restore the quality of life in the war affected areas in Sri Lanka, especially in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

Administration Officer/Jonathan Rupasinghe

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August 1, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

07/11/2013

JEN's support towards Returnees in North – In a view of local staff

Sri Lanka has been called ‘pearl’ of South Asia. Because, location of srilanka in the world economically and strategically very important. Three decades civil war devastated its economics and cohesion of ethnics. Nowadays, little by little Sri Lanka tries to recover its economic stability.

JEN started its activities in southern part of Srilanka during 2005 after affected by Tsunami. During JEN Moved eastern part of Srilanka in 2007, finally JEN expanded its activities 2009 to Northern part of Srilanka it was time the end of three decades civil war n srilanka. JEN provided its emergency assistance in IDPs camps and highly contributed the recovery of returnees during the period of 2010-2012.During the 2013 JEN started its agro based livelihood assistance in the northern returned areas in order to ensure returnees self reliance.

JEN’s current project location is Mullaitive district, Puthukkudiyiruppu Divisional secretariat division Visuvamadu South and East GN divisions.Before thirty years, it was the very famous area for vegetables in Northern srilanka. War destructed not only people’s visible assets but also mental strength of doing agriculture.

JEN has formed small groups in order to work together and it will support them to strengthen their mental power. Further, JEN has been constructing Agro wells in order to ensure uninterrupted water supply in whole year. In addition JEN provides agro tools and equipments to the beneficiaries.   It’s supported them to restart their agri based initiative with confident.

Provision of training on agriculture related new techniques along with practical session supports returnees to increase and reorganize their knowledge and skills related to agriculture. JEN organize workshop on how to increase market links and keep the financial related records properly.

[Preparation for agro well]
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[Beneficiaries at Visuvamadu West]
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Very obviously, sharing the Agro wells, tools and equipments in the north were not welcomed by Government sector and local CBOs at the starting part of the project. Because, post war situation has created suspicions and disputes among the returnees due to security, economic and cultural reasons which is not uncountable and hard to realize. But, Our North team took it as a challenge to face above mentioned issues and succeeded to mobilize the beneficiaries to share the assistance among the returnees.

JEN’s assistance in North Sri Lanka has been appreciated and indicated as model several times to other Aid agencies. Returnees of North always regard and respect JEN’s assistance.

[Discussuing with benificiaries]
130711_discussuing_with_benificia_2


Program officer: Raja Mugunthan
 

July 11, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

06/27/2013

JEN's support towards Returnees in East – In a view of local staff

In Sri Lanka, the NGO confined to the Nation of Japan in Sri Lanka is only a few comparing to the other Nation. But the contribution for the development in Sri Lanka by the Japanese is comparatively higher.  The one of the NGO in this category is JEN, and it is in the leading list of assisting the island in several projects for the development of the disaster affected people.

It must be said that the JEN came to Batticaloa district in the Eastern part of SL in order to give assistance to the people who were badly affected due to recurrent violence’s and destruction for 3 decades war which came to an end finally in 2009.  However the affected people, who were displaced during the time of war and resettled gradually since 2006, were given the necessary assistance by way of providing livelihood assistance for fishing folks and farmers (agriculture production).  Being the loss of agriculture producers was so massive, that JEN compelled to continue its assistance still now.  Up to now, 100 Agro wells (depth 25 to 30feet-width10feet each) has been constructed in Batticaloa District. The direct beneficiaries are 800 households.  The indirect beneficiaries are about 6000 persons.  The beneficiaries when returned, they depended on WFP for their survival, but now they are able to earn their livelihood by themselves after 5 years.  They are doing cultivation, fishing and other jobs on their own to earn for leading a sustainable livelihood.

These people were forced to be away from their native places abandoning their house and properties moving place to place during the period of crisis which lead them to lose their normal cultural activities like attending Temple, Churches, Ceremonies or festival etc. for they being living under stress and strain.  Subsequently intervention of JEN with the affected lot, the people was induced to cultivate positive thinking with confidence to recoup their former state of life through proper counseling.  They now value the team work with participatory process for their progress and emancipated to attend freely in cultural activities with good moral changes.

JEN Batticaloa Office Project Officer G.David

June 27, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

06/13/2013

Special Report On Environmental day in Sri Lanka

This year on 5th June the World Environment Day (WED) was celebrated. WED was formed by the United Nations General Assembly in the year 1972. The first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973. World Environmental day main activities means to tackle environmental challenges that include climate change, global warming, disasters and conflict, harmful substances, environmental governance, ecosystem management and resource efficiency.

If we describe the meaning of the word “Environment” it is the surroundings or conditions in which people, animals, live in. Colombo being the main city of Sri Lanka there has been a series of measures that were carried out to improve the existing conditions of the environment in the immediate surroundings by a government Institution named Urban Development Authority.  As a result of these measures the surroundings of Colombo have been improved to a certain extent thereby creating a better and a healthier environment for the people to live in.  One of the main tasks of this entire exercise was to introduce a proper garbage clearance thereby keeping the areas clean and tidy for the benefit of the public. Among the many measures that were taken, one visible step was to have large containers to collect garbage where there are large gatherings such as hospitals, schools, institutions, etc.  Further steps were taken to clean the drains by using various pest control liquids to minimize the pollution of the air.

During this week, a programme called “Beautiful Gampaha Programme” was carried by the Government which was held in the district of Gampaha under the guidance of the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapakshe. The residents in that area made every effort to keep their homes and the surroundings clean and tidy. This helped surroundings of
Gampaha to have a cleaner and a healthier environment. As the nation of Sri Lanka is facing a big threat of a deadly disease called DENGU which is being spread by a MOSQUITO, it is the utmost duty of every citizen of this country to take every measure to keep the immediate surroundings of their homes clean thereby contributing their fullest support to destroying all the Mosquito breathing places. 

Jonathan Rupasinghe
(JEN Sri Lanka Office)

June 13, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

05/16/2013

Announcement of taking a post

I, Nasuda was posted as a Program Officer in charge of Sri Lanka at the headquarters.

Honestly, I don’t know Sri Lanka well and have image of Ceylon tea and the long name capital before a person in charge.
Of course, I know that the ethnic conflict had been continued, but didn’t assume that the support for returnees has so difficulty. Depend on region, it seems that a regulation for a group continues as a assembly to plot. Interference in returnees’ life also continues.

I do support Sri Lanka offices to advance the programs smoothly, learning the history to understand the context!

Program Officer at headquarters/ Tomoo Nasuda

May 16, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

05/02/2013

Elephants Presented to Japan from Sri Lanka

The year 2012 marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. On March 12th, two elephants were surprisingly presented to Tokyo’s Tama Zoological Park to commemorate the anniversary.

The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa attended the ceremony during his visit to Japan. A group of Japanese children were also present at this ceremony and sang “Zou-san” (a Japanese children’s song about elephants) in Sinhalese to celebrate.

http://www.asahi.com/area/tokyo/articles/TKY201303120539.html (Japanese)
http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/INET/OSHIRASE/2013/03/20n31100.htm (Japanese)

As was written in the breaking news on September 13th, 2012, Sri Lanka is regarded as friendly nation and people towards Japan. Although there are many wild elephants, it was a surprise that they gave us two sacred elephants. At the same time, I started to wonder how they were transported to Japan because it would take too long to ship, too overweight and too tall to fly…

It was adorable to watch the children sing in Sinhalese. Many questions came into my mind as to how the ceremony was prepared, such as: ‘Who translated the song?’ ‘Do they know that there is a language called Tamil?’ and others.

Sri Lanka is famous for coffee and Mr. Wicky (known as “Wicky-san” in Japan), but it is also becoming famous for its resorts. I hope that Sri Lanka will become closer for more Japanese through the President’s visit and gift of the elephants.

May 2, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

04/18/2013

Telecommunication System in Sri Lanka

“Phones cannot be reached due to heavy rain”
“We can’t answer emails as there is no internet connection due to heavy rain."

This is a true conversation that happens in Sri Lanka...at least in our JEN office. These are actual messages we Colombo office received from our offices in Vavuniya (Northern area) and Batticaloa (Eastern area). "Not again..." We often get disappointed as it happens so often during the rainy season.

At Colombo office, telecommunication network works relatively well, and I don’t recall any telephone network trouble, however, many times due to heavy rain, Internet and TV network get cut off.

130418


“Heavy rain” in Sri Lanka is much lighter than typhoons in Japan. I realize how telecommunication system in Japan is well developped as we can watch live reporting of typhoon on TV.

As I’m writing this blog, here comes another heavy rain with thunder! There might be a blackout as it gets stronger, so I will call it a day now.

April 18, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

04/04/2013

Supporting Each Other Every Day

During the latest months, I have been supervising some projects as the only Japanese staff stationed in Sri Lanka.

I started to take part in project management besides the general affairs and accounting which I had already been doing. There are a lot of things that I do not know or understand clearly, so every day I learn different things from the local staff.
The tasks are new and am eager to learn, but as a result, of course my workload has doubled.

However, as I go on living such busy days, I can notice more than usual that the people around me support me tremendously.
For example, one of my friends contacted me, “You sounded sick when we talked on the phone yesterday. I can take you to the hospital because I am off work today.”
Another friend offered me, “Don’t worry, I will introduce you an expert in my office,” when I had some trouble on my management of the project.
My parents said to me, “Today we sent you some Japanese food. Please enjoy it until you come back to Japan next time.” Trying to hide their anxiety for me, they cheer me up.
The staff of the main office told me, “The new project got good remarks and many 'like's', not only on the webpage but on facebook as well!”
I am very encouraged by everyone.

One instance that made me happiest was an e-mail one local staff sent another local staff. I would like to keep the details  to myself, but that was when I felt that staff grow and develop by watching how their senior staff work.
I want to grow with them and aim to make our projects much better.

April 4, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

03/21/2013

Healthy Life in Sri Lanka (Sugar free biscuit!)

I came across this at the snack section of a local supermarket.

130321


I would like to introduce, with this commemorative picture, an “epoch-making” biscuit as my recent finding in Sri Lanka. Although I would imagine that this is nothing curious nor surprising for most of people in Japan.

Here in Sri Lanka, people have snacks and tea with full of sugar, and for daily meals, they use plenty of salt, chili, oil and coconuts. Their dietary habit is far from what Japanese think of a “healthy diet”.

In such a setting, a snack that promotes being “healthy” has finally appeared here in Sri Lanka. What's more, you can find it not only in Colombo but even in supermarkets in Vavuniya in Northern Province.

Are Sri Lankan people becoming more conscious about their health? Well, we shall see.

March 21, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

03/07/2013

Announcement of leaving office

Program officer, Ms. Etsuko Inomata, who had been working in Sri Lanka for 3 years since February 2010, left her position at the beginning of this February. Thank you for your support all the while.

130307_9
Ms. Inomata has living experience in Sri Lanka from before, and making full use of her high command of Shinhalese, she smoothly communicated with our local staff and implemented various assistance projects.

Her leaving was sad for our staff, but we, with the experience and the confidence that were built thanks to her, will continue to conduct our projects to support self-reliance of the Sri Lankan returnees.

We will do our best to conduct successful projects in Sri Lanka that you will hopefully continue supporting, and also deliver these news reports to keep you updated on ours progress here.

March 7, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

02/21/2013

Attending the signing ceremony for our new project

On February 1, we attended a signing ceremony.   This signing ceremony was to announce the launch of a new project which is to be implemented with the support of JEN supporters and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.  As it was my first experience to attend such ceremony, rather than being nervous, I was very interested in how such ceremony was conducted. When I arrived at the Ambassador's Residence in Colombo, most of people of the press were already seated.  In Sri Lanka, things are usually carried out graciously and you always feel at ease, but I realized how solemn this ceremony was.

At the signing ceremony, the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka and JEN signed and exchanged the written contracts, and  JEN made a brief explanation about the project.  The Ambassador made a speech right after, and then there was a Q&A session with the press. The ceremony ended in about half an hour.

Our new project supports the recovery in the Mullaitivu District in Northern Sri Lanka and Ampara District in Eastern Sri Lanka. Specifically speaking, we will support constructing agro-wells and provide trainings to run workshops on agricultural knowledge, and form and empower agriculture communities over the next 12 months. The project will provide stable water supply to nearly 350 families, and will largely contribute to their self-sustainability.

Details on the project will be updated on this news blog.  Please look forward to our updates.

130221

130221_2

February 21, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

02/07/2013

Who is Ken?

Although it's been awhile since I arrived to assume this post in Sri Lanka, I only know a little Sinhalese mostly for greeting like "hello", "my name is **", "how are you?", "I'm good", when I take a rickshaw, "please go straight", "I am not Chinese", 99% of people who I come across think I'm Chinese at the beginning.

And lately I figured out another Sinhalese expression!

Staffs at Colombo Office answer the phone saying "Oh, Ken!" which makes me wonder if Ken calls us that often? I have never heard of a person called Ken that I was wondering for quite some time.  What took me so long to figure this out? I asked them "what does Ken mean in Sinhalese?" then they just say "there is no such word".

The fact was that I had not gotten the sound right. It is supposed to be pronounced "kyan" with weak "ya" then it sounds like "Ken" when you say it fast. Its meaning is "tell me", "what's wrong?" Well, I feel better that my mystery has been solved.

February 7, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

01/24/2013

East: Inspection Tour Group from Japan

In Sri Lanka, welcoming guests is one of the cultural conducts to show respects to others.

This is a scene of the Vellaveli County Mayor welcoming the inspection tour group from Japan.
130124_mission_welcomed_at_well_no1

After that they participated in the feed-water pump receiving commemoration
130124_haniding_over_water_pump3_2


and the ribbon-cutting130124_mission_welcomed_at_well_n_3
as a part of the water well opening ceremony.

And the people in the village performed an organic compost making demonstration, which they learned in the workshop of JEN, in front of the inspection group 130124_compost_makingpaktharkulam2


Organic compost made of materials they can get in their daily lives such as straw, cow dung, fallen leaves.

During the ceremony and demonstration, the inspection group asked various questions such as “ How do you share the feed-water pump?”, and ”How do you manage the cost of maintenance?”

This kind of communication was a very good opportunity for people in the village to think about the situation they may be experiencing because they continue to use the agricultural wells and distributed feed-water pump.

 
(This project is conducted with the cooperation of supporters and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

January 24, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

01/10/2013

Sri Lanka official trip report –easternarea / part2

Ten hours by car from Colombo, I arrived at the eastern prefecture of Batticaloa.  My impression was that the farms were more vast and verdant than in the north.  The owned farm area per family in the eastern part is also larger than in the northern areas.  In the east, the owned farm area per family is about 2 acres (1 acre= about 0.4 hectare), whilst in the north, about 1 acre.  I could see not only farms, but also paddy fields, as rice cultivation is also widespread.

The local government of Batticaola prefecture has been digging wells for agricultural usage and improving returnees’ lives.  When I visited Kiran DS, wells were being constructed.  That work was taking place on a much larger scale than I had expected.

[They are building wells]
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130110_8


I could observe the collaboration between the constructors and the local community on that site.  The site is in a rural area, so once the workers start their work, they cannot return to their houses in the city for at least one week or so.  So the leader of the well administration committee shared his living space with the workers and provided meals to them.  In actuality, the leader’s house is just a small hut, but I could witness a good example of team collaboration.

[Well administration committee leader’s house]
130110_9


I had expected life in this area to be stable, as many families had returned here many years ago.  The reality of the situation was that their living environment had not been improved.  The major reasons seem to be unstable income from agriculture and frequent raides on the houses from elephants.  It had been reported that there had been frequent attacks by elephants during the harvest time.  In that trip, I saw an actual house that had been damaged by an elephant.

[The house which was destroyed by the elephant]
130110_10


I had a new finding.  As a solution for the elephant raides, I had heard that the Kiran DS local government distributed “elephant prevention crackers” to residents, yet I could not imagine what kind of crackers they were.  Finally, I could find out what sort of crackers were being distributed!  These crackers were different from the crackers used in Japan.  These crackers were thrown to the elephants after they were lighted.  There are two sorts, large and small ones.  The large one generates sound, light, and smoke, and the small  generates sound and smoke.  In Sri Lanka, elephants are considered to be sacred animals, so people do not throw the crackers to the elephants directly, but I heard that the crackers are temporarily effective.

[The big cracker]
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[The small cracker]
130110_5


By visiting a project site in operation for the first time, and communicating with the local residents, local government officials, and project members, I have developed a clear image of the situation, with which I expect to manage the project more smoothly. 

January 10, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

12/20/2012

North:The Monitoring of the Project by JPF

JPF has conducted monitoring of JEN’s projects on Nov. 8th and 9th. One was from North Sri Lanka in Vavuniya District.  The other is the one which is now going on at Mullativu District.  On the first day, the observation was for the projects of 426 cleaning wells and of 230 repairing wells which both happened in Vavuniya North Division in Vavuniya District from 2010, June to December.  JEN saw that the well management committee still used the feed-water pumps and the cleaning equipments which were provided by JEN at the end of the project.  They have new cleaning equipments since it has been using more than a year.  The wells are maintained by the management committee. When small repairs are needed, the well management committee initiated by the community or the village development association does.  Members from the committee still continue to visit local people’s places to verify well conditions even after 2 years when the project was done.

It has already been 2 years since people returned home in Vavuniya North Division.  Therefore, the construction of permanent residences has been started instead of temporary housings.  All the leaders of the well management committee are evaluated from the past experiences to be the ones of the housing construction committee.  They will discuss about the cleaning and repairing of the well among the committee.  JEN saw their positive achievements that they showed the leadership in another committee as well.  The leadership was what they got from JEN’s project.

On the second day, the monitoring was occurred for the project which is going on from July in 2012 at Puthukkudiyiruppu Division in Mullativu District.  The cleaning and repairing of 442 wells and the constructions of 13 pump style wells in 13 districts are enforcing.

[Picture: The explanations of pump style well locations on a map by JEN’s staff]
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[Picture: Digging down to 100 feet (about 30 meters) under the ground due to the pump style well construction.]
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People get covered in mud inasmuch as mud is blown up quite frequently in the air.  However, that is the way water inside get clarified.

[Picture: Pump style well digging.]
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“Well cleaned and repaired water is shared with people of 10 households in our neighborhood for various uses.” said, Ms. Toffek who is the female leader of the well management committee.

[Picture: The partitions stay for the bathes of the woman.]
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“My daughter has felt worried sometimes when she washed herself in the dark at the joint well on the street away.  Even though my husband had hard time taking a bath because of his disabilities of his leg and shoulder from the conflict, we are glad now that it is not as difficult as before.  Other than the partitions, people in the neighborhood have conversations lively at the time they come to get water.  It is just like when people were in peace before the conflict was happened.  I am so happy about it and neighbors thank me.  Moreover, people have asked me for the advice as I am the leader of the committee.  For examples, about the village situations or the worries that the women face afterward they came back to their village.  I have been getting confidence little by little” she said

Not only troubles of water have been solved but also people in the village have had the opportunities to talk or discuss about common problems.  The best point is that they the relations between them from their attitude to get over those problems with a team after the cleaning and repairing of the well.  That is what Toffek said.  She also told that the fences of the entrance leave opened so that people can come to get water anytime with the feelings their life is going on in peace.

[Children drinking water of the well at Ms. Toffek’s place]
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December 20, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

12/06/2012

East:Audit from the MOFA monitoring team

From November 6th to 7th, with the support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the supporters, an audit was conducted by the Japanese Embassy of Srilanka to review the support activities of livelihood of returnees from October 2008 to September 2009 at Kiran DS of Batticaloa District.
Staff from JEN also attended communicating and interviewing the residents where the activities conducted have been finished.
On the first day, the agricultural readjustment assistant was monitored at Kiran DS of Batticaloa District. Their activities ended more than three years ago, confirming that the distributed tools were still in use and then audited the seedbed of hot pepper that residents learned as house garden skills during those days.

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Grown seeds will be shared by the group. The big leaf in front of the man is a growing coconut leaf. In behind, a casaba bush and a big leaf of banana can be observed.
The residents were applying “mixed planting” which were skills they learned, when JEN was providing aiding activities. After the monitor, we visited the big local market and encountered the member of the fishing organization, aided by the fishing aid program, selling tilapia.

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On the second day, we monitored the fishing organization at Vahaneri lake where boats and fishing tools were distributed by the fishing readjustment assistant. After visiting the fish market early in the morning we interviewed the leader of the organization.
After counting the number of the boat JEN distributed, we dined the fresh fish fry at the leader’s house.

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【This is the boat JEN distributed, the emblem is still there】
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【Fishermen on duty】
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Additionally, we were able to interview the leaders from the selected members of the beneficiary committee of the second district of Kiran who participated the agricultural readjustment assistant

Mrs.Indrani , the leader of the beneficiary committee (joined by 111 household) of Kudamunaikkal village consisted by 15 home garden groups said “It has been 3 years since the aid has finished, we are now able to save our membership fee. We discussed with our members and to clean the Hindu temples”.  She mentioned with confidence that “I am very happy now that I can harvest vegetables from my garden. Before then, we only had our personal profit in mind, but now after participating JEN’s activities I began to think of supporting the other residents as the leader of the community. This was a big change for me.”
During the activities, the village was a period after returning from an unstable condition but people are now talking about their perspective.

We were able to confirm a strong relation being established within the village and the process being developed which was a very impressive monitoring.

December 6, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

11/08/2012

Northern Sri Lanka : Puthukkudiyiruppu DS- Today

In early October, we visited  northern Project site in Puthukkudiyiruppu DS of Mullativu District for the first time in a year.  From Vavunia where our Office is located, we took a route called A9 up north, ran through the corner of Kilinochchi and turning right taking the same route.  However, there were many discoveries.

Number of residential buildings of returnees has increased during the year around the Transitional Shelters built by JEN last year.

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In the area where there were only shacks last year, now there are many stores.

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Public buses run through the main street.  Power poles and electric wires runs through the area and  electric power distribution has become more stable.  We have witnessed their recovery is certainly under way.

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Although, big differences exist in the Puthukkudiyiruppu DS.  In the area where returnees has returned about half a year ago, there are people who are concerned of their lives of the future after the delivery of food from the United Nations (the UN).  Some people cannot earn any money that they have no funds to develop their worn- out farm to restart rice cropping.  In the area where people started to return three moths ago, it is still in the stage that male returnees are leveling out the worn- land to secure the land for living. Water tankers delivered from the UN has been watered  only once and has not been watered since then.

Next to the area we have witnessed a sigh of recovery, there are still many people who needs support.

November 8, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

10/25/2012

Bicycles

In Colombo where I am living in, I seldom see people riding bicycles. It does not mean there are a lot of sloping roads. They think it is dangerous to ride bicycles in Colombo in which there are several problems on traffic manner. However I see bicycle riders once in a while and they are all men.

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Some time ago I visited the northern place we were doing project. I found females of various generations--from girls in primaries to adult ladies were riding bicycles. Was it the difference between the culture of Shinhala and the one of Tamil? Actually that is not true.

Before 1990, it was rare that ladies ride bicycles here, in the northern part of Sri Lanka. From this period the economic sanctions was started and it got harder to get gasoline and petroleum to the north. Therefore bicycles, which do not need any gasoline got popular. After that, it was not rare that women ride bicycles any longer in the north.

October 25, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

10/11/2012

An Empty Welcome Home (Part 2)

Other than residential facilities and food, water is the other essential. Only one water-well provides water for both laundry and bathing, which is used after being cleaned. However, in the dry season the water supply can be exhausted within ten days.
 
The United Nations has also provided three water tanks, to be shared between 50 to 70 households. This roughly calculates to each household receiving 3.5L-5L of water per day. However, due to proclaimed financial reasons, local authorities have not been providing the agreed amount — forcing people to travel roughly 2km for water.
 

Though Sri Lanka has come to be considered a tourist area of high economic growth in recent years, there are those even now who still suffer from the effects of domestic strife. This is something we should not overlook.
 

JEN continues to support the return of migrants to their homelands, and has installed five hand-operated water pumps.

This activity was made possible by the assistance of our supporters and the Japan Platform.

October 11, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

09/27/2012

An Empty Welcome Home (Part 1)

The GN Division of Mallikaithivu is located 5km inland in the DS Division of Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullativu District. Though some natives sustained their livelihood by fishing, the majority supported themselves by farming. These Tamils are 2nd and 3rd generation migrants, a movement stemming from of a government policy in the 1950’s which saw natives migrate from the Jaffna district and immerse themselves in peanut farming.

Internal conflict within the country was the impetus for moving. In order to escape becoming a casualty of war, they had no choice but to flee from their homeland, and congregate in refugee camps known as “manic camps”. The opportunity to return home finally came on August 10, 2012 — more than three years since the end of the war. Since then, 394 families have returned home within a month.

The UN aided the returning families, providing trucks and buses for transportation. For the families, provisions received were not limited to foodstuffs — cookware, shovels, knife, vinyl sheets, and other essentials were also distributed.

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The returnees arrive home to an empty welcome. Scrap wood, leftovers of war, and the few remains of their homes lie in tatters. A stark contrast to the homes they left behind before the war.

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After clearing space by removing debris, places are allocated for the construction of tents, which require sturdy pieces of wood for the frames.

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Monthly provisions of rice, dried beans, coconut oil, sugar and wheat flour are supplied. Other ingredients such as meat, fish, eggs and vegetables can be bought from surrounding towns; however, the distance (6km) from these towns as well as a lack of public transportation facilities means a long walk, or a bicycle ride for those few who own such luxuries.

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(continued in part 2)

September 27, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

09/13/2012

I went to Sri Lanka Festival!

How do you do? I’m Ueda, a program officer in the head office of JEN. I’m usually working for management of the project for Sri Lanka, but today I’d like to report you about “Sri Lanka Festival 2012” which was held on September 8th and 9th in Yoyogi Park.

【A scene of the event! So many people!】
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This is an annual event held by Sri Lankan Embassy. It was my first time to participate in it and I was so surprised at the number of the participants! Especially there were lines around the booths which were selling Sri Lankan tea and food. Spicy aroma spread and it made everyone feel exotic. I was happy to feel so many people had interest in Sri Lanka.

【A scene of the booths】
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【The booth of coconuts juice. They broke a coconut dynamically and put a straw just in front of me.】
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Various groups of dancers invited from Sri Lanka were performing traditional dances on the stage in the venue. Their costumes looked so vivid. The shapes of the drums were unique. It is so interesting, isn’t it?
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A special-feature program of the event was “The Talk Show by Wicky”!
Everyone, do you know Wicky
is from Sri Lanka? It has past 50 years since he came to Japan. He spoke his feeling about Japan and his impression of his experience to act in Miyagi prefecture after The Tohoku Earthquake. He sometimes spoke with unique humors.

Just after the earthquake, the Sri Lankan Embassy went to the stricken areas and started to distribute tea and curry rice despite a lot of people involving embassies built in Japan had escaped to their hometowns. Many events held by the embassies had been curtailed or called off because of the earthquake, but Sri Lanka Festival was held in the same scale as the last time. I felt kindness by Sri Lankan people and ties between Sri Lanka and Japan.

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Anyway, it was so hot (32 degrees) on the day of the event and many Japanese sweated a lot. On the other hand, Sri Lankan people had cool expressions on their faces although they were cooking and selling foods in their booths. They must be used to the heat.
I filled my stomach with curry rice, tandoori chicken and so on. I felt fun to experience Sri Lankan culture and it was a nice weekend I could feel Sri Lanka closer than before.

September 13, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

08/30/2012

Literal translation: fire-dragon-fruit


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This flower blooms at night. Can you guess the name of this fruit from the Chinese character i n t he title?


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As you can see from the picture of a bud, it has thorns on its leaf (green part) because this fruit belongs to the same family as cactus.
I thought it comes from South East Asia, but actually it originally comes from Mexico or Central and South America.


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It tastes fresh and sweet, and contains a lot of seeds inside. The texture is like a kiwi fruit.

Have you figured it out already?   It's a dragon fruit!

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It grows like this, as you can see from the picture above.

August 30, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

08/16/2012

Rambutan

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     This fruit, covered with something which looks like chestnut bur or thick hair, is in season twice in Sri Lanka: from the end of June to August and from December to January. An office staff gave me some as there is a good crop this year.

     Do you know there is also a yellow variety, not only the red one? They are about the same size. Both are juicy and very tasty though, I feel like the red one tastes stronger.

     Several days later, the staff was absent from work for a few days due to coughing and a high fever. When I asked him how he was feeling after his getting better, he said, “I ate rambutans too much, that’s why I got a cold.” It is quite common to say in that manner in this country, isn’t it?

[Rambutan tree]
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August 16, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

08/02/2012

Northern region: Meeting the users of wells repaired last year

From January to June 2011, JEN repaired and cleaned wells in Vavuniya district, Vavuniya County. This time, we monitored the condition of the wells and how the local residents were using them. Though we could check only a small portion of all 406 repaired wells, we were able to see how the wells were supporting the people’s lives.
Here is an example:

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This man returned to his home in October 2010. Using water drawn from the repaired well, he grows a large field of peanuts. The peanut seeds were purchased from the government, and the harvest would be sold to the government at a fair price. Such arrangements are made to help individual farmers, whose sales prices are often beat down in the market.

It was the harvest season and there were loads of peanuts in the storehouse.
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(There were enough peanuts to make a comfortable bed!)
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This project was carried out with grant funding from JPF and our supporters. JEN continues to receive funding and maintains its activities in northern Mullaittivu district.

August 2, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

07/19/2012

East: Why don’t you look at construction site for agricultural wells

We introduce it in a virtual world. It is about a project which has begun in the three areas of East Batticaloa (2nd area from the top and two in the bottom of the 6 areas in the map below) since the end of February. Currently, it is under construction of wells for agricultural use.

[Map of Batticaloa]
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The standard size of agricultural wells which JEN has been constructing is 3 m width and 9 m depth.  We dig a bit wider for the masonry work after.

We will move to the masonry work after we confirm the sufficient amount of springwater after excavation work.
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Stacked the blocks (small cracked blocks will be utilized to fill the gap)
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In the middle, reinforced with wire of iron
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We’ve finally reached to the ground.
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We grout the well’s wall with cement after this, and landfill where we dug over the well’s  width. When we clean the well, the work is completed. The whole processes take about 2 weeks if it goes smoothly.

July 19, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

07/05/2012

What can we do by 500 yen? ~Life in Colombo~

The theme of this blog on late March “Cost of Living”.
We guess some of you have been interested to how much money to be spent for living there. Today, we will consider what we can buy in Colombo by one coin, 500 yen. At present exchange rate, 500 Japanese yen is about 800 Sri Lanka rupees. It seems not affordable money if we write “a 500 rupees bill plus three 100 rupees bills”. Meal of Sri Lanka is said to be curry three times a day. 4kgs of Dal Beans, one of popular ingredients can be bought.

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It is necessary for curry, chili which can be bought 2.2kgs. To give examples in common vegetable for Japanese, 3.9kgs of tomato, 5.3kgs of carrot, 5.5kgs of green beans and 1kgs of minced chicken meal can be bought.

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Can you see some of the prices of commodity in Colombo?
In News Letter in July, will have the feature what can we buy by 500 yen? ~Aid for returnees in North area~.  Please read it.

July 5, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

06/21/2012

How to serve the aid with high-quality

Most of the people who refuge from the conflict inside country have lost their own house and any other possessions. JEN has been sustaining such people, and our jobs are required to have high-quality all of times.

Before starting repair of the well, we have the meeting with the Community Workers (CW) from local companies (please see the report dated 9/9/2010 and 9/29/2011) and the members of Well Management Committee (WMC) who maintain the well after completion of the repair. And at the meeting, we share the reason why our job is required high-quality and how to evaluate it.
Our technical staffs make learning tools and lecture CW and WMC who are not expert of architecture.

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During the repair work, JEN’s technical staffs, the field officers and CW have checked general work progress and details of each work, for example, the content rate of sand, cement and metal of the cement blocks.

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After completion of the work, the well is delivered to local people.
However, JEN’s job has not been finished yet. We do final confirmation of the quality after 6 months. If we find any defect in caused by mal-construction progress, we repair again the defect.

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The above-mentioned work which we are pursuing the high-quality aid.

June 21, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

06/07/2012

【Eastern Zone】Prices and Water Supply

In 2009, the war was over and the country is returning to peace, but due the rise of crude oil prices that began on February this year, the price of every other product is rising and making the citizens suffer.

On the other hand, there is still the problem of securing the water supply of Eastern Batticaloa District, but thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our supporters in Japan, the project has reached its third year.

The excavation works began on May 15th starting from Vellaveli DS in Batticaloa. Usually near the coast of Batticaloa, water begins to spring out after you drill 3 meters deep into the ground, but in this zone you need to drill about 9 meters. This is a picture of JEN’s monitoring staff in the Kudumbimalai GN in Kiran DS (also called the region of Thoppigala, the last region under dispute and base of the LTTE) on May 17th.
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This is a picture of the state of the excavation works in Vellaveli DS. They are using a rock drill.
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The water content inspections began on May 21st. This is a picture of one of the inspections in Kiran DS.
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Due to the fluctuations of stone material prices, we had to restart negotiations with the supplier, and although it was difficult, on May 30th the stone cutting works started.
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Presently, JEN’s office in Batticaloa is giving its best to finish the stone cutting works of all 31 bases before the rain season starts in October. We hope to keep receiving your kind support from now on.

June 7, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

05/24/2012

When people start to catch a cold...

In Japan the first think that comes to mind is traditional Chinese medicine, right? Here in Sri Lanka there is also a remedy for when people start to show symptoms of a cold. Probably not only the citizens of Sri Lanka, but also Japanese residents here know what this is.

On both sides of the box in both Tamil and Sinhala language it says: “100 % Natural Safe Herbal Remedy.”


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It contains coriander, ginger, pepper, cumin, etc. but I have always thought that it was odd and had to drink, so I avoided it. But I got a fever that wasn’t going down so I decided at last to give it a try.

After I putted the content of a dose into water it quickly dissolved. Contrarily to what I had imagined, it was a sweet and easy to drink herb tea. I will begin to drink this earlier from now on.

May 24, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

05/10/2012

Difficulty with Going through a River

One of current JEN’s project is reconstruct and clean a well in Theripuram GN
, Mullativu District, which is located in a coastal area.

A river flows in the village and people had used a reinforced concrete bridge built before the conflicts occurred. However, the bridge collapsed overnight. After the conflicts occurred, broken cars and bicycles were mounted in the neighborhood and some people change these things into money. The bridge was apparently taken by that kind of people.

Village people started to use a log instead of the stolen bridge. Do you remember there are balance beams in the elementary school gym? The width of the log bridge is just like a balance beam. JEN staff at first felt fear to walk on the bridge, however, there is no choice but to walk on it in order to support people in need.

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Practicing walking with balance on a narrow bridge, now he can afford to make an eye contact with the photographer.

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May 10, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

04/19/2012

Eastern part: 3 Months Has Passed since Project Completed

Let me introduce a voice a lady participated in workshops on agricultural wells or community reinforcement in the east project completed last December.

Ms Maheswary, Kiran DS Vaddavan Village, 30 years old

I grow seven kinds of vegetables in a two-acre field.
Home-made organic fertilizer I learned last year makes vegetable grow well and the vegetables sell more than before.
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With the earnings, I opened a small shop and grow live stocks.

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Furthermore, I can save money. I’m really happy.
Now that we get a huge agricultural well, I am sure I can get over whatever that may happen in future.

April 19, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

04/05/2012

【Northern Zone】The visit of the JPF monitoring team

On March 28th Jens`s staff accompanied the Japan Platform monitoring team on its visit of the project site.
 
In the morning, we go to monitor the cleaning and repair labors of the well that began on January in the Theripuram GN of Puthukkudiyiruppu DS the Mullativu District.

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In the picture below we can see the moment when they are carefully pulling down a cement block down to the bottom of a well under repair.

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They use the cement as an adhesive and they keep piling up the blocks one after each other.

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To visit the villagers we had to carefully pass through many trenches and small mountains of soil that were used in the war to prevent enemy attacks, but after a lot of effort we managed to arrive at last . After a few of the houses were monitored

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We check the repair and cleaning labors of the well and also the construction of a temporary dwelling facilities with toilet on December of last year.

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After getting the permission of the villagers, we are shown the already constructed toilet and they tell us a few stories inside the house.

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In Sri Lanka the New Year is celebrated in the middle of April, but by that period the second rain season hits. JEN’s office is giving his best to finish the stone cutting labors before the access to the construction site becomes difficult because of the rain. We hope to keep receiving your kind support from now on.

April 5, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

03/22/2012

Prices rising in Sri Lanka

At the same time that it has been said that Sri Lanka’s economy grew by 8% last year, here in Sri Lanka prices are also soaring to the roof .

For example, the bus, main mean of transport for many people here, used to cost 6 rupees for a ride in the city of Colombo a year ago and it has soared to 7 to 10, and now to 12 rupees which is twice as expensive. Try to think that the City Bus prices go up from 200yen to 400yen or that Tokyo’s subway would cost 320 yen instead of 160 yen. Now it is easier to imagine the problem, right? 

This is mainly because of the rise of gas prices that began last February, which has triggered an increase on the bus fees.

But of course the increase of prices does not only affect the bus.

Another example is the enormous rise of the electricity prices. Sri Lanka mainly produces its electricity with thermal power plants, so when gas prices soar the way it is happening now, it obviously has an impact on every person’s electricity bill.

March 22, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

03/08/2012

Eastern Province: Signing ceremony at the start of a new project

On February 23, a signing ceremony was held to celebrate the start of the project for the construction of agricultural wells and development of community organization . We would like to thank the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and JEN’s supporters for all the assistance they had given us.
 
The signing ceremony took place solemnly at the Ambassador’s residence, in the presence of Sri Lankan journalists. The Ambassador of Japan, Chief of Economic Cooperation Division, Second Secretary, and other interested parties attended the ceremony.

The representatives from each organization  were honored to take the seats next to the Ambassador for the signing and received the Grant contract. The ceremony then proceeded with speeches from the representatives, the Ambassador’s speech, press conference, and a photograph session.

Since end of February, JEN’s project officers have been meeting with the Head of Kiran County, Head of Chenkalady County, and the District Governor, to report last year’s project achievements. The project officers received verbal compliments from each of them for constructing the wells for the communities in this rocky inland area. They greatly appreciated the large wells with substantial water yield even in the dry season.  The details of the new project for the construction of agricultural wells and development of community organization (to be implemented in 31 sites) were also explained to the Heads of Kiran County, Paddipali County, and Vellavely County. 

(The wells of the new project will be similar to the type shown in the photograph, which is an agricultural well constructed last year.)
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While we reported the progress, high officials of Kiran County also gave us a feedback of the comments made by the Deputy Minister of Resettlement during his visit in mid-year 2011, when he inspected the well that had been constructed in FY 2010 with the support of MOFA. We are told that the Deputy Minister had expressed his deepest gratitude upon observing how “the well water is being used not only for agricultural purposes but also for domestic use. The well is being shared by the families of 8 committee members as well as the residents in the neighborhood and has allowed them to actively engage themselves in agriculture for sustainable livelihood improvement.”

 We are now in the third year of implementation of MOFA-funded livelihood support projects. All of the staff members of JEN Sri Lanka will continue to unite our efforts and think and work together with the Sri Lankan people to contribute to the reconstruction and development of Batticaloa District. 
 
 We thank all of you for your continuous support.

March 8, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

02/23/2012

Dengue fever

It was on the 11th month after my arrival in Sri Lanka, when I came down with the disease. Dengue fever.
Dengue fever is probably an unfamiliar disease in Japan, but you may have heard of its name.

 It is one of the mosquito-borne infectious diseases for which preventive vaccine does not yet exist. Avoiding being bitten by mosquitos is the only preventive measure.

 Main symptoms include high fever and headache but severe cases may result in hemorrhages and death.   

 The number of infected persons and Dengue-related deaths are frequently reported in the local newspapers. The reality is that the number of patients and deaths are much higher than the Government’s capacity.

 As for myself, I experienced the first hospital stay in my life and was discharged a couple of days ago.
 I am filled with gratitude for the support that has been offered to me by all my friends, superiors, and colleagues in and out of Sri Lanka. I cannot thank them enough.

February 23, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

02/09/2012

Northern Province: The start of a new project.

Northern Province: The start of a new project.

Our aim in Sri Lanka this year is to complete the resettlement of the people who have become internally-displaced due to the civil war.
 One of the main target areas is Puthukudiyiruppu Divisional Secretariat in Mullaitivu District and JEN has started a new project here, on January 1.
 

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Resettlement in this area has only begun last June.
The people in this area had enjoyed prosperous agriculture and commercial fishing before the civil war, but today, we see piles of abandoned objects on the agricultural lands and fishing is forbidden by the Government.

 Repatriated persons are currently living on the daily wage of a project called “Emergency Northern Recovery Project” (ENREP). This is a 45-day project to clear the public spaces and surface the roads with sand and gravel.

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The well in the photograph had been dug during the war. You can see that the protective wall that had once surrounded the well has disappeared, making it unsafe for children and elderly people to use.

 Furthermore, since this well can no longer be used for drinking water, the villagers have to travel at least 4 times a day to collect water from another well which is located about 1 to 1.5km away.

 In this area, 6 public wells for drinking water have been cleaned by the Sri Lanka Army; however, this is hardly enough considering the number of residents (750 households, as of January 16).

 JEN will support the resettlement of the repatriated people by repairing and cleaning the wells which had been destructed during the war.

February 9, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

01/26/2012

Eastern province: Field visit with the officials from the Japanese Embassy

 Early this month, the officials from the Japanese Embassy visited Batticaloa district in the Eastern region to inspect the sites of the previous projects (completed at the end of 2011) and also to study the new project sites.

 In Sinnawattai, the officials interviewed the villagers about their lives since their repatriation and about agriculture, their major source of income.

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 The farmers here cannot expect much agricultural revenue during the dry season, between April and December, as they rely on rainfall for agriculture. They cannot even draw water from the river nearby, because the water gates are closed during this period to secure the water supply for the urban areas.

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It was a perfect opportunity to explain the need for agricultural wells.

 At Rajapuram village, the officials asked the villagers how the completed wells were being used and how the wells changed the lives of the villagers, and also inspected the wells and the agricultural fields.

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We learned that the villagers had started to grow new crops, different from what they had been growing so far.
They are putting into practice what they had learned in the workshop “Coordinating agricultural planning in the community to achieve effective production and marketing”.

   
 The new crop is being cultivated only in a limited area and quantity to start with in order to check various issues, such as the adaptability to the soil and climate of the region or whether the insects which feed on the new crop will influence other crops grown in the vicinity.


If major problems are not found, the cultivation will be increased in the next season.

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(In the photograph, the farmers are standing behind the Kurakkan beds. Kurakkan was described in the last activity report.)

January 26, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

01/12/2012

Puthandu Vazthukal / Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa

Happy New Year!
I hope you all enjoyed your holidays.

 Here in Colombo, the New Year’ Eve was celebrated with the launching of aerial fireworks which started at about 22:00. Then at 22.57, people all over the city started to set off firecrackers and fireworks continuously to welcome the start of the New Year.

 Today’s report is about the festivities in Sri Lanka.

 What you see in the photograph is Halapa, one of the traditional Sinhalese sweets. Each family shares the joy of the New Year with the neighbors by sharing home-made Halapa. (Sri Lanka is a Buddhist nation and the traditional New Year is celebrated in April.)
 Halapa is also made for other celebrations, including birthdays.

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It is quite simple to make Halapa. Just mix Kurakkan flour (flour of “finger millet”, a type of gramineous crop), grated coconuts, sugar, and salt. Spread the mixture between Kanda leaves, steam for 15 minutes, and it’s ready to eat!

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But each family has its original recipe. Unfamiliar ingredients and salty flavor may taste very different to a Japanese person compared with what Japanese usually eat, but some Halapas are richly flavored with coconuts and may be quite appealing to Japanese, too.

 I wish the year 2012 will be a wonderful year for everyone.

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(The title is “Happy New Year” in Tamil (left) and Sinhalese (right))

January 12, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

12/22/2011

Nandri / Istuti


How time flies! Year 2011 is nearly over. For this year’s final report, I would like to review JEN Sri Lanka ’s activities in 2011.

The year started with the launching of a project for the restoration and cleaning of wells in Vavuniya  District, Northern Province. (Funded by JPF)
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We managed to provide 470 clean wells, of which 406 were restored in the first six months,  allowing more people to obtain safe water.
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In July 2011, the project site moved to Mullaitivu District. This was the area which remained a battleground until the end of the civil war and resettlement of refugees only started in July 2010.
One day, unexploded ordnances were  found at the project site and created tension among everyone, but apart from that incidence everything went smoothly. Fifty wells will be restored or cleaned and 188 shelters/toilets will be constructed by the end of this month. (Funded by JPF)
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In the Eastern Province, we had already started a project (December 2010) consisting of construction of 29 agricultural wells, construction of 14 culverts, and community development activities. (Funded by MOFA)

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However, heavy rainfall which continued from the end of 2010 aggravated the flood damage and access to the project site was hampered for a certain period of time.

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During this period, we were able to distribute emergency evacuation kits to the flood victims, with the support of Kao Corporation.

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In early summer, the bridge destroyed by the flood was finally reconstructed, allowing JEN to resume the project . The construction and community development project in the Eastern Province will be completed by the end of this month. 

We have been able to implement these projects not only with the grants funding and the donations from various organizations, but also with the donations from the public, and with the support from all of you who read our news-letters and activity reports. 

The staff members of JEN Sri Lanka would like to express the most sincere gratitude to all those concerned. (The title is “Thank you” in Tamil (left) and Sinhalese (right)).

We will continue to devote our energy and commitment in the next year’s activities.

December 22, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

12/08/2011

Changing seasons

 It must already be very cold in Japan at this time. The temperature is also declining here in Colombo and it takes some courage to shower in the morning with cold water. During daytime, however, it is still warm enough to spend the day in a T-shirt.

 Agricultural season has started in the Northern region, now that the climate has shifted from dry to wet period.

 Agriculture is prosperous in northern Sri Lanka because much of the land is flat. We see many rice fields when we travel to the northern area. Brown paddy fields in which the soil is being turned over, the colors of the farmers’ clothes, healthy rice plants shining green, and the white egrets roaming around looking for something to eat.    

 The colors and the tranquility of the rural areas must be one of the most beautiful scenes in Sri Lanka.

December 8, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

11/24/2011

Support for water to prevail in the fields

Many organizations are busy supporting disaster victims here in the eastern region, where much damage resulted from war, as well as floods and droughts caused from climate change. JEN, as one of such organizations, carries out support activities for recovery of sustenance in the realm of agriculture.

In order to provide water, the most essential factor, we dig wells for agricultural purpose and give out feed pumps (the yellow item in the photo) and distribution hoses (the black item in the photo, which has 100 metres length). We arrange water to be supplied to the fields of all 8 families that share one well.

Explanatory meetings are also essential to make sure the supplies are well utilized. Along with actually handing out the items, such background activities are also carried out as part of the distribution program.

(This program is operated with cooperation from our supporters and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. )

November 24, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

11/10/2011

Appointments in Sri Lanka

Do you feel differences between cultures when you travel or live in foreign countries?

One characteristic practice I noticed in Sri Lanka is "visiting without appointments".

In Japan, we usually appoint the date and time of our visit in advance, especially when on business. However, there is no such practice here in Sri Lanka. At first I was unaware of this and was hurriedly rechecking my datebook - "Was there an appointment today?" - whenever our staff told me that someone came over.

The other day, I had a chance to talk with a Japanese lady whose husband is Sri Lankan, and she told me of the practice. If you make an appointment for a visit, the host is likely to to prepare things like tea and sweets for the guest. The custom to arrive without previous notice comes from consideration so the person you are visiting would not have to take such trouble.

November 10, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

10/27/2011

Workers behind the scenes

In the last activity update we showed you the construction sites, where we find workers who are involved in the actual construction works, workers who provide technical support, or those who manage the construction schedule.

However, there are also other important players. Yes, that’s right. I mean the workers  who manage the construction materials. Let’s focus on those workers today.

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The workers always confirm the quantity of the construction materials when they arrive from the suppliers to the warehouse or when they are transferred from the warehouse to the construction sites.

Delivering the right amount of the necessary materials according to the construction schedule is also an important part of operational management.

By the way, we are still in the dry season here in the Northern Province and it was also a very sunny day when we took this photograph.

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We can see the truck driver’s ingenious idea to avoid scorching himself from the sun-heated seat.
Using the leaves from the trees seems very Sri Lankan, as the country is rich in vegetation.

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What do you think the man in the third photograph is doing?
He is also one of the workers at the warehouse. He is using a newspaper to wrap the nails by the quantity required for the construction of a shelter.
There is a long list of materials which he needs to pack, such as hinges and locks.

It is these backstage works that ensure the smooth operation at the construction site.

October 27, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

10/13/2011

Updates on the construction of shelters and latrines

With the financial assistance from Japan Platform and JEN’s supporters, JEN is currently repairing/cleaning wells and constructing shelters and latrines in Mullaitivu District, Northern Province, as part of the Livelihood Rehabilitation Project for the Returnees.

Let’s have a look at the construction sites of shelters and latrines. It takes about 1 week to complete one shelter or latrine.

Shelter 1: First of all, we make geometric measurements and then dig the places where we need to mount the pillars.
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Shelter 2: We then position the wooden pillars, processed to protect them from insects and corrosion, and fill the spaces with concrete blocks.
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Shelter 3: Here, the roof has been constructed. The next step will be to make the floor and the walls. Of course, we will put doors with locks.
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Latrine 1: The photograph shows the construction of a storage tank for the latrine. It is large enough to last for 3 to 5 years. 
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Latrine 2: A toilet bowl is installed in an individual cabin, which is connected to the storage tank by a pipe. This latrine will be completed once the door is installed.
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October 13, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

09/29/2011

A community worker's dream

Ms. Kilbarini is a 23-year-old lady living in Mullaittivu District, Udda Yakadu  village.

This district, being the last strongpoint for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), suffered heavy exchange of fire between LTTE and the government army.

She fled the region only to return in the end of June, 2011. Here, JEN is carrying out Life-Rehabilitation Assistance for the people who have just come back to their old homes.

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Ms. Kilbarini is working at JEN as a community worker (CW) in order to take care of her sick mother and 12-year-old brother. The CW plays an important role as intermediary between the local people and JEN, through tasks such as necessary fieldwork and explanation for the supporting program.

Her future dream is to take an examination for allowance to enter a university. In Sri Lanka, there are exams at the end of the 13th grade, and students are allocated to universities and their desired fields of study according to the results.

We sincerely wish for soonest rehabilitation of livelihood in the region and for Ms. Kilbarini’s dream to come true.

(This program is being implemented from July 2011 with cooperation from our supporters and Japan Platform.)

September 29, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

09/15/2011

-Northern Province- Visit from JPF monitoring team

During September 5th and 6th, a monitoring team from Japan Platform (JPF) visited Sri Lanka. Staff from JEN accompanied the team and exchanged views with the residents in several regions.

On the first day, we monitored the restoration and cleaning project of wells in Vavuniya district, Vavuniya County.


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This photo shows us monitoring an example of the well being used not only for daily chores but also for agricultural purposes, and contributing to income generation of the local residents. You can see in the photo banana leaves vigorously growing in line behind the well.

On the second day, we monitored construction of pre-hab houses with lavatories and restoration and cleaning of wells in Mullaittivu district, Puthukkudiyiruppu County.

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This area has been severely damaged, being a disputed region until the end of the civil war. Though basic detection of land mines has been completed, detection of unexploded bombs is still under way. In addition, many things such as tractors and tin sheets lay abandoned alongside the roads heading to the area.

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We carefully took narrow, steep paths covered with thick bushes and finally arrived at the first house of the local residents.

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The inhabitants of the house allowed us to take a look inside.

In this area, walls of the houses are temporarily covered with waste material of various sizes. Since there are places that cannot be reached without going near trenches, we are to carry necessary materials into the location only after the residents have made it possible to enter those places.

JEN Vavuniya office is carrying out the program in order to finish all the stonework in the location before the rainy season coming at the end of September.

September 15, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

09/01/2011

Is there anything impossible for us?

The second phase of three stages of the workshop has been done at East Batticaloa

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Our topic this time is “Planting, Harvest and Marketing for higher quality production”.
The voices of the participants of the workshop made all our staffs glad.

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“Even if a lot of resources are surrounding our living, we were not aware and could not utilize it. Moreover, we spent our money for chemical fertilizers. We have never attended such a surprising training course.”

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And we have made relationships with people who could give us advises of farming.
The workshop took place at a farmland and we learned practical methods there.
We got more knowledge which we can use hereafter. It was so fruitful workshop and motivated us.

Because the participants have basic knowledge of agriculture, they can absorb more information.
We believe the villagers will work together as a team and will make double or more harvest and profit.
We are proud to participate for community development.


(This project is receiving support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and all of the donors.)

September 1, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

08/18/2011

Encounters at Kali Amma Festival

On 10th August, Kali Amma Festival was held in Vavunlya where our branch is located.
Kali is said to be a representation of rage of Princess Parvati of Lord Shiva in the religion of Hindu, and also regarded as Female God.
Amma means “mother”, Parvati is mother of Ganeza who is known as having elephant’s head.
Mirthful music is a sign that a float and monks of Hindu religion have been coming.

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Each family waits and sets out rice and bananas as altarages.
The central one in the picture is a coconut.
The grandfather of this home told me “Coconut is constituted by 3 parts, and represents things what human need for. The most outer shell represents human’s mind. Fructification represents foods for living, and water is the thing which is necessary for life”

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The party is organized that Girls are leading and marching band, monks and a float follow in order.
Brahmin comes by each home for chanting a sutra and giving out a smoke of candles of offering to the family.  (like a ritual using thurible of temple in Japan)

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After that, Brahmin gave alterages to the family, people on a float and others of the party, and head for next home.
The grandfather answered my questions and finally gave me farewell, “Thank you for interesting in our religion.”
And Brahmin recommended with smile me to get a smoke even though I’m heathendom.
Today’s Kali Amma Festival, I was so impressed by people here.

August 18, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

08/04/2011

A Wedding Ceremony

Our staff in Colombo branch had a wedding ceremony.
We would like to write of the wedding ceremony which is a different style from Japanese one.
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We would like to show firstly about dresses. The wedding dress is Saree (as traditional cloth in Sri Lanka) which colored stark white and spun golden, and long veil.
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We felt that a wedding reception banquet had larger difference than the wedding ceremony.
Because of that there is no seating list, guests chose their favorite table on a first come first served basis. Although opening time had been set, guests came to the reception banquet whenever they want. We can see Sri Lanka’s culture in such a slow current of the times.

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The bridal couple had appeared without announcement by MC and music, and proceeded to a wedding cake. A scenery that the bridal couple cut cake surrounded by family impressed us strong bond as a family
Dinner is buffet style; we are surprised the bride wearing the wedding dress was taking meals for herself..
Upon the bridal couple leaved the hall for getting a makeover, a dance party was begun.
Everyone, old and young people enjoyed it.

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The wedding ceremony and the wedding reception had been held for 6 hours.

August 4, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

07/21/2011

Work shop –In preparation for improvement of agriculture production-

Workshops are taking place in East Batticaloa with support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and our supporters. The purpose of the workshop is to get more production and to make more efficient marketing, with managing a well for farming as sharable resource in the community which JEN are supporting to.

At this day, we have a lecture of organic compost. The participants gave us following playbacks,
“I have never known it has a different use between chemical fertilizer and organic compost.”
“I will sell the organic compost, not only sell the crops to improve my earning.”

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Practice of making organic compost


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Lecture of group work

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Organic Compost at last lecture

July 21, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

07/07/2011

Northern region – the end of a program and beginning of another

Thanks to cooperation from Japan Platform and our supporters, our well repair and cleaning program in Vavuniya County, Vavunia district was completed on June 30th. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to everyone.

At Vavuniya County, where the program took place, the villagers helped repairing the well, and skilled workers did stonework using traditionally made scaffolds made from wood gathered nearby.
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The photo shows villagers using the brand-new well.


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The other day, our program officer met the District Governor. We were highly appraised for our efforts of cleaning and repairing wells on a large scale in this district.

Our next program will be located in Mullaittivu district, which takes 33 hours by car from Vavuniya. We will continue repairing and cleaning wells, and will also construct transitional shelters and toilets targeted for 188 families. The program will start on July 1st and will last until November 1st of this year.

The first half of the year has ended, but members of JEN Vavuniya office are still on the go. We appreciate your continuous support to our activities.


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(The photo above shows the program officer and a fellow organization member visiting villagers living in the transitional shelters).

July 7, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

06/23/2011

Mother and the well

One day, we met an old woman with a bucket full of wet clothes gazing at the excavation site. She was Ms. Erpirai, 70 years old, living in Koduwamadu village.

“Every evening, I go to a distant place to bathe and do my laundry. But the water over there is very salty; and I am so old it is tiresome to walk 500 meters, or even a kilometer if the nearest place is dried up. I am so grateful that a freshwater well will be constructed here. I will be able to do other things with the time I had been walking to and from the old water site.”

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Sure, Amma (This is how we address mothers), the well will be ready soon. But this is a well meant for agriculture. It can also be used for laundry, but please do utilize it for farming to make an even better living!

(The income generation assistance program in the eastern Batticaloa District is implemented with assistance from our supporters, as well as the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects provided by the Foreign Ministry of Japan).

June 23, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

06/09/2011

The glorious festival of Vesak

May 17th and 18th were holidays called Vesak. Vesak is said to be the birthday of Buddha (the founder of Buddism), and also the day of his spiritual enlightment and death. This year, counting 2,600 years from Buddha’s enlightment, festivals were held on an especially large scale.

Two kinds of memorial coins will be issued for this anniversary. The 10 rupee coin will be issued publicly in June, while the 1,000 rupee coin will be sold for 7,500 rupees each, and only 2,000 pieces will be issued.

By the way, preparation of this festival starts from about 10 days in advance. I saw people decorating lanterns, and Buddhist monks in the back of small trucks, going around the town and gathering offerings from the people.

During the two days of Vesak, there are food and drinks given out in the town - ice cream, black tea, and sometimes even whole meals! Many people were waiting in a long line. There were also contests for original lantern designs. Together with such festival mood, I also noticed its solemn side as a Buddhist ceremony. People of all ages, dressed in white robes, kept lining up to visit the temples.

June 9, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

05/26/2011

A new start back home with repaired wells

Ms. Marakasan was forced to flee from her hometown, Maragai, in 2007 August. She moved from place to place for nine times, and finally arrived at a refugee camp called Manic Farm in 2009. It was in October 2010 that she could come back home.

Before taking refuge, her husband had been a farmer working with a tractor and water pump they owned. However, she has now lost these items.

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When she restarted life back home, the first problem was that her well had become unusable. The well was not only damaged but also contaminated, and human bones were found inside it. Bringing water from a far away location became her new routine.

JEN repaired and cleaned the well, so now it can be used just as before, and farming became possible again.
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(This program is carried out with cooperation from Japan Platform and our supporters).

May 26, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

05/12/2011

[Announcement of Leaving and Taking a post]

I, Watanabe have moved from Amman office.

I will mainly take care of general affairs and accounting jobs.

My newly post at Sri Lanka, has a lot of greenness and moisture climate, which is different from dry climate country, Jordan located in Middle East. One of my current propositions is acclimatizing this moisture climate.

The other day, I visited at Batticaloa where our former and present projects have been done.

I can see the villages at which agricultural crops are growing in abundance, and at other villages I can see soil’s color rather than green’s one. So I feel benefit of water of agriculture and wells.

And I saw the situations that each village has effectively used the wells using their own ingenuities.

While our taking with village people for a short time, I can feel their pride and self-sustainability.

I’ll try to assist Sri Lanka people with our local staffs and supports from all of our donors. Thank you for your continued help.

May 12, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

04/21/2011

[Announcement of Leaving and Taking a post] ~ Leaving a post Mr. Shu Nishimaru ~

I, Nishimaru have been posted as a head of the office and concurrently serving general affairs and accounting.

I will leave Sri Lanka on 19th April since the limit of my visiting period regulated by the government of Sri Lanka, 3 years will be past in near future.

I have stayed at Sri Lanka for total 6 years including 3 years of my former job. The meantime, I have got 3 children and my family becomes 5 people.

At the time when I took my post on May 2008, a conflict at the east area had finished. Meanwhile, another conflict at the North area had been still continuing. The conflict at the North finished on May 2009.

As of now, in the sight of armed conflict, it gets peace, and has been promoting the reconstruction at North and East area, and at the other area there has not been any conflict, has been getting vitalizing tourism and economic development.

Although nobody knows the futures, I presently presume and hope that Sri Lanka is going to advance with cooperating each other as one country.

After my temporary return to Japan, I will take a new post at Sudan.

I will have been furiously working on with talking and snuggling up to the people who are suffering from harsh environment in the conflict, thank you.

April 21, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

04/14/2011

Using the agricultural wells: Comments from Mr. Visuvalingam

One day in March, we passed by an area where we had constructed an agricultural well in the previous project. We decided to visit one of the participants of that project, Mr. Perenbam  Visuvalingam (37 years old), who lives in Perillaveli in Kiran county.
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 “I earn my living by growing maize, potatoes, and peanuts during the rainy season, which lasts for about 3 months from November, but in other seasons I used to cut some logs in the woods and go to the town to sell them as fire-wood. But look what I do now! I feel the joy of working on my own land. I feel something I had never felt before in my life.”

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 “Five months ago, when the new well was nearly finished, I spoke of my dream at JEN’s workshop. I said, “This well is the largest agricultural well I’ve ever seen. I want to use the water from this well and grow agricultural crops all year round.” Now, I am trying to save money and time and make as much profit as possible from this garden. I can think this way because I have access to plenty of water. Thank you for coming by today. Please come again to see the garden in 2 month time.”

 Finally, he asked, “We are using the well water not only for agriculture but also for domestic use. That is not a problem, is it?” So we told him, “Of course not. The well is yours so please think and decide how to use it among yourselves. The important thing is to share the water.”

(Nagarajah, field officer; Sharulatha, field assistant)

April 14, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

03/24/2011

【Northern Province】One year with JEN‐Mugunthan

Although we had first set out to restore the wells in Vavuniya county (Vavuniya District, Northern Province) in January, the project*1 only fully started in early March, when we finally received the approval from the government of Sri Lanka. Today, we would like to introduce you the key person in this project. Rajaratnam Mugunthan(37 years old), our Project Officer. Mugunthan is Hindu and has a wife and a 4-year old daughter.

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“I was about 9 years old when the Civil War started to intensify. At that time, we lived by an arterial highway leading to the anti-governmental territory so it was common for public security officers to raid our house at night or for us to stay at our friend’s house for a couple of days to avoid the combat. Finally in 1990, the war forced us to leave our house for good. Since then, we have been fleeing from one place to another. We cannot return to our old home because it is still in the security zone of the government army.

 When I was young, I wanted to become an accountant because the newly established Commerce/ Accounting Course seemed interesting. Unfortunately, since I was living in an area under the influence of the opposition army, I had to find a guarantor in order to study accounting in Colombo. I didn’t know anyone in Colombo so I couldn’t go there. Vavuniya was the only city I could come to, but it didn’t even have an accounting office at that time. Although I was studying accounting, there were not many employment opportunities so I started to work for the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, where I was helping as a volunteer.

 Because of the Civil War, I have always been among the people who lived under harsh environment. This may be the reason why I have always liked helping those people.   Even in primary school, I participated in a group similar to Boy Scout. Now I have joined JEN, I am happy that I can continue doing humanitarian support activities. When my daughter grows up I want her to become a social worker, not an accountant.”

(*1 The project for the restoration of wells is being implemented with the support from Japan Platform and JEN supporters.)

March 24, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

03/10/2011

Greeting the inspection team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The life rehabilitation program JEN is carrying out in the Eastern Batticaloa district is financed by our supporters, as well as Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. We had heavy rain in January and February, but from March, we have been able to work on preparation to start digging agricultural wells.

On March 4th, 3 members from the Foreign Ministry came to inspect our program in Batticaloa. They checked the agricultural wells finished in two villages, which were the project sites of last year, and gathered comments from the users of the wells.

In Kiran county, Iruppayadimunmari village

Walking to the village
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Listening to the villagers
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Listening to the villagers in front of a well
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At the end of the inspection, we received following comments from the inspection team: “We felt that there is a good relationship between JEN and the villagers, from the way they shared many comments with us in a friendly manner, although we met them for the first time.”

Though they are a little far away from sightseeing areas, please visit our project sites and see how the people are living when you have a chance to come to Sri Lanka!

March 10, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

02/24/2011

In his third year working with JEN

This time, I would like to introduce David, our project officer. He is in his third year working with JEN in the Eastern region. David is a 51-year-old Christian Tamil, and has two kids - One in high school and the other in junior high. He has participated as project officer since JEN started its program in the Eastern region in September 2007. He has provided the people of psychological care and assistance to regain self-sustainability.

“When I was a student, my future dream was to become a social worker and support my neighbors. While I was young, I worked at YMCA. I became a company worker after that, but in 2005, when the conflicts were beginning to intensify, I came back to my old job to support the people again.

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“The people of Batticaloa have been affected by the conflict for more than 20 years. It was impossible for them to lead a stable life, and various assistance activities to the people have led them to become reliant on others. I want to replace that reliance to a sense of independence. In order for people to feel independent, it is necessary to make an environment in which they can earn a living in their own villages, or nearby. Construction of agricultural wells, one of the activities carried out by JEN, is a good example of providing opportunities of income generation in the people’s own villages.

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“The conflict ended in 2007, and the town of Batticaloa is starting to grow again. The countryside, however, has still yet to recover. I want to support the people even more so that the villages of Batticaloa will develop as well.”

(*1: The project for construction of agricultural wells, distribution of seeds and seedlings, and reinforcement of the communities are all carried out with support from the Japanese government, Chabo!, and our supporters.)

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February 24, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

02/10/2011

Reviewing the activities in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka in 2010

Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

Vavuniya North County had been devastated by the civil war. We saw that those who had returned to their villages were using plastic sheets as a roof.  JEN distributed galvanized sheets and timber and supported the construction of temporary housings.

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Later, well-cleaning teams were formed among the returnees and we managed to clean the wells in most households. Civil wars not only cause physical damages, such as the destruction of buildings and deprivation of livelihood, but also result in intangible damages. For example, psychological trauma of the unrest or the stress from the life as evacuees may lead to domestic conflict, or the disruption of community activities may result in the loss of community organization. When they returned to the devastated village after 18 months in evacuation, well-cleaning became the first task the people undertook together as a community.

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JEN will continue to provide support to improve the communication between the villagers, through well-cleaning, workshops, and other cooperative activities!

February 10, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

01/27/2011

The other side of the most popular zoo animal

When we visit the project sites in Batticaloa District in the Eastern Province, we sometimes encounter a herd of wild elephants on the highway that runs through the woods. All the cars stop and people just watch the elephants from a distance. Like many Japanese people, Sri Lankan people also love elephants and elephant show is one of the favorite attractions in zoos. But such a popular animal can also be a menace to the villagers.

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Ms. Sooriyakumari (38 years old), one of the returnees to the Northern Province, told us about some elephants she had encountered in the middle of the night.

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That night, several elephants suddenly came to the village and ate from the banana trees planted around the wells repaired by JEN. Elephants can be fierce animals when there is more than one of them. Ms. Sooriyakumari and her children huddled together in fear. Her husband, Kandeepan, went to seek help from the neighbors and managed to chase away the elephants by making loud noises with cooking pans and buckets. But unfortunately, the banana trees were badly damaged.
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This is what is happening all over Sri Lanka. When the people clear the jungles to construct houses and grow crops, the elephants who lived on that land escape deeper into the woods. But the papayas and bananas grown by the people are also the elephants’ favorite food, so they often come out to the villages.

 Elephants are losing the habitat because of development but the people need to clear the jungles to live.

 The refugees returning to the villages are struggling to rebuild their lives back together. JEN will support them but we also hope that the elephants and humans can live together in harmony.

January 27, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

01/13/2011

Turning over a New Leaf also in North

A Happy New Year! Although the new year in Sri Lanka starts in the middle of April, many people enjoyed themselves, setting off firecrackers at midnight on January 1, or making kiri bath, traditional milk rice for breakfast on January 1.

At the end of the year, one project has completed in a northern part as well as in an eastern area. Since June last year, we have collaborated with Japan Platform to reconstruct and clean wells, distribute agricultural materials and supplemental food in Vavuniya North, and clean wells in Vavuniya. We have supported people returning to the rough villages after the conflict.

The last activity was to distribute injectors for pesticide, one of agricultural materials. In January, when rainy season is almost finished, people start to take care of rice plants and grains using the injector. When distributing the injectors, an engineer from manufacturer has a lecture in order to use injectors safely. We hope they use the injector safe and long.

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The new project started on January 1, reconstruction and cleaning of wells in other areas in Vavuniya. We are supporting people who came back in July last year. Since there were long, furious battles in front in the area, many wells are damaged. We are continuing the project until May so that people can easily access life water and come back to the normal life.

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January 13, 2011 in Sri Lanka |

12/16/2010

The End and Start of the Project

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Thanks to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan and supporters, the project for agricultural well installment and reinforcement of community organization in Batticaloa was completed on November 30. We appreciate it very much. In late November, we had a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the well inviting the district head and residents in the project sites, Chenkalady and Kiran.

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The ceremony was held in a tent under the heavy rain. The head of Kiran handed the handover notes to the well management committee of the district.

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The well is named “butterfly”, the team name of the committee members. Everyone is glad that the well was installed. The names of the members are also written on the board.

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In Chenkalady, although it was sunny for the first time in a long time, the ceremony was held in a tent.

We had a briefing session at a prefectural office on December 3. The governor, two heads of the districts and the member of District Planning Depertment joined the session. The project officer from JEN presented how the project went on. The governor highly appreciated our project of well installment in the areas that have many rocks.

Our next project will be to install wells and community organization reinforcement in 29 areas. Also we have a plan to construct small-size drain. We already hold a signing ceremony at an embassy on December 1st and the project will continue until November next year.

The next year is coming around the corner. JEN Batticaloa office is working hard as usual. We appreciate your continued support.

December 16, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

12/01/2010

Shantakumar and His Small Farm

Shantakumar, his wife and their two children live in the village of Matiyamadu in the Parantan region. At the age of 32, he operates a modest plantation.

He returned here eight months ago from a refugee camp. The war cost Shantakumar both of his legs and most of his assets.

Today, he lives with the aid of prosthetic legs. The war also took his mother and brother. Living with him are his widowed sister and her seven children. Although those children can now return to school in the village they were born, one has suffered hearing damage during the war.
 
Through support from JEN, Shantakumar received barbed wire, crucial for protecting his crops from animals like free-range cattle and goats. With it in place, he sowed bean seeds bought from the agricultural center.

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This month, JEN plans to distribute pesticide sprayers. Shantakmar’s wife currently assists with the farm work, but in the future she’ll be able to leave it to help care for her relatives.
 
Shantakmar is deeply grateful to all of you for making it possible to earn a living with his farm.

December 1, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

11/18/2010

There Will Soon Be Water for the Fields

Through the support of Chabo!, the Japanese government and all of you, JEN has set out to construct 40 agricultural wells in Eastern Sri Lanka, and that project is approaching its peak.

The site is a small encampment isolated in the jungle. Over 95% of those living here say that the grave lack of water to farm with is their greatest problem. With that soon to be solved, villagers watch the construction with earnest eyes.
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The villagers here know the underground water veins better than anyone, and we follow their advice in deciding where to dig. Even those living too far away to use the well spared no support. Once, for example, a narrow farm road had brought our construction equipment to a dead standstill. A farmer with fields next to that road, who knew he wouldn’t benefit from the well directly, told us to break his fence and pass through his land. A torrent of “thank you”’s and “sorry”’s flooded from our mouths.

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After JEN completes construction of these 40 wells, the residents aim to employ the resulting benefits themselves for the greater good of the region. Together with everyone there, and everyone reading this article, we hope to keep rebuilding so that this entire area can return to the livelihood it once had.

November 18, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

11/04/2010

Well Repairs — One Young Woman’s Story

Eight months ago, 24 year-old Rajesuwali  returned to her village in the northern region of Waunia, which was damaged by the earthquake . She has a husband and two children, but her husband remains in custody under charges of anti-government activities. Also living with Rajesuwali is her younger sister, who has three children of her own, and whose husband has also yet to return from custody. The two sisters share a home with their mother and five children at the outskirts of the village.

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When we visited her three months ago, she travelled 500 meters every day to draw heavily soiled water from a broken well. When that well was later cleaned, monkey and cow corpses were found inside it.

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Now, Rajesuwali’s well is as good as new. She drinks from it, and uses its water to cook and tend to her garden. She’s deeply grateful to everyone involved in its repair and cleaning.

This activity was made possible by Japan Platform and our supporters.

November 4, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

10/21/2010

A Milestone of Renewal

101021101021 “We realized that we weren’t alone.”

So says Vasansa,  who lives in the village of Pannaichadar  in Sri Lanka’s eastern Batticaloa region. Thanks to the financial backing of all our supporters, the Japanese government and “Chabo!”, JEN is able to work to restore the livelihoods of returnees who, like Vasansa, were driven from their homes by regional conflicts.

“My hopes stand on this rock, the one I’m sitting on now. This was a milestone in my life, dug out of a hole fifteen feet deep. That’s right—this is a stone that came up when JEN dug our village a well, to provide us the water we needed during the drought. That well brought stability to our lives.”

Vasansa continues.
“ First of all, JEN’s support allowed us to rebuild our lives, bringing us confidence. We know there must be challenges waiting ahead, but now we can prepare ourselves for them. Living a normal, hopeful existence gives you greater hope, and makes you grow as a person. Confidence spreads not just to those who use the agricultural wells we constructed with JEN, but to other members of the village, who are raising livestock like goats or cows, running small shops and working hard at various other domestic industries. We now work not just with nearby villagers, but with our village leaders and government officials. We are truly happy, but we’ve only just begun to leave peacefully. We hope to use the ‘PLAN, DO and SEE’ methods we learned from JEN to work, and make our capabilities, our determination and our hopes even stronger.”

October 21, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

07/29/2010

Avoid the Rock Meet the Needs

    One of the activities JEN provides, through support from Japanese Government and all of you, is construction of agricultural wells. The other day, we ran a soil survey for those wells in eastern Sri Lanka’s rocky Batticaloa region.

    Working with engineers from the Bureau of Irrigation and Water Supply, we begin by picking out a location suitable for excavation, then using a ground probing radar system called SYSCAL RIPLUS to investigate the condition of the soil.

    Next comes electrical resistivity* testing: we make a reference point, and draw lines out straight to either side using a tape measure.

 

    We then follow that line, driving in stakes every 50 cm on either side, and run an electrical current through the soil to test its quality.

    This process is repeated at 1m, 1.5 m, 2m and 3m from the reference point.

    Using the figures from the survey, the engineers draw a line graph. Each reading allows them to tell if there are rocks or water veins at that location, and analyzing them provides soil, water and other geological information.

    *Electric resistivity: a substance's resistance to electricity. The more water there is in underground sediment, the easier it is for an electrical current to pass through.

July 29, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

07/15/2010

Well cleaning is underway!

At the beginning of July, as the residents looked on, we began cleaning wells in Northern Waunia. With helmets and boots on rope firmly grasped, the members doing the cleaning lower themselves to the bottom of the well.

At the same time, members at ground level make the work easier by pumping water out of the well to a set level.

The members in the well brush the walls clean, and load broken bottles and containers, dry leaves, mud, sludge and other sediment into buckets before members above pull them back up. Wells are cleaned by repeating this process.
 
Finally, we snap a picture of the members after a job well done. Nice work, everyone!

  

July 15, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

07/01/2010

"HOW BIG THE WELL IS!!"

100629_agro_well_nokr4_vadamunai    This photo shows a well under  construction  by JEN out of 40 agro well construction project which is being carried out in resettled areas in the Batticaloa District , Eastern province of Sri Lanka.   

  At a pocket meeting with people  held at the village called Vadamunai, while our team member explaining about maintenance of this particular  well ,  the Beneficiaries surprisingly said  “  what a so big well for us “ which we have not seen in our life. 

  They also said that this is a ever big well constructed in not only in their village but also in the entire district.   A longstanding water problem would solve by this great well.    Size of the agro well is 6m in depthx3m in width.100629_meeting_with_well_maintainin 

  As a JEN team member I told the  people , to say big well is easy but you should imagine why big well provided by JEN for many people and not many wells to many people.  This is how JEN working. 

  JEN want to see the people talk together, work together, co-operate each other make effort to change living standard thereby  live together.  Thank you people for the moment but I am coming back to you on another day, said by JEN FO. 

P. Nagarajah
JEN Batti Field Officer

July 1, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

06/03/2010

The Future Created by Agricultural Wells

100603_a_beneficiary_with_organic_p The other day, a JEN staff member spoke with a returned refugee who had participated in the construction of agricultural wells and JEN’s community-building workshops. He said that having water, a necessity for life, had also brought hope for the future. Through JEN’s support, he has gained an understanding of new agricultural techniques, cooperative methods and ways to share resources within the community. He said that he is now able to continue producing crops, and in a better way.
 Right now, he is focusing on the workshops’ lessons in maximizing harvests with minimal resources. This means vegetable gardening during the rainy season, when one can expect large harvests, in order to use his time effectively. He said he is waiting eagerly for more agricultural wells to be completed, since among other things they will allow him to continue farming.

The pictures are from a workshop held a few days earlier, through the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all of our supporters. You can see the organic pesticide he labored to make himself, the vegetables (eggplants) grown by other participants, and a test crop of bananas, which are difficult to grow here due to difficulties with water supply and wild elephants.

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There will be a presentation on our support for Sri Lanka on June 18th.
We hope you’ll be there!
Find out more about the presentation here.

June 3, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

05/20/2010

To Recover the Life We Once Had

It will soon be one year since the conclusion of the 26-year conflict, the longest in Asia.

The Tamil people live in the northern regions of Sri Lanka. Virtually all of them were caught up in the war and taken as “human shields” for the anti-government movement, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). They became refugees, running from the government forces that pursued them, and finally fled here through harsh gunfire.

At present, these people are ending nearly two years of refugee existence to finally return to their ruined homes. Though anxious, they are fighting to re-establish their former lives. Today, we will introduce one of those returnees.

Nawam (47 years old)
When we returned to our own homes in March, all we received from the UN was sugar, oil and grain such as rice and wheat. In April, we received food such as curry powder and coconuts from JEN. We’re a family of seven, so that helped a great deal. The day the cooking supplies from JEN arrived was like a festival day; we had four different types of delicious, flavored curries which we hadn’t eaten in a long time.
I’m a car repairman, and plan to look for work soon. We lost my wife in the war, so my children seem nervous about me going far away for work. I still have no idea what I should do from here on.

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May 20, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

04/22/2010

Vasantha Kalam - New Year’s in Sri Lanka

The New Year starts on April 14th in Sri Lanka. April is the happiest month for the Sinahala and Hindu community. In Tamil, this period is called Vasantha Kalam (the season when things starts), and it is also the season when there is a festival. As the picture shows, many children and young people participate in the marathon event held at various places.

100422_2010_new_year_festivalrace_c Marathon outside Batticaloa in the early morning of April 15th

There are customs unique to Sri Lanka for celebrating the New Year. They celebrate by giving money wishing for prosperity, receiving blessing from the elderly, and applying herbal oil on their heads.

100422_jen_batti_staff_celebfrates_ On April 15th, the project leader at JEN’s Batticaloa office gave blessings to the staff members. As you may see in the picture, he is holding the money note in his left hand.

Through these customs, people refresh their mind and look forward to a fruitful year.

Prepared by Miss. Sharulatha Field Assistant. JEN Batticaloa Team

April 22, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

04/08/2010

[Northern Vavuniya] A Word from a Villager, After the Distribution of Shelters

“My name is Rasaroshini. I and six other members of my family live in Matiyamabu Village.
 
 

We evacuated this area around the middle of 2008, but two months ago we returned and settled in this village again.

We had farming tools and a large house when we left, but we lost everything in the conflict, including those tools we once used. The conflict also restricts my husband's ability to travel.
   
We came back here empty-handed, having lost everything. The government gave us tents, but it was difficult and restricting to live in those. That’s when we received lumber and metal siding from JEN, allowing us to reinforce and expand our tents. It rained today, but we made it.
 
 
And  best of all, we didn't  need to take our children with asthma to the doctor.”

Through the support of JPF and individual supporters like all of you, JEN distributes boards and metal siding to assist people reinforce their homes. This has other benefits as well, as it did for Rasaroshini. Our support to improve the lives of returnees will continue.

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JEN staff members handing over shelters to villagers at the project site.

April 8, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

03/25/2010

Will the long standing water need to come to an end?

Water need in the resettled villages in Batticaloa was a long-standing problem. Many attempts in the past two decades by various organizations were taken to solve the water shortage problem; however, we can say that none of them was ever successful. War is over, peace is restored, and many other livelihood supports is provided, but provision of the very basic need: water source is still to be found.

The main cause of the water source is rock. Even if you dig 20 feet in the ground, you will run into a rock that prevents further digging.

At this point, JEN, with the support of people in Japan has taken up this very difficult task of finding water from 30 feet below ground level. Out of 10 points that were dug initially, at 8 points, we hit the rocks. We first use drill to break them, and if this does not work, we must either change the digging point or use a small amount of dynamite to explode the rocks.

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The above photograph shows the construction of an agro well in the village called Vahanery in Batticaloa. In Batticaloa, JEN plans to dig 40 agro-wells.

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By JEN- Battialoa team

March 25, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

02/10/2010

After the resettlement

100210_3 The Sri Lanka Presidential Election has finished on 26th January without any major troubles and the present President was re-elected. Due to this event, the Return process were affected and getting delay but going gradually.

In the end of January, JEN survey team visited the people who have returned to their origin in the northern part of Vavuniya District, where heavy battle had once occured. Since the Water Board has requested us to clean the wells, JEN sent the team to check the situation.

We visited Ayladi Village and met Mr. Asokan (age 40) who came back from an IDP camp with his wife and two children. His well is dirty because nobody maintained it while their absense. In order to use it again, all water has to be taken up and cleaned. His house was destroyed as well, so that he started to rebuild it as shown in the photo. The roof material (tin sheets) will be distributed from the government. However, they cannot live in this house yet.100210_4

So, after Mr. Asokan rebuilds his house and clean the conpound in the daytime, he goes to the transition camp in Nainamadu Village, 3 km away from his village in the night foe catching sleep. In this camp, around 50 families live together because there are cleaned wells and people can sleep without fear in the night.

This is the reality that people could come back near their village but cannot settle down yet. So that the distribution of tin sheets, cleaning of wells, and agriculture assistance are the highly needed assistance to restart their life.

How can JEN support the people for their self-reliance? JEN keeps talking with people. 

February 10, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

01/28/2010

Thai Pongal

Thai Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils. Thai means “January” and Pongal means “boiling over”.
1st of January is the first day of the year for Western people, but for Tamil people, Thai Pongal day is their first day of the year. On this day, traditionally, they cook ‘milk rice’ with the harvest.
Traditionally, people harvest their first rice and cook milk rice, the pongal, with it to thank the Sun God.


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The above photo shows a boy carrying firewood to sell and buy clothes to celebrate Pongal. When we asked him about Thai Pongal, he simply replied ’you buy rice and milk from a shop and make milk rice, and thank God saying that it is your harvest. In the past years we celebrated Thai Pongal by collecting harvest from our own paddy field. But, after resettlement, we still could not harvest our paddy. We need money to buy rice so we do this kind of temporary jobs and celebrate Thai Pongal.
They cannot harvest their own rice due to many reasons including climate change. We realize that climate change not only affects livelihood of these people, but also their religious customs.

January 28, 2010 in Sri Lanka |

12/10/2009

Expression of the hygiene program

091210_20091105_ptt_sallitivu_hyg_2   The hygiene education workshop was held in Sallitivu on 5th November, 2009. I would like to share some concentration which was looked in the event.

  The program was combining with a discussion and sharing the hygiene knowledge each other. The PHI is presented as a resource person for the program.

  I could observed that there were more female participants. And they attended in the workshop with their children. I asked a beneficiary named Sabapathy Pushpakumar, "why did you participate here with your children?" She said "I don't have anybody to look after my child when I come here yet, I don’t want to miss this meeting."

  After that, I got to know the reason why she tried to attend the program. Then, I discussed with her about that participation. She told us "the hygiene promotion is very important to us. We are facing the difficulties especially during the rainy session. If we get the hygiene knowledge prorperly, we can always be in a better environment.

  The participants were very helpful in the group and very active to discuss with the resource person as well.

L.Jayenthini - Social Mobilizer, JEN - Valaichchenai Office.

December 10, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

10/22/2009

[Northern Province] Living in Refugee Camp

091015_name_board_for_commhall We met a woman of 57 years old when visiting a refugee camp for monitoring the progress of water supply activities. She was a mother of seven children, and told us about how their lives had been before evacuation and how is now in the camp.

“It was 19th April 2009 when I evacuated from LTTE, anti-governmental armed forces, to the government control area.

Our life before entering the government control area was extremely tough. We had to leave our own village because of the war, and moreoverthere was very few assistance even where we evacuated as it was surrounded by the war zone. We were also very worried about land mines. We had to go through the war zone in order to reach the government control area.

After we moved to the government control area, we were then put in in this refugee camp of Vavunia District. Here, we have various assistance such as food, drinking water, and clothing.

Despite the availability of assistane, this place is like a bird cage. We are surrounded by barbed wires, constantly under harsh surveillance , and there is no freedom to go out of the camp. We cannot meet our relatives from outside.

We have peace without land mines, but we have no freedom.”

(Field Officer in Vavunia)

October 22, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

10/15/2009

Reaction of a House Holder

091015_kumar_and_his_family_2009100   The hygiene education and toilet construction is changing the health activities in the people’s life at Sallitivu. A house holder named Markandu Sivakumar has shared his happiness with us that how to support the toilet for the family.

  We are four members in our family; father, wife, child and myself. We have faced some difficulties that had to go forest to defecate. The forest is very far from our place. Also, we can’t go in nights in case of emergency. In addition, we had difficulty to take our child for defecate to the middle of nowhere. So, in this reasons, we had to use our living land to defecate.

  Now, we have a toilet JEN has provided. Everything became easy and very helpfull to us. We can use the toilet anytime when we want and we don't have any difficulty for defecate anymore. We can always keep our environment clean and we are often cleaning the toilets, too. We will maintain the health as well.

  We thank to JEN for giving the greater opportunity for us and we are very happy.

My observation is that they are with happiness and satisfaction.

V.Sujitharan, Field Coordinator - Valaichnai Office. 

October 15, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

10/08/2009

[Eastern Province] Handing Over of Community Center

JEN has been constructing a community center in Kiran DS Division in Batticaloa District using the Chabo! Donations. JEN has recently handed over the community center to the community

Thanks to JEN’s project, local organizations were becoming more and more active in this community. However, they were facing various challenges with lack of  space  they needed for their activities. They  had to conduct community  activities outside under trees as there was no public facility available in neighborhood. The harsh weather such as unendurable heat, strong wind and heavy rain, and sometimes even poisonous snakes  would fall from the tree braches above, it was evident that did not allow them to conduct community activities safely.

“We are very happy because we have long wanted to have a public facility like this. This center will let us hold more meetings and invite mobile clinics,” said the representative of the community organization.

JEN is looking forward to conducting monitoring activities to see further progress in sustainable development of this community. "

October 8, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

10/01/2009

When children will grow up

  While I was walking inside the Camp, I happened to notice two girls tried to play one ball. However, they were unable to play. I believe that they are age around 7-9 years old. Both are handicapped. One of them  lost her one leg and the other lost fingers of her right hand.

  When I reached near them, they stopped playing and looked at me. I'm noticed face of the people around me. Some IDP’s were taking water from bowser and collected fire wood from road site. Others were walking around that area. I wonder if they feel happy or sad. I could not figure out by their behaviour. Then, I spoked to these girls, Thenuja and Priya.

  Thenuja lost her one leg. She is extremely quite and shy. What had happened was that she lost her leg end of last year. However, she did not like to remember the incidents. She hates war, so as  her injured arms. She remembers her hometown and sweet home, which she has lost now. She talks about her pets, too. And she has nither memories nor intention to remember the life after that.  She had lost not only her one leg, but also happy future ahead.

  Priya, who had lost her right fingers is younger than Thenuja. She lost them at the begining of this year. She believes that her fingers will grow again. She does not understand her problem, and she didn’t feel like to spend a time with me. So, she starts playing by herself again.   

  We meet many people like them in the camp. We would like them to overcome the sad memories they had encountered the past.

October 1, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

09/24/2009

Life is back

090924_monitoring_canoe_usagemull_2   I am Sellan Mailvaganam, a longstanding member of Fisherman Co-operative Society in the village call Mulliwadduvan.  I lost all my belongings including fishing gears due to the war and not in a position to restart my livelihood, affected both mentally and economically.

  JEN supported our Fisherman Society by way of providing Canoes and fish net sets and got opportunity to be a Canoe user.  I am utilizing this Canoe for fishing in the Tank and I earn a considerable amount of money.  I cover my family needs from this money and also contribute some money to our Fisherman Society enabling the Society to help the others who need assistance for livelihood.   

  While nearing to the landing centre after fishing, I saw one of the JEN staffs standing at the center asked me “ Aiya”,   Do you engage in only fishing or you have some other source of income.  I told him, NO, I am making dry fish also, as I can not depend only on selling fish because I can earn more money when I sell Dry fish and I can double my income. 

From: E. Komeswaran- JEN Field Officer
Batticaloa, Sri lanka.

September 24, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

09/03/2009

Home garden - Working together

090903photo_for_web_articlebarric_2   We are often visiting out beneficiaries houses for follow up, to make sure that beneficiaries’ lives are getting better.

  While visiting house one by one, I dropped by the house of Mrs. Retnasingam.  She is an active beneficiary in our project. As far as I know, her family is consisting of 4 members.  But I was surprised to see such a big crowed gathering in her home garden.

  When I asked Mrs. Retnasingam about others,   she replied 

"They are my  neighbors." 

  She further said,

"Support from neighbors and working together is a strength to me, as well as to develop our community”.                              

  This is what we did not observe 10months ago, when we started our support in this village. It’s a great pleasure to see this kind of positive change.

Subojini – Field Officer JEN

September 3, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

08/20/2009

JEN’s Support

JEN started the water supply project for the IDP in the Vavuniya District last June, with financial support from the Japan Platform and kind assistance from individual supporters.
The District Water Supply Department with which JEN is in partnership is always struggling to secure enough water for supply at the height of this dry season.

In order to prepare drinking water, we filter water from rivers or disinfect water from agricultural wells and newly set up wells. . JEN carries the water from the Water Department, and transports it to the supply spots inside of the refugee camp.

090820_2 The first picture shows a well exclusively for water intake. The Water Dept develops wells like this one at nearby ponds around the camp. They pump up the well water by electric pumps to fill up the water supply vehicle.

090820_3 The second picture displays a lady, who is the operator of this electric pump. Even at the age of 70, she works from 6AM until 8PM to put operate the pump. She lives nearby this well and the Water Dept pays her a small wage.

JEN’s emergency and humanitarian support is made possible thanks to the many people who lend their time and effort, like the Water Dept staff and the old lady.

August 20, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

08/18/2009

Only 10 minutes.

  In the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) camp, I saw many sad stories, but I am going to focus on one of them. 

  I met one pregnant woman there. She was walking on the road in side of the camp. When I started to talk with her, she was crying. She said that by this war so many people were injured by shelling and bombing also there was no medical facilities. Even though there is not such a problem in this IDP camp, I am desperate to go back home seeing my parents. Since they give Special Food and mental support, it will be very helpful to me and my child. They are waiting for me in front of the camp with their tears. When they come to see me, police allow them to talk with me only for 10 minutes, which is not enough to share our feelings. Any how, I want to live with my parents at our home. I am waiting for the day with lot of wishes and expects.

(Sureshkumar, Field Officer, Vavuniya Office)

August 18, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

08/10/2009

The cooperation and leader ship amongst the beneficiaries

The project of “Toilet Construction and Hygiene Education” is implementing by JEN at Sallithivu in Vaharai. The 50 beneficiaries are involving in the project. The project is moving with beneficiaries’ participation. They should do the dig work for latrine construction.

090813ptt_wab_article_photo  Who is the woman standing on the picture Tharmalingam Nirojini living along with a child. She is a widow nobody to support her. Also, she is one of beneficiary for the construction project. In the circumstances she has contacted JEN staff and expressed her situation. The JEN PTT staff have contacted the team which formed already by JEN staff before commence the construction work. (We have formed ten groups five member are involving in a group for support like those activities in the site). In order to they have come to her place and given support to the beneficiary.

We could look around the situation there. After that, she was happy and served (given water to the peoples) them who were working at the place.This was a great movement in the site and we could felt that “if motivate the village peoples, they can make solution for any problems.

The event store has written by V.Sujitharan, Field Coodinator support with PTT staff.

August 10, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

07/30/2009

Community participation

20090715_2 “ Great job done at  the appropriate time”   

This picture shows, villagers got together and cleaning an abandoned Well in a village called Kudamunaikkal in the JEN  project site.  This well seems to be a drinking water well which was not used by anyone for more than two years.

JEN organized and conducted   Capacity building workshops of Community based Organizations on different topics.  Through meetings, project staff support for these Organizations to commune and help them to improve skills of leadership, communication, administration, management, planning, marketing and reporting.  Psychosocial support/activities also carried out at the same time. 
As a result of this, we are now able to see big changes in their day to day life. 

By way of express their change of mind they did the above mentioned great job.  They got together and cleaned the well with their own expenses. 

I consider the above “Job” done by the community is a good example to everyone.

(Nagarajah – JEN Field Officer)

July 30, 2009 in Sri Lanka | | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

06/18/2009

[BREAKING NEWS] Water Supply Program Start Tomorrow

090618_water_truck_bowser_sample_lo - JEN’s Humanitarian Support in Northern Sri Lanka -

  JEN's emergency mission in the Manic Farm located in Northern Sri Lanka, for the people evacuated in the camp, to supply water starts tomorrow, June 19th Friday.

  Eighteen water supply vehicles with 7,000 litter tanks are ready for the operation in the North, two will go on duty tomorrow.

[Photo: JEN’s water supply program uses this vehicle model]

  JEN’s ultimate goal is to support a safe living environment for the people in the IDP camps of Vavuniya District by delivering water when they face serious water shortages. 

  Your warm assistance will surely add value and make a difference in JEN’s assistance. 

June 18, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

06/11/2009

BREAKING NEWS: Humanitarian and Emergency Aid Start in Vavuniya

090618_water_truck_bowser_sample_lo   JEN has started its operation in Vavuniya District in the Northern Province.

  The civil war that lasted a quarter century finally came to an end last month. National flags flapped at every part of Colombo which showed the people’s delight. There were several large-scale commemoration parades also seen on the major streets in the city the other day.

  There still are, on the other hand, approximately 260,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Vavuniya District of the Northern Province who evacuated from the battle field in the same province as JEN reported in the previous flash report. JEN didn’t miss a moment to start its assistance to supply water for the IDPs in the refugee camps. JEN would like to express its gratitude to huge contributions from individual supporters and backups of the Japan Platform.

  JEN’s rapid assessments have so far found IDPs are overflowing in every camp. They are having severe shortages in water, food and other goods for their day-to-day lives. JEN will keep providing them with access to water, that is one of the basic requirements to improve the hygienic condition in the camp. While the refugee camp is a bridging place for them before they return home, JEN believes that securing a good life quality in the camp including proper water supply helps remove their anxieties.

  Your contribution is always welcome to save their lives.

  Click here to use your credit card for contribution.

June 11, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

01/08/2009

Sri Lanka in New Year 2009

090108_20081210_chenna_cultivation_   Greetings from Sri Lanka new year 2009. JEN in Sri Lanka wishes all the best for a happy and prosperous year. There was a massive operation by the Sri Lankan Army that brought Kilinochchi back to the government’s rule. Kilinochchi is located in the Northern Sri Lanka where anti-government armed force placed its headquarters. We will continue watching the security situation and remain prepared for any immediate assistance required  by the local people.

  The IDPs in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka, for whom JEN has supported since last year, still face tough times. Food supply from international organizations ended six months after their return. The Government’s capacity to feed them will not  last long. Many of them eat only once a day. They are presently having a  hard time getting food until they harvest their crops,.This will happen at the end of this month,  when they can gather food from the seeds they planted  at the beginning of rainy season.

  JEN now works on the second round of agriculture recovery assistance in which we distribute plant seeds when they harvest corn.

  JEN will keep helping those people left behind with lasting assistance, andcontinue to remain ready for possible future needs at any time that require an immediate move.

January 8, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

12/04/2008

Practice! Practice!

20081204research_training_3_low   JEN conducts various surveys when designing its assistance projects. This is through a Needs Assessment Survey in which JEN identifies local people’s requirements and prioritizes among them, a preliminary survey for fact finding before the project implementation, and post-evaluation survey etc. Qualitative data collection is not an easy job as such information is not measurable, and it depends on the enumerators’ skills to what extent useful information is collected.

  JEN recently organized an internal training to improve the survey quality just before starting one. Experienced staff members played the villagers’ roles, to who young staff asked questions to those who were going to work as enumerators in the survey. Others observed how both of them worked and reflected on what they found good and identified areas for improvement.

  Young staffs were impressed by the demonstrations the experienced staff showed acting as villagers. They acted as if they he was real villagers, which helped us feel how the survey interview would be in reality,’ they said. Through this JEN’s field staff members, with various different backgrounds, got close to those people in the villages in need, and their good performance was the key to a successful project implementation. JEN will keep supporting them to meet their needs for their best field work from every aspect.

December 4, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

11/20/2008

Rain and Planting - Climate change affects here, too

20081105_muliwatuvan_beneficiary_lo  Rain has finally come last week to moisten the entire district of Batticaloa. It should have come at the end of September, and people have been waiting in this dry climate to start planting.

Villagers, who had waited for the planting time by preparing their land, immediately started planting after the rain. They looked glad and relieved that the long awaited rain drops finally reached them.

All they can do is to pray for more rain in the same way every year. However, in recent years, people   can’t rely on regular weather seasons, and this further threatens returnees’ unstable lives. As villagers totally depend  on the natural condition for their livelihood, and assistant partners like JEN face challenges in directing when to prepare and send resources to assist them.20081111_placing_seed_mullivattav_2
 
Picture 1: Villagers preparing their lands using tools distributed by JEN (BEFORE RAIN)

Picture 2: Villagers planting seeds distributed by JEN (AFTER RAIN)

November 20, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

11/06/2008

Tools and Seeds for Life

20081106_seeds_distribution_in_vaha JEN provided 10 kinds of farming tools such as hoes and axes, and seeds of maize, peanuts and long-beans for 360 farmers in six villages in Kiran DS Divisions. The majority of local people in this area made their living by cultivating land that used to be jungles  and organizing their small-scale farms in a traditional manner, and they lost their farming tools and seeds while they were evacuating during the civil war, which made it hard for them to get back to their farming activities.

They expressed their gratitude when they saw examples of JEN’s assistance ‘JEN gave us seeds and farming tools at the right time that supported us a lot.’

We haven’t had enough rain for cultivation because of the delay of rainy season this year. But returnees have already started to cultivate their lands with hope for peace in their new lives. JEN sincerely wants to have rain, which brings not only water for their crops, but fortune for their lives.

November 6, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

10/23/2008

New Project in a New Resettlement Area

20081023mou_signing_ceremony_with_g JEN Sri Lanka just launched a new project to support returnees in the Kiran DS Division in Batticaloa District, where IDPs had returned recently. The project is financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and JEN's supporters.

At the project launch, JEN organized a kick-off meeting to explain the project to the District Secretary of Batticaloa, Divisional Secretary of Kiran, and other local officers relevant to the project.

"We are grateful to the Japanese people for their support. And we are glad to have a meeting where all of us can state our own opinions. We would like JEN to keep supporting the needy people in collaboration with local relevant officers," said the District Secretary of Batticaloa.

JEN would like to support IDPs by making most use of local resources. We will listen to people in the project site, and collaborate with the officers of Batticaloa District and Kiran DS Division.

October 23, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

09/25/2008

Move Forward With Their Skills

20080925_panis_fishnet_making2 JEN has supported the Fishery Cooperative Societies(FCS) in Vakarai DS Division following the returnee support project completed this April. JEN has provided materials twice to make fish-net for the FCSs. In the previous project, fish-net making was organized as a skill development training course. This time, the participants were seen to be active in transferring their skills to other FCS members.

In addition, JEN once conducted a workshop for the FCS leaders to learn the structure of microfinance programs, and this time some FCSs were found to be making use of the knowledge they acquired.

Their enthusiastic attitude to learn and share skills among them brought big joy for us, as we had an impression that the FCS members were so used to being assisted from outside and they took it  for granted.

September 25, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

09/11/2008

Psychosocial Care through Reading Picture Books

JEN’s activities encourage children to draw, play games, read books and listen to stories being read to them.
The photo shows a box with 30 picture books.
This area is away from town, and children do not have many chances to see picture books as schools and libraries nearby have ordinary books and newspapers, but not picture books.

Children enjoy reading books and picture books on their own, yet they often ask JEN’s staff to read books for them, and recite poems in the evening time.
Local people drop in on their way back from their work, enjoy a peaceful moment watching the happy children.

JEN bought these picture books and boxes from a Sri Lankan NGO, “Surangani Voluntary Services.
” SVS’s representative is a Japanese woman who supports pre-school education. JEN will keep making use of these local resources to create programs that make local people happy.

September 11, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

08/28/2008

Caring the Heart

200808212art_therapy  There are numerous people in Vakarai Division who have experienced a number of evacuations during the long-term effects of conflict and aftermath of the tsunami. JEN sends a psychologist to conduct counseling to help through the pain and distress you have studied.

JEN first identifies the people who are most in need of counseling. Group work was conducted, among various methods, and they were asked to draw whatever is on their mind.

Take this person (see the photo), for instance, who draws villagers running away from an air attack. Others draw the devastation of the tsunami, palm trees and houses that collapsed. They could not describe them in conversation, but drawing can help them to express what is deep in their mind and too hard and painful for them to express verbally.20080821art_therapy_2

Through the group work, some participants are identified as requiring mental care. In those cases, JEN’s psychologist conducts counseling for these people.

August 28, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

08/14/2008

A Sign of Changes

20080626 JEN sends a psychologist and social workers to conduct a psycho-social care as well as to improve the nutrition and health status of returned people in Vakarai DS Division. JEN provides counseling for adults; and psycho-social care for children through different activities.

Children from 6 to 13 years old get together every evening to play traditional games, sports, do drawings and read books. At first they are seen breaking into groups and arguing with each other, but they gradually understand each other and now respect others when they do activities.

The education system is well developed in Sri Lanka and children generally study hard. But there are many children in Vakarai DS Division who do not attend schools. Vakarai was for a long time under the control of the anti-government force, and the effects of the tsunami and prolonged conflict extended their evacuation. Nowadays, basic infrastructures like housing are being improved through international and domestic assistance, and they are gradually returning to school.

JEN, not only helps people improve their living environment, but repeatedly tells parents about the importance of children’s education through counseling and emphasizes the importance of the children going back to school. There still are various issues ahead regarding the lives of children but JEN has made positive changes in providing a brighter future for the children.

August 14, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

07/03/2008

Community: Happiness or Pain

080701 Occasionally, a participant of the home gardening project visits other participants’. He/she is then trained through helping them. However, in one village, a participant had refused to visit a particular garden.

Vakarai DS Division has been affected by a prolonged conflict situation. Therefore, distrust is occasionally found even amongst the neighbours of the same village. Thus, a JEN social worker and a professional psychologist have organised an opportunity for members of the village to talk to each other. As a consequence, distrust amongst the community has decreased to the level in which the participants can mutually visit each others’ residence.

Now, the locals are enjoying working together. Through sharing happiness or pain, the community’s mutual trust and sense of unity is strengthened.   

The JEN’s home garden project does not only improve the nutritional condition of the local people through cultivating vegetables or support the household’s financial conditions, but does also contributes to ameliorate the strained social conditions of the people and strengthen the mutual trust amongst the local communities.

July 3, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

05/08/2008

Germ of Change

080505_puliyankandalady_meeting_low JEN had a meeting in a fisherman's village where JEN conducts activities, in order to decide participants for the next term, in the activities of home gardenings and sanitary education which started last month.

JEN explained that JEN offers minimum supplies. Trainings and the leading part is conducted by the current participants of the activity. Many people turned up in every village and the each session was successful.

This time, over 50 people gathered in the local fisheries association. Only 4 or 5 people gathered
when JEN had a meeting for the previous operation in September last year.

There is a tendency that emergency aid conducts “Giving aid”, and sometimes JEN's “Supporting aid” is hardly accepted by people who are accustomed to be given.

We sometimes feel that the dependence on aid is still strong, however we also felt that the residents' mind are changing little by little at the meeting this time.

We, staff members, were encouraged by the event to having achieved our supports in close relation to the local sites in the last 6 months.
 

May 8, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

02/28/2008

Caring for the Heart

080226_3 In Batticaloa province, we are providing psychological counseling to victims of conflict.

Local social workers observe our fishnet-making sessions, and by talking to some of the participants, they identify people that show signs of trauma or bearing family problems. After these individuals have been identified, psychology professionals listen to their stories individually and create opportunities for families to discuss their issues together. These are the ways we can support psychological stress and problems.

In January, the social workers conducted music therapy with instruments in their hands. Music calms the soul, and alleviates psychological stress.

080226_4 Psychological counseling does not yield immediate effects; the results are something that will become apparent only over time. However, for these individuals that have suffered long years of conflict or the trauma of the tsunami, it is an essential component of aid. The JEN staff are doing our very best to cover the wide variety of needs experienced by those facing ongoing conflict or disaster.

February 28, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

Caring for the Heart

080226 In Batticaloa province, we are providing psychological counseling to victims of conflict.

Local social workers observe our fishnet-making sessions, and by talking to some of the participants, they identify people that show signs of trauma or bearing family problems. After these individuals have been identified, psychology professionals listen to their stories individually and create opportunities for families to discuss their issues together. These are the ways we can support psychological stress and problems.

In January, the social workers conducted music therapy with instruments in their hands. Music calms the soul, and alleviates psychological stress. 080226_2

Psychological counseling does not yield immediate effects; the results are something that will become apparent only over time. However, for these individuals that have suffered long years of conflict or the trauma of the tsunami, it is an essential component of aid. The JEN staff are doing our very best to cover the wide variety of needs experienced by those facing ongoing conflict or disaster.

February 28, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

01/10/2008

A New Year, New Challenges

First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

In addition, I would like to express gratitude for all of support of JEN’s activity over the last year.

With your support in 2007, we were able to conclude our tsunami relief projects in Hambantota in Southern Sri Lanka. Moreover, we were able to begin our new project, which aims to improve living conditions for victims of conflict in Batticaloa in Eastern Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately, early into the New Year, we received the concerning news that the government of Sri Lanka will revoke the mutual ceasefire agreement signed with the Tamil anti-government organization, the LTTE, back in 2002.

It seems uncertain when this country can reach peace and during periods of conflict, people suffer from both physical loss and psychological damage.

We, at JEN, are striving to extend a helping hand to those people who are not covered by the media or general reports and activities in the region, but still require help to cope in situations of conflict.

We hope to have your continuing support this year.

January 10, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

A New Year, New Challenges

First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

In addition, I would like to express gratitude for all of support of JEN’s activity over the last year.
With your support in 2007, we were able to conclude our tsunami relief projects in Hambantota in Southern Sri Lanka. Moreover, we were able to begin our new project, which aims to improve living conditions for victims of conflict in Batticaloa in Eastern Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately, early into the New Year, we received the concerning news that the government of Sri Lanka will revoke the mutual ceasefire agreement signed with the Tamil anti-government organization, the LTTE, back in 2002.

It seems uncertain when this country can reach peace and during periods of conflict, people suffer from both physical loss and psychological damage.

We, at JEN, are striving to extend a helping hand to those people who are not covered by the media or general reports and activities in the region, but still require help to cope in situations of conflict.

We hope to have your continuing support this year.

January 10, 2008 in Sri Lanka |

12/06/2007

In Order for Peace to not be a Fleeting Moment

Dsc00069 The JEN project in Sri Lanka organized a capacity development workshop at five Fishery Cooperative Societies in the Vakarai Division of Batticaloa District. This was part of a larger assistance program of supporting the Internally Displaced People’s reintegration. The workshop intended to raise awareness and improve livelihoods.

Vakarai, where JEN has its assistance program, is located in the eastern corner of Sri Lanka. It has been one of the primary focuses of international attention as the civil war between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has devastated the area since the 1990s. In addition to this, the tsunami of December 2004 also hit the coastal areas, and the massive operation led by the government’s troops against the LTTE in January 2007 is still fresh in people’s memories.

People in Vakarai have gone through evacuation and resettlement eight times in just the past two decades. Back in their homes, they hardly dare hope to believe in a life free from the control of the LTTE or a peace that will last long. They are reluctant to reconstruct their livelihoods as they no longer believe that the stability can last so what they need now is renewed hope of sustainable recovery and a new sense of self-confidence. Dsc00179

There were between 50 to 80 local people participating in each workshop. JEN’s professional staff held lectures on the function of the Self Support Group and the importance of raising awareness. The lectures also included a variety of icebreakers and games to keep up participant concentration and interest.

December 6, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

11/22/2007

The Launch of Fish-Net Making Training

Panichankeny7 JEN held a ceremony to commemorate the launch of fish-net making training on November 19th 2007 in support of the conflict-affected peoples in the Batticaloa District in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

The training is planned in ten villages in which the Fishery Cooperative Society operates.

The training was first launched in five villages out of the ten. The ceremony was attended by the Divisional Secretary of the Vakarai Division, the Livelihood Development Officer of the Army of Sri Lanka, and the Officer of the Ministry of Fishery and Aquatic Resources. The ceremony began by lighting the traditional oil lamp, which is the first ritual act performed at the beginning of all kinds of events in Sri Lanka. It was followed by speeches given by the aforementioned distinguished guests.

The training course targets forty people in each village. It lasts three hours a day, for two months. The experienced professionals teaching at universities in the project area are the training tutors, and participants will learn both theories and practices.

Psychologists also work in the project area providing psychological support to local people affected by the tsunami and conflict.

At the end of the training course, participants are expected to acquire income-generating skills by learning fish-net making and repairing in order to improve their livelihoods.

November 22, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

10/25/2007

The day to go to the sea is coming soon.

Photo Thanks to the Japan Platform and supporters, manufacturing of boats for the Fisheries Cooperative Societies (FCSs) has started as a part of the returnees support program in Vakarai, Batticaloa.

Based on the records of Ministry of Fisheries, fisherman in the Vakarai area lost 109 boats after the conflict in January. JEN will be supporting the FCSs, which suffered the biggest damage, by providing two boats each, in total twenty boats.

Photo_2 This area suffered huge damage due to the Tsunami at the end of 2004, after that, a lot of boats were distributed by the supporting associations. However, several of these distributed boats were manufactured with disregard to the surrounding environment, and some were manufactured focusing on speed rather than quality. As a result, some distributed boats were unfortunately unusable.

Learning from past experience, we organized the boat manufacturing to be done by a local, reputable boat manufacturing company and based designs on the recommendations of the fisherman involved in this project.

Boats are now in the course of manufacture by putting dozens of fiberglass together to ensure endurance and waterproof properties. All 20 boats are scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2008.

October 25, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

10/04/2007

A New Office has opened.

Photo  We opened a new JEN office in the town Vakarai in Batticaloa, in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka on 1st of October.This town is the key traffic point where highways intersect and it is located about an hour distance by car from the new project area, Vakarai. Vakarai is the area, which suffered huge damages during the battle.

 We have completed carrying in most of office supplies such as desks, chairs and computers from the Southern Hanbantota office, which was closed last month.

 Different from Hanbantota area where many Buddhist Singhalese live, this area consists of mostly Hinduism Tamil and Islamism. Also, appearances and languages are different from the Southern area.
We are now interviewing candidates for project staff. Various candidates, such as those having experience with another association or those who studied in University and seek for actual experience, applied to us.

 We will soon be able to start supporting activities for fisherman in the Vakarai area immediately after establishing the new office staff. We very much appreciate your continuous support.

October 4, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

09/27/2007

Completion of the Livelihood Support Project for Tsunami Affected People

We completed the project for supporting tsunami affected people in Southern Hanbamtota on September 22. We started supporting the people to recover their lives with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from last October.

With this project, we provided vocational training; children activities and physical counseling at 13 different resettlement places.  We remember joyful and unique people, such as those who voluntarily organized people and those who showed us their appreciation.

JEN provided social workers, instructors and counselors to one resettlement place over the last 2 months, and we were able to build up trustful relations with local people. Although local people came from different villages in some places, gradually we could experience people pulling together, connected through the project.

The survey after the vocational training recorded that the people have been receiving good harvests or earning money through making fishing nets by using the new knowledge and techniques learned from the project.

With the completion of the project, we have concluded the contract with local staff that engaged in this project for more than 2 years. We very much appreciate their contribution knowing that we could not achieve such a success without them, and we wish them continuous success in the next association.

Thank you very much to all of you for your long support.

September 27, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

09/13/2007

The construction of a training facility in Batticaloa

Puliyankandaladi_village8 As a part of the project, we were scheduled to provide occupational training (fish net making) in the Vakarai area (the Northern part of Batticaloa). However, due to the Tsunami damage and continuous battle, appropriate facilities for this training does not exist. Accordingly, we are planning to build a prefabricated training facility.

However, there is a physical distribution problem.

We arranged for a big track and a small track with a crane to deliver building materials of which there was 5 tons each for 10 different villages. Although vendors were reluctant to accept the order from us due to the bad access of each site, we were able to start negotiations with an experienced vendor for the building materials in the Batticaloa area.

Broken_village_by_war Although it has already been 6 months since refugees came back to the village in Vakarai (*), it will take some more time for full-scale recovery. We very much appreciate your continuous support.

(*) Going back to other areas has been delayed for 3 months.

September 13, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

08/30/2007

Project Launch in Eastern Sri Lanka

Photo_3 With financial assistance by Japan Platform, JEN will launch a project in support of conflict-affected peoples in the Batticaloa District of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. Batticaloa is infamous for the region in which the Army of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a militant Tamil organization, had severe fights since last summer, resulting in over 160,000 people displaced.

Since spring, 100,000 people have so far returned to their own villages when the tension between the two sides mitigated. However, the areas to which they returned were also affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami, which hit Sri Lanka at the end of 2004. Two immense disasters, the domestic conflict and the tsunami, deprived people of their basis of living and income generating sources.

This project will target the fishermen in Vakarai, which is in the Northern part of the Batticaloa District. JEN will distribute new fishing boats lost in the conflict, provide vocational trainings for fish-net making, conduct organizational capacity development of the Fishery Cooperative Society, and deliver psychosocial care. 

JEN will begin by establishing a district office, employing national staff, and concluding the MOU with the district government. It will take time to set up the working environment, but we expect the project activities to get on track sometime in mid-October.

August 30, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

08/02/2007

History of Building Friendship between Japan and Sri Lanka

JEN often meets through activities government officers and members of development agencies who mention, “I have been to Japan”. I addition, “I have worked with Japanese people in my office before.” is also often heard.

This is due to the fact that Japan has received Sri Lankan people for trainings and dispatched Japanese of various professions to Sri Lanka through ODA programs for over half a century. Such people have great respect for Japan. Even if they have never heard of JEN, they show favorable attitudes towards JEN because it is a Japanese organization.

For example, people happily make time for us, when we make unexpected visits to locations where we plan to launch a program. They collect information, which they think we may need prior to our meeting, without our asking them to do so. Their cooperative is extremely helpful to the execution of JEN projects. JEN hopes to develop upon the long history of friendship between Japan and Sri Lanka. 

August 2, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

07/05/2007

Relieve a Pain

JEN’s vocational training saw its third-term finish on 27th June. We walked down to our car to leave one of the four villages where we attended the commencement ceremony, and then it happened.

A guy was shouting at us. He was from the neighboring village across the road. The massive tsunami of December 2004 washed away his two children, his house, ship and all fishing tools. He lost everything he used to make a living. With a strong smell of alcohol in his breath, his anger and agony came out of his mouth. And he complained “JEN’s assistance reached my neighboring village, but not my village”.

JEN selected villages where JEN’s assistance could meet the needs of the affected people. The village size, the degree of devastation caused by the tsunami, the population, and the economic condition before and after the tsunami were the aspects examined in our survey, and his village was not among the targets.

He saw JEN’s vocational training actively conducted in the other village alongside the road. He heard people’s cheerful voices and saw their smiles in the gatherings and it made him feel uneasy and angry.

His words left us speechless and we apologized for what we hadn’t done for people in his village. There are always people who are left behind when we decide to support others, and it is us who left him in devastation. We learned what we couldn’t do did for him, and something visible, goods for instance, couldn’t relieve the deep sorrow brought by the tsunami.

July 5, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

05/03/2007

Coexisting with Wild Animals

Photo_78 The resettlement area where JEN is currently operating to support the tsunami victims has been made by clearing an area from the jungle. One issue that concerns the beneficiaries of the vegetable garden project is that water buffaloes, monkeys and elephants often eat all the vegetables and fruit.

It is not unusual to come across 3 meter long snakes or huge 1 meter long lizards from the nearby natural wildlife park. Also monkeys frequently take the fruits from the trees in the garden of JEN’s Hambantota office, and wild elephants are often spotted foraging for food at the garbage dump near the resettlement neighborhood.

However, if we think about it, we realize that the land taken for the resettlement works was once

these animals’ natural habitat, and thus they are also tsunami victims. That people are dying from

elephant attacks is a serious problem, but it is important that we consider good ways for humans

and animals to coexist.

May 3, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

03/22/2007

Village Boys

N_3  A trainer of JEN’s fishnet workshops talked about his first visit to a target village.  On the way back from the workshop, local boys asked him to drive them to towns.  The trainer refused, it is impossible for him to give them such a privilege.  Then the boys threatened him: “Never step in our village again!”  Unfortunately, the same story often occurs to trainers in other villages.

A psychologist analysed the boys’ aggressive reaction.  He pointed out two influential factors.  First, the boys have not been disciplined well because their fathers are often away from home fishing.  Second, the boys are mistrusting and insecure for some of their fathers are alcoholic and often get violent for no reason.

JEN’s staff tried to bring village boys out of their shell.  Using our principle of listening to them patiently with a respect for each boy’s personality, instead of blaming them for their aggressive attitude.

After one month had passed, JEN won the children’s confidence.  Boys show positive changes toward JEN’s staff.  Now they look forward to seeing the staff after school to talk about themselves, even discussing their own worries about their family, their future, and their trauma of the tsunami.

March 22, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

03/08/2007

Beyond Circles

Jpf_2207_1 JEN has conducted a gardening project in Marganpura and Metserana, a newly plotted village for the resettlement of victims of the previous tsunami.  The initial obstacle to the project is factions within the village itself.  People from the same camp formed close circles and shut themselves to strangers from different towns.  Such divided circles hindered community-based collaboration that JEN’s workshop was based upon.

However, JEN’s social workers successfully brought participants from different circles together in complete harmony in the gardening workshop.  Farming together on a hot day drives participants to share in the achievement of hard physical work a sense of solidarity with others whose origins are different from their own.  Now village people enjoy chatting together over various topics while collaborating without any noticeable divides.

March 8, 2007 in Sri Lanka |

12/21/2006

After Two Years – a Victim’s Remembrance

Photo_52 Wasanti lost her husband and her house at the same time at the Boxing Day tsunami. She currently participates in JEN’s gardening projects. 

“Two years having passed since that day, few international relief agencies remain in my village of Hambantota now. I resettled in a new house with my family, but our life remains severe, as I am only a widow without any income… JEN’s gardening projects have helped me a lot both financially and psychologically. I hope more and more families participate in the projects as we do, which are very beneficial indeed.”

December 21, 2006 in Sri Lanka |

12/14/2006

After Two Years – Christmas is coming

Photo_51 While Christmas is coming soon, another important day is approaching in the coastline of Sri Lanka – the 26 December, the memorial day of the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. 

Instead of colourful Christmas illumination, people in the village of Hambantota silently decorate their houses with yellow leaves of coconuts as a sign of mourning for victims.

December 14, 2006 in Sri Lanka |

11/23/2006

People involved in the mission

061108n_1 Relief project for Tsunami victims supported be Japan government has started at last. We care the tsunami victims mentally as ever with social worker, instructor, and expert in psychology through job training. Before we start the activities we trained our staff. They studied JEN and JEN’s activities, how to get involved in social psychology and counselling. “We should not take center stage, and our mission is bringing out people’s best”, said the expert in psychology who teach them.

The day before job training, an official from Sri Lanka embassy visited the village and encouraged the tsunami victims. The official said “It is a pleasure to see Japanese taxes are surely used for people in Sri Lanka, and people and the communities receive Japanese NGO.”

JEN’s mission cannot be achieved by JEN staff only. We are supported by a lot of people and act in unison with people in Sri Lanka.

November 23, 2006 in Sri Lanka |

08/24/2006

Vegetable Growing and Nutritional Improvement Program

1_25    In April, with the kind support of Ajinomoto Co., Inc., we began a nutritional improvement program through vegetable growing. This program targets female tsunami survivors who lost their houses and consequently moved to cultivated land further inland called "resettling areas."

    The project not only involves guidance to vegetable growing utilizing environmentally friendly organic farming techniques, but also social workers as well. They provide nutritional guidance and counseling; healing the victims' broken hearts whilst improving their nutritional situations. It has proved to be a great success among the participants, as they are able to acquire not only new agricultural methods, but also accurate knowledge about nutrition at the same time.

     "I lost my parents, and 2 children to the tsunami. I used to love gardening, but after the tsunami ripped through my house and ravaged my garden, I was devastated and could not bring myself to do it anymore. After moving to this new place, and through participating in this program, I became able to grow okra and beans in what used to be an empty garden. The program has helped me a lot. Now I look forward to meeting my friends in the nutrition class. I learn a lot of new things everyday; for example, what kinds of foods I should eat if I want to prevent illnesses-it is all very enjoyable."
-Nasreena (33 years old)

August 24, 2006 in Sri Lanka |

08/17/2006

Cheer from Villages

2_32 JEN organized a study tour for the second time to our operational field in Sri Lanka.  We received eighteen people: participants doubled compared to the previous tour last year.  Victims of the tsunami survived the emergency period and have silently made a first step towards reconstruction of their normal life.

A village of Hambantota expressed a warm welcome by special ornaments of vivid flowers and leaves and fantastic smile of children.  Participants then visited a village of Siribopura.  The village is a resettlement area where victims of the tsunami have just started their new livelihoods leaving from temporary shelters. 

Participants planted bananas and mangoes together with local people.  After having a good sweat in the farmland, village women kindly invited to teatime with handmade sweets to chat over their lives after the tsunami.Photo_48

A village woman smiled: “It is a great pleasure for me to participate in JEN’s gardening projects.  I enjoy cooperating with village people.  Now I restarted my life, yet economically still difficult.  International aids disappeared as time goes by after the tsunami, one year and eight months have passed.  Still, JEN stays with us – I am happy to see our garden to grow.”  A participant added: “I came to encourage victims, but their smile cheered me up indeed.  My experience with people in Sri Lanka will stay in my mind.  I would come back to see fruit of bananas and mangoes that we planted together.”

August 17, 2006 in Sri Lanka |

07/20/2006

The Talk of the Town -the Tsunami Disaster Prevention Workshop

3_3     On the 20th of April, an article appeared in the local newspaper about a tsunami workshop. This workshop, carried out by JEN with the kind support of Sompo Japan, was conducted for children that were affected by the tsunami in Hambantota province.

    In spite of voices strongly arguing for the need of disaster prevention education, in reality, most schools had no such programs introduced after the tsunami. JEN's workshop proved to answer such people's needs by disseminating necessary disaster prevention knowledge to children, and has been regarded highly.

    The newspaper article stated above began by introducing JEN, and went on to assess our workshops for children, introduced messages from workshop participants, and concluded by proposing that these types of workshops should be conducted throughout the country.

    Although all 4 sessions of the workshop have been successfully completed, we have begun conducting counseling for children through sports activities, and are continuing to provide support for tsunami-affected children.

July 20, 2006 in Sri Lanka |

05/30/2006

Social Workers

S1_1     JEN is currently working on a follow-up program aimed at reaching out to tsunami victims in further need of help in dealing with their psychological wounds. The subjects of the program are victims from the 32 villages that JEN worked with on a previous project. Needless to say, social workers are an indispensable part of this program.

S2     Social workers regularly visit the villages, teaching community workers from various villages as well as holding counseling sessions. The below is a message from one of the workers:
“When we began this program, the villagers were expecting support in terms of money, and thus we had a difficult time in trying to win their understanding on the significance of psychological care. However, they eventually came to comprehend the problems that they carried, and were able to regain their ways of positive thinking. Through JEN’s program, I myself was able to learn many things, as well as mature as a person alongside the tsunami victims.”

    Today, she continues to heal people’s broken hearts, while wrapped in a beautiful sari and playing cricket with the children until the ball is no longer visible to the eye.

May 30, 2006 in Sri Lanka |