12/21/2017

All programs of 14 years completed

JEN Sri Lanka Office will finish all of our programs  in Sri Lanka at the end of December 2017. JEN’s activates have been continued for 14 years since 2004 to support Tsunami affected people while the civil war was continuing. We came until today as we were supported by blog readers and supporters.

Through our programs of emergency response for Tsunami etc. as well as returnees’ support of the civil war, Sri Lankans kept making effort to be independent and development themselves to live better. This is because positive participation by people who joined JEN’s programs, cooperation with  the Sri Lanka government, patience of JEN’s national staff and back-up by JEN’S supporters.

We faced a lot of difficulties too. JEN’s staffs argued among themselves to discuss which projects were the best for participants’ independence. Sometimes, we needed to have long discussions with the government to decide what/how JEN should support those people. To bring up the participants’ motivation was also difficult because of poverty and further anxiousness. But everyone got over it to pay all their effort to make it happen.

[JEN’s staffs]
20171221_sl_01_2


20171221_sl_02_2


In Sri Lanka, it is forecasted that climate change might continue. We hope the people who have learned with JEN can use obtained knowledge and cope with difficulties.

Once again, thank you for your 14 years’ support!

[By all staffs of Sri Lanka, Kilinochchi Office and Colombo sub-Office]
20171221_sl_03_2

December 21, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

12/07/2017

Final Workshop_Creating Hazard Map

It has been 8 years since the civil war was over in Sri Lanka. You can still see the impact of war especially in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka where the front line was located. For the past 5 years, JEN has been supporting the local people to rebuild their lives, and 2017 is the final year for these projects. The final project focuses on disaster prevention and mitigation in order to develop the local people’s knowledge of how to recover from a disaster by themselves.

JEN Sri Lanka Office held the final workshop. The workshop’s content is creating hazard map by each household of beneficiaries.

In the workshop, they reviewed the leaning from the last workshop which includes what kinds of disaster occur in Northern Province of Sri Lanka, checking the last time homework: where is the toilet, doors and evacuate roots in your house, and then introduced created Community Disaster Management Committee. After the review and introduction, all participants started creating the map.

Each participant confirmed his/her house in the village map, and then wrote participants’ houses, their neighbours’ houses, schools, religious buildings or any other public spaces, and shops. Moreover, they wrote down the wells, open channel and water reservoir tanks which might cause of disaster.

[Creating colourful map by participants]
20171207_sl_01_map


After creating the map, the resource person explained using the map, which roots should use the evacuation once disaster occurs; where you should evacuate your cattle and so on.

[The resource person explained importance of creation of hazard map and preparation by household level for disasters.]
20171207_sl_02_lecture


In the wrap-up time, randomly selected participants pointed their houses in the map and explained evacuation roots. In addition, some participants answered whose house they are, which JEN’s staff asked. All of them are correct! Villagers know their village well. The resource person emphasized repeatedly, “The government cannot response all disasters. The most efficient way to reduce disaster damages are preparation by villagers as well as helping out each other by villagers.

Through total 5 workshops, participants learned preparation for main disasters which related to direct impact on agriculture, such as drought and flood. Disasters are always around of us, and occur anytime and anywhere. We hope the participants, entire community and the government continue to make efforts to disaster prevention and disaster risk reduction.



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

December 7, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

11/09/2017

Counter-Drought Agriculture: vol.4

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

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

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

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

【Staff packaging the crops.】
20171109_sl_01_packing

【Distribution ceremony】
20171109_sl_02

【Seminar of drip irrigation】
20171109_sl_03_explained

【Installment of irrigation】
20171109_sl_04_setup

Longing for the arrival of rainy season, the farmers are busy in cultivating the filed.

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


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

November 9, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

Water saving agriculture 4

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

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

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

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

[Packing seeds by JEN’s staff]
20171109_sl_01_packing_2


[Distribution of seeds]
20171109_sl_02_2


[Explained by the company regarding drip irrigation equipment]
20171109_sl_03_explained_2


[Beneficiaries set up the drip irrigation equipment]
20171109_sl_04_setup_2


Currently, farmers wish it will start rainy season and cultivate their field.

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



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

November 9, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

10/19/2017

Counter-drought Agriculture: vol. 3

In this post, we’ll catch up with a family introduced in our previous report, who grow peppers with a hand-made irrigation. What is becoming of it since then? How big do they grow?

Look! There’re many plump pepper hulls coming out!

【Madame Servamani harvesting peppers】
20171019_sl_01_n

Madame Servamani told us that they’ve already enjoyed the harvests several times. When we visited, there were many plump hulls ready to be cropped.

【The cropped peppers】
20171019_sl_02_n

In addition to peppers, they are growing egg plants in the upper tier, which need a bit more time to ripe.

【Tiny green egg plants waiting for the harvest.】
20171019_sl_03

【The egg plants of the center tower have grown faster and bigger than the left one.】
20171019_sl_04

We’re planning to compile 20 examples of water-saving agriculture into a booklet, which we wish may help the droughts-troubled district to improve the productivity by applying some of those ideas on their farms.



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

October 19, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

10/05/2017

Aiming for the establishment of seed banks

Have you heard of seed banks?
As the name suggests, it is a mechanism to lend seeds.

As we have often been reporting, Sri Lanka is a country which is vulnerable to climate change. In particular, in the northern part of the country, plants do not grow due to droughts and crops cannot be harvested, nor can seeds for the next planting be harvested.

To improve this situation, JEN is considering establishing seed banks in cooperation with agricultural cooperatives in various parts of the country.

In preparation, we are holding workshops on what seed banks are, how to collect and preserve appropriate seeds, what is necessary for the establishment and operation of seed banks, and when and how they will be available.

Many households are preserving seeds on a private basis, and their preservation method varies. Preserving seeds at community level will allow more types of seeds to be properly stored in accordance with the characteristics of each area, and this will make it possible to lend seeds in emergency.

[A lecturer uses cartoons to explain how to harvest seeds]
20171005_sl_workshop1

[A lecturer explains how to preserve seeds]
20171005_sl_lecturing2



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

October 5, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

09/21/2017

Counter-drought Agriculture vol.2

Counter-drought Agriculture vol.2

Following our previous post, we’ll introduce other examples of water-saving agriculture.

20170921_sl_the_shade1
【Sun screening nets cover over the plants, which enable to reduce the amount of the water evaporation by 50%.】

Shown above, this is an example to prevent the water from the evaporation by screening the sun light.

But one family apply several methods together with this to save the water more effectively

20170921_sl_seedlings_in_pods2_2
【Young plants in the plastic bags. The surfaces of the soil are mulched with straw.】

20170920_sl_compost3
【Composts made with the mixture of cow excrements, coconuts shells and palm leaves.】

As well as moistening the soil in the plastic bags and covering the surface of soil with the coconut shells and straw for the heat protection (shown in photo #2), they also make the compost in the backyard with cow excrements, coconut shells, and scrap vegetables (shown in photo).

There is another family who makes home-made warming bags for the soil, consisting of half burnt rice husks and composts, to keep the humidity.

20170921_sl_the_evacuee4
(photo #4)
【JEN staff checking the soil condition with the participants of program (right).】

It requires to keep watching out when burning rice husks, because too much burnt husks can’t contain enough moisture.

20170921_sl_burning5

That is how the local Suri Lankans prepare for the constant droughts, applying multiple methods to save the water at the same time.


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

September 21, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

09/07/2017

Counter-drought Agriculture

In Recent years, floods and droughts have broken out at the same time or alternatively in Suri Lanka. While floods cause the tremendous damages with landslides every year, the northern area has been suffered from constant droughts which dry up the reservoirs.

After a giant flood hit the country at the end of this May, JEN set an emergent support program in the south Ratnapura, for those who are forced to evacuate from their homes due to the calamity and the following landslide.

Meanwhile in the north, we’ve been engaged in the promotion of “counter-drought agriculture” as a part of our agricultural support program. Sponsored by Ford Motors, a new contest was held in April to invite widely for excellent examples to adopt the water saving ideas to the traditional agriculture.

Now we’re in the middle of the selection for the awards among the applications. (for more details on the contest, please refer to this page.)

Today, we’ll introduce one outstanding example among them.

20170907_sl_the_system1


This is a makeshift irrigation tower made with stacked dust bins.

Inside of the soil stuffed tower, a bamboo tube is located at the center with many holes on the side. Once poured down into the tube from the top, the water seeps into the soil through the holes, keeping it damped without constantly watering.

20170907_sl_the_tap2


Photo2

A faucet is attached at the bottom of the tower, so that the excess water is to be recuperated automatically and recycled.

This brilliant idea came from 11 old year boy (picture below, in a green shirt). His family planted the red peppers in each pod attached to the tower, which has grown well so far.

P1150201

P1150202

They’re excitingly waiting to enjoy the harvest 3 months later.

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

September 7, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

08/27/2017

Ratnapura flood emergency assistance completed

On August 27, JEN completed the distribution of shelter emergency kits to 150 households in the 13 districts. We would like to thank you once again for your continued support.

This is a report on the distribution of the tent reinforcing materials JEN has provided in a camp in the Wanniyawaththa GN Division, Nivithigala DS, Ratnapura District.

20170829_sl_jenstaff1
[A JEN staff member (center) explains about the distribution during a brief sunny spell]

Temporarily shelters were installed and people affected by the flood resumed their daily lives.

20170829_sl_hiking2for_en
[A steep mountain path on which one of the JEN team managed to sprain her ankle]

Unlike the material JEN has distributed can withstand heavy rain, so people can settle down and have a roof over their heads until their houses are rebuilt.

Even while we were providing this assistance, the news of extensive floods and mudslides came in one after another from India, Nepal, Sierra Leone and elsewhere.

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

August 27, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

08/24/2017

[Ratnapura] After the floods—installation of temporary shelters starts

The installation of temporary shelters using distributed materials has begun in Nivithigala, Ratnapura District.

[A mountain path through a tropical rainforest in the Ratnapura District]

20170824_sl_the_way_to_the_place1


We drove up a narrow mountain path that was barely paved as in the photo above, followed by a path like an animal trail deeper in the jungle before arriving at the site where temporary shelters were being installed for the affected people.

We had surprises that were unique to a rainforest on our way, like spotting a Komodo dragon from our car and a staff member getting a leech stuck on a leg.


[A temporary shelter being installed (woman on the far right is the district administrator)]
20170824_sl_the_shelter2


Specialized engineers dispatched from the government build the foundations in order to secure safety and durability, and residents themselves install the other parts.

Even as the weather continues to be irregular, residents continue to work during brief sunny spells, trying to build temporary housing as quickly as possible. Their work is nearly complete.




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

August 24, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

08/15/2017

[Ratnapura] After the flood -temporary shelter materials delivered and the handover ceremony held

The project to distribute temporary shelter materials was made possible with the support of our donors and Japan Platform (JPF). JEN would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who donated to this project.

======
The temporary shelter materials were delivered. (Click here for the article on the procurement of materials)

On August 11, the handover ceremony was held, attended by Mr. Sato, second secretary, Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka and the head of the Nivithigala County in the Ratnapura District.

The Loca Deniva Elementary School, where the ceremony was held, has been the shelter for 14 families for two weeks since the huge landslide on May 26. The ceremony hosted a large number of people, including the victims, residents of the community that had housed them and the local media.

The residents who planned the ceremony entertained everyone with music and dancing.  They also cooked special food, similar to the food they would prepare for a wedding celebration.

Photo_4 2
[Students performing a traditional dance]

After the ceremony, we distributed our materials to the families.
Temporary shelter materials were distributed to 120 families in a total of 14 districts and tent reinforcing materials to 30 families in one district.

3 4
[Distribution of materials; many young volunteers participated]

More heavy rain fell in the area but the local people were able to be dry in their temporary housing.
Photo_5
[Heavy rain again]

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

August 15, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

08/10/2017

[Ratnapura] After the floods - procurement of temporary shelter materials begins

JEN started procuring temporary shelter materials to distribute to flood victims.

Our logistics officers analyzed the price and quality of the various materials and services on offer and decided that it would be best to buy the materials in the Colombo District, and then transport them up to the Ratnapura District.

The Ratnapura District Administration approved the materials based on JEN’s temporary shelter standards. We negotiated contracts with the different suppliers.

It was a challenge to procure the materials within the budget and to arrange for safe delivery to schedule.

The manufacturers usually deal with construction companies who purchase in bulk, so our negotiations for relatively small quantities were difficult.

20170810_sl_towing3

However, after skillful negotiations by our experienced logistics officers JEN was able to buy the materials we wanted at a price within budget.

20170810_sl_tin_sheet1
[A JEN team member negotiating at a galvanized plate supplier]

20170810_sl_hardware_store2
[A JEN team member negotiating at a tool supplier]

The materials we purchased were then transported to the Ratnapura District.

The Ratnapura District is approximately 50 miles away from the Colombo District, and is usually a three hour drive by car.

However, with the onset of the rainy season landslides frequently occur making road conditions difficult and the journey longer.

20170810_sl_towing3_2
[A truck stuck in the mud and being towed]

Each district decided where they wanted the materials delivered and then the local community, who were the beneficiaries, unloaded them.

20170810_sl_unloading4
[Unloading in progress]

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

August 10, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

08/03/2017

Flood relief team in Ratnapura

JEN’s team, a project officer, a logistics officer, an accounting and general admin officer, provide support in Ratnapura.

  Last week we got information about what the people who were affected by the flood needed. From this we made a distribution list for the selected 150 households. Before we could begin distribution the list needs to be approved by the directors of each district, so first we had to visit all 12 districts where the people live.

The project officer negotiates with the district administrative team. With the director he agrees the distribution point from which the people can easily access the items.
.
【the staff meets the director】
20170803_sl_talking_with_the_local_

The logistics officer gets quotes in Patnapula and Colombo. He received 31 written quotes, for materials to build simple shelters. From these quotes he chose the one that represented the best value. 

【The officer compares the written estimates】
20170803_sl_logi_officer2_2


The accounting and general admin officer is in charge of the office. He purchases office equipment, gets the car ready and pays for the materials.

We all do our best to efficiently purchase the materials, distribute the materials and construct the shelters!

【Meeting in the morning】
20170803_sl_team_meeting3



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

August 3, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

07/27/2017

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

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

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

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

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

[The picture shows life in the tent. When it rains, water flows in] 
20170727_sl_01_tent1
[The picture shows the kitchen]
20170727_sl_02_the_kitchen2


The issues of living in a tent are security and drainage. The door of the tent is zipped and impossible to lock from the inside.  So often the men have to abandon work in order to guard their female relatives and children.

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

[Susansa Kumar’s damaged house. He says he climbs down the hill when it rains for fear of a landslide.]
20170727_sl_03_collapsed_house3


Even in such a situation, we saw many people trying to get their lives back to normal. JEN is speedily working with the district administration.  We will procure and distribute construction materials so that shelters can be built.

[Mud got into the house. As it occurred while they were sleeping, they escaped in a hurry.] 
20170727_sl_04_inside_of_the_house4


[JEN’s team listening to Sunil, a guide in the district, and the local people affected by the flood]          
20170727_sl_05_reseaching5


   

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

July 27, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

07/18/2017

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

JEN provides emergency shelter assistance to residents affected by the monsoon that occurred in southern Sri Lanka in May.
.
The Ratnapura District, the target area of our project, is located in the southwest part of the country. The district suffered extensive damage due to repetitive floods and landslides, killing 86 people, completely destroying 860 buildings and partially destroying 7,846.
.
Most of the damaged buildings have broken roofs and walls and cracks in their foundations, so are no longer usable.
.
JEN is distributing materials to families who have lost their homes and have had to move in with relatives or to evacuation centers. Using these materials families are able to build their own simple shelters in which to live until their homes are rebuilt.
.
The Ratnapura District, is famous for jewelry production which is one of Sri Lanka’s major industries. Cat’s-eye and sapphire gemstones can be found in the local rivers and mountains, so people search for gemstones everywhere.
.
The district is also rich in produce such as tea, rubber, rambutans and avocados which cannot be cultivated in the north.
20180718_sl_plantaion1
[A rubber tree farm]
.
Whilst setting up the office JEN immediately obtained approval for the project and started a preliminary needs assessment. Because many of the affected households live deep in the mountains where access by car is not possible, JEN had to do investigations on foot.
.
Once  complete, the distribution of relief goods start.
20170718_sl_completely_damaged_hous
[A building destroyed by a landslide]
20170718_sl_collecting_info4
[JEN staff interviewing residents]
20170718_sl_weak_house_contruction5
[Many of the clay houses are easily damaged by floods]

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

July 18, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

07/06/2017

Disaster mitigation and preparedness workshops has started!

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

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

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

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

[The venue of the work shop]
20170706_sl_01_kaijou


[ Participants]
20170706_sl_02_member


The work shop ran as follows:

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

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

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

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

[ Fill-in-the-blank quiz by three groups]
20170706_sl_03_quiz1


20170706_sl_04_quiz2


[ A lecture]
20170706_sl_05_lecture


[ Today's material]
20170706_sl_06_textbook




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

July 6, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

06/22/2017

[Floods and landslides] State of damage in the central Ratnapura District—the investigators’ report—

The tropical cyclone that struck Sri Lanka on May 24 and 25 brought huge damage to the central and southern parts of the country just as last year.

The floods and landslides that occurred in the 12 districts in Sri Lanka killed a total of 213 people, as well as creating over 660,000 victims and more than 70,000 evacuees at its peak. As many as 3,124 buildings were completely destroyed and 20,814 partially destroyed by the disaster, the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Center said.

A team of JEN staff members visited the Ratnapura District in central Sri Lanka, which suffered extensive damage, in order to investigate the state of damage and the local demand after the disaster. Access to the Ratnapura District is bad as it is surrounded by mountains, and assistance is hard to reach. Many people in various parts of the district were affected by landslides as well as flooding.

We visited four counties for investigation, the ones that were most heavily damaged in the district. We interviewed the Disaster Management Center and local government personnel, as well as victims.

[The mountain path stretches endlessly to the investigation site; a car can barely pass through]
20170622_sl_the_way_to_the_research


What we learned from the affected people was that the floods and landslides deprived them of their homes, seriously and directly causing damage to some of them. In addition, although they escaped the disaster this time, more than 600 households are forced to evacuate or permanently move out because their houses are located in the landslide danger zones.

They will be given new lands from the government and will receive assistance to build the foundation for new lives. However, some people worry about the situation where they have to abandon the lives they are used to and have to live as evacuees for several months until new lands are allocated.

[A JEN staff member interviewing people living in the evacuation center]
20170622_sl_meeting_the_peole2

[An extensive landslide destroyed many houses]
20170622_sl_land_slide3

[A flash flood caused by a landslide completely destroyed the house]
20170622_sl_distory_the_houses4

In Sri Lanka, flooding occurs almost every year due to heavy rain caused by cyclones. Although the scale of damage may vary, we think that the disaster prevention measures need to be tightened in the whole country in order to reduce the number of victims in the future.

Based on the results of our investigation, we are considering the feasibility of starting a new emergency assistance project.


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

June 22, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

06/15/2017

Life after being a refugee

There are many mines left from the civil war in Muhamalai, northern Sri Lanka.
NGOs which specialize in the removal of these mines, are participating in operation “Mine Free Sri Lanka”, a United Nations initiative to remove all mines in Sri Lanka by 2020.

However, it is very time consuming and very dangerous work. Very recently, the JEN team visited Vembodukerny which has been cleared of mines.  Simple shelters have been built on the sandy treeless flatland.

Most of families who came back to the area live in poverty having lost everything in the
civil war. For the last 10 years they have lived as refugees so making a living for themselves and their families is difficult. 

The Sri Lankan Government provides wells for everyone to use, and gives monthly 5000 rupees (about USD 60) as funding to each family and food (about USD 22 each person) to resettle.
With the support of NGOs, people need to fence in farm land, dig wells and build simple shelters. It is very hard to find work and live in an environment where the future is so uncertain.

In addition, there are places where mines are buried 50 meters away from the houses. Can you imagine seeing the sign “DANGER Minefield” from your garden?


20170615_sl_the_land_open_to_everyo
[The area just released]

By using some of the limited water from the public wells some families have started farming even though their activities are carried out so close to the minefields.

Little by little people are starting to rebuild their lives. To do this they need to think how to use the limited water effectively, which vegetables to grow and how they can all work together to get the best results. We hope that we can help these people to become even stronger.

20170615_sl_growing_veges_with_limi
[Vegetables which grows with limited water]


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

June 15, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

06/12/2017

[Emergency assistance] JEN has dispatched a staff member to the area affected by the severe rain storm and landslides in the central-southern part of Sri Lanka

JEN appreciates your concern over this disaster, and would also like to thank you for your support by contacting us on the feasibility of our assistance.

***
Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by the tropical cyclone (severe rain storm) that hit Sri Lanka on May 24 and 25 and landslides that followed.

JEN set up a task force in our Sri Lanka office, and dispatched a staff member there on June 12.

Staff dispatched:
Chiaki Ota/JEN Sri Lanka Office Representative

Img_4218_low

Ms. Ota has been providing returnees with assistance in the northern conflict areas under JEN’s current project in Sri Lanka.


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

June 12, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

06/01/2017

Report on the Floods and Landslides

Assistance for the victims of the floods and landslides disasters in Sri Lanka
JEN has started gathering information on the extent of damage due to the floods that have been affecting many people since May 24.

JEN is currently carrying out activities in the North, however, we have so far worked in the southern Hambantota District, which is the present disaster area.

We have received information that our emergency relief goods are arriving at the affected area. We will continue to gather information on its progress.

We will post follow-up reports on our website as they become available.
The floods have caused no damage to the JEN staff members, and they have all been confirmed to be safe.


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

June 1, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

05/25/2017

People’s Food Market (in the North)

Greetings

In this issue, the general affairs and accounting manager in the Sri Lanka office introduces the market that supports daily life in the North.


Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu


Considering the accessibility to the project sites in the Northern Province, Kilinochchi District and Mullaitivu District, JEN Sri Lanka established its office in the center of Kilinochchi. Kilinochchi is a city with a population of about 110,000 but there are only three supermarkets, so called modern supermarkets (1 privately-owned, 1 government-owned and 1 semi-government-owned).

Most residents shop for groceries at the market in the center of the town.

A market is usually a semi-outdoor establishment divided into small sections, and the building is divided according to the sale items, such as vegetables, fruits, fish and chicken. The market is managed by the office called Pradeshiya Sabha. Sellers pay venue rental tax and the sales tax. The Pradeshiya Sabha manages the market by these taxes.

There are no four seasons in Sri Lanka and the kinds of vegetables in the market have no big change throughout the year. Vegetables, which are called “summer vegetables” in Japan, such as eggplant, tomato, bitter gourd, green bean and pumpkin, are being sold in the vegetable market.

20170525_sl_vege_market1_2
【Vegetable market】

You can buy small quantities of vegetables because they are selling by weight, however, it is easier to beat the price if you buy in bulk because of the asking price. 

Due to the undeveloped distribution system in the North, it is easier to get fresh foods at the market, which purchases vegetables directly from the local farms, than at the supermarkets. As expats, we also get our groceries at the market, negotiating prices using gestures.

20170525_sl_fish_market2
【In the fish market, the catch and kinds of fish are different each day, but lineups are rich, ranging from blue fish to soft-shell crab】

As a traveler, it is almost impossible to interact with local people in the market. However, for expats who visit the market, it is an important opportunity to understand the local lifestyle, custom and culture.

20170525_sl_fruit_market3_2
【Here is the fruits market selling bananas, mangoes, pineapples and jack fruits】


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

May 25, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

05/11/2017

Towards an Official Trip to Sri Lanka

Hello. I am a program officer for Sri Lanka based at JEN’s Tokyo Headquarters.

The main work of the Tokyo Headquarters team is to launch projects abroad. Program officers prepare applications for grants, submit completion reports, manage the progress of the projects and send thank you letters to supporters.

Also, program officers visit the country for which they are responsible if necessary, they temporarily fill any vacant positions and monitor the project. They discuss with the local team what kind of support activities should be carried out in the future.

Soon, I’ll be going to Sri Lanka to check on the progress of a project and after I’ll report my findings so that supporters will see what we have managed to achieve with their help and also to update my colleagues so we can feel encouraged by the progress we have made.

Here, I would like to give you some information about Sri Lanka.
Official Name : Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Meaning: Shining Island Geography: An island in the Indian Ocean to the south of India. A little smaller in area than Hokkaido. Religion: Buddhist 70%, Hindu 10%, Muslim 10%, and Christian 10%. Colonial history: Portugal →the Netherlands→ England
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Home Page (as of April 2017)


Though Sri Lanka has been influenced by European countries, it has kept a lot of its cultural heritage.  It has a lot of archeological sites.

It is a country of everlasting summers and is famous for resorts, but there are also a lot of cooler areas in the mountains. You can enjoy a variety of activities including a jungle safari. I would strongly recommend that you visit the country, at least once. 

20170511_sl_station1
[The nearby station in the town where the local office is located]

20170511_sl_the_field2
[It is drier than expected though it is rainier than Tokyo in some areas.]

20170511_sl_fruite3
[Tropical fruits grow in the garden in the warm areas.]



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

May 11, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

04/20/2017

The beginning of a water saving contest

JEN’s Sri Lankan team has run disaster prevention activities it has also now it has started a water saving project supported by the Ford Motor Company.

A household well allows easy access to water with the water being used in the house and for agriculture.  However, many people are using it, as if the water is a limitless resource and wasting it.

When using the water for agriculture they are using it inefficiently; watering the same spot for a long time instead of using the water over a larger area.

JEN wanted to teach people the importance of not wasting water and have asked the local people themselves to come up with water saving ideas – so our water saving contest was launched

20170420_sl_poster1
[A poster of the contest distributed to the each community]

This contest will last for 3 months, at the end JEN will select the best 25 ideas.
As the locals cannot afford to put these winning ideas into action;

JEN, with the support of the Ford Motor Company, will provide funding for the winners to implement their ideas themselves. 

20170420_sk_explaining_jen_staff2
[JEN explains about the contest to newcomers]

As well as running the contest we plan to print and distribute a booklet to the representatives of each area. 

This booklet will feature information on saving water along with details of the winning ideas.

We expect that the contest will help people to be more aware of the need to save water and the environmental issues involved.

We look forward to introducing the winning ideas!

20170420_sl_proposing_an_idea3
[A person suggesting a water saving idea]


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

April 20, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

04/06/2017

Conducted a preliminary survey

On March 22 2017, JEN’s Sri Lankan office, with the Japanese government`s support began a project to strengthen resilience against natural disasters such as drought or flood caused by climate change.

Many families in the area make a living as farmers or day laborers. If a natural disaster like drought occurs, they would not be able to get enough food. Or, their income will fall as a result of crop reduction. There is a risk that they might fall into poverty.

Therefore for the project this year, our activities will include drought planning workshops, and the establishment of quality seed stores so that farming can restart immediately after any crop damage.

The project will be for the people in the area JEN that has supported since 2013.  We are conducting a preliminary survey to investigate the level of natural disaster awareness in the area.

We visited Mr. Sinnarasa who was a participant of a project JEN conducted in  Iththavil
of Pachchilaipalli in Kilinochchi District in 2014. He is running a farm using a well dug three years ago.

20170406_sl_the_garden1
[Mr. Sinnarasa is running a farm]

Mr. Sinnarasa has been raising cowpea plants using the seeds JEN distributed three years ago, and has kept some crops for the next growing season. He showed us some cowpea plants that have been dried to gather the seeds. 

20170406_sl_pods2
[Dried cowpea plant with seeds]

20170406_sl_seads3
[Cowpea seeds taken from pods]

If you collect seeds and store them for the next growing season, you’ll save money as you won’t need to buy them. Or, you can use the stored seeds in case you lose crops in a natural disaster. It leads to better resilience.

There are a limited number of families who do the same as Mr. Sinnarasa. Many of them are still using hybrid seeds from which you cannot collect any seeds.
JEN will try to help the community to farm sustainably.

20170406_sl_baseline_research4
[Interviewing Mr. Sinnarasa as part of a preliminary survey]


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

April 6, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

03/23/2017

Exchange meeting between Agricultural Co-operatives

It is getting close to the end of the “Livelihood recovery support project” which started in March 2016 in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.

During this one year, JEN built 45 agricultural wells for 93 households, which allowed people to farm during the dry season so improving the income from their crops. This helped people to take the first step out of poverty.

As part of community strengthening, agricultural cooperatives have been established in each area. This helped members to co-operate with each other to process the crops, which increased the incomes of the community and enhanced the residents ability to help themselves.

A total of 4 agricultural co-operatives were established in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

In the past JEN provided equipment to improve the income of the agricultural cooperatives.This year, JEN provided mills to make flour and spices.

By making members think what kind of products they wanted to make, where to sell them, what sort of management system was needed, their sense of ownership has increased. However, members sometimes need help to get them started.

To provide this help JEN held a meeting on March 17th for members of the new cooperatives to obtain knowledge and skills from members of the existing cooperatives.

The purpose of this meeting was to connect the 11 agricultural cooperatives to form a network to benefit them all.

<

20170323_sl_explaining_jen_office_2
[Explaining the purpose of the workshop to the participants]

The participants looked for solutions by discussing various problems such as costs of agricultural co-operative, difficulties in securing sales channels and co-operating with each other.

20170323_sl_a_presentation_of_the_a
[The presentation by the representative of the agricultural cooperative]

By learning together and exchanging ideas we hope the different co-operatives will work together for a long time into the future.

20170323_sl_all_of_the_acociates3
[What a brilliant group of successful members of the co-operatives]


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

March 23, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

03/09/2017

A marvelous encounter

The JEN staff in Sri Lanka are based at three places, Kilinochichi, Colombo branch office and Mullaitivu warehouse. The international staff work at Kilinochchi office, but when necessary, we go to Colombo office.

In order to come and go between Kilinochchi and Colombo, we travel by train which takes a little less than 7 hours which gives us lots of chances of meeting people
This time, the man who sat next to us by chance was a Tamil named Mr. Somesun living in Australia. As a consultant of the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Somesun has been involved in water sanitation and agriculture projects in Asia Pacific for about 25 years.

On the train, he listened to our stories of JEN’s work in Sri Lanka and he told us of his experiences. It was an interesting and useful way to to spend the journey. 
We thought our local staff should learn from Mr. Somesun’s experiences too, so we asked him to come to the Kilinochchi office the next day.

Our discussions lasted for four hours, we all listened to him describe his work in other countries covering agriculture, well construction, creating seed banks and so on. We all got a lot from his visit.
Mr. Somesun got our staff to think why things happened as they did and to come up with solutions on their own. Our staff had a stream of never-ending questions. 

Unanimously they said in excitement, “We have found a superman!” or “If we had met him earlier, we would have learned much more”.   
An unexpected encounter became a useful gift to all of our team. We think that we should make the most of chances like these.
20170309_sl_lecture1
[Mr. Somesun is explaining the background to the situation in Sri Lanka to the staff]
 
20170309_sl_focused2
[The staff are listening to him with zeal]
20170309_sl_group_photo3_b
[We had our commemorative photograph taken at the end of his lecture]


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

March 9, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

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. 

20170216_sl_black_eyed_pea1
[Cultivation full of black eyed peas in farmland]

20170216_sl_mung_bean2
[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.

20170216_sl_black_eyed_pea3
[Black eyed peas which sprouted due to rain]

20170216_sl_mung_bean4
[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.

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

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?

20170119_sl_dried_reservoir1
{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.

20170119_sl_no_reached_water2
[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.

20170119_sl_dired_waterway_and_file
[Water does not reach the pipeline that connects with the waterway]

20170119_sl_compoletely_dired_groun
[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.

20161215_sl_the_area_of_thampakamam
[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.

20161215_sl_the_well2
[Construction of wells in the Thampakamam area]

20161215_sl_kids_and_prants
[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.

20161215_sl_the_programme_participa
[Participants of the project in the Thampakamam area]       

20161215_sl_the_area_getting_back_
[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.



20161201_sbrothersister
[Brother and sister puppies “Momo” and “Big brother”]



0161201_sl_goingtojapan2
[”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.



20101201_sl_welldogs4
[Living happily in the Subramanyam family with the new names “Tommy” and “Puppy”]



20161201_sl_thefosterparents3
[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.

20161117_workshop1
[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.


20161117_workshop2
[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

20161117_workshop3
[A tour of agricultural co-operative in Mulankavil. This cooperative was established 20 years ago, and now exports dry fruits]

20161117_workshop4
[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.


20161104_01jpg
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

20161104_02jpg
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.


20161104_03jpg
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.

20161020_sr_1_s
【Group picture before work】
20161020_sr_2_s
【FORD and JEN staff who are preparing the foundation by moving remained block】
20161020_sr_3_s
【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.
20161020_sr_4_s
【JEN staff who serve lunch which community people made】
20161020_sr__s
【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.

20161006_sl_01
[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.
20161006_sl_02
[1. Lay soil on the hay to make the base]

20161006_sl_03
[2. Spread water evenly across the soil to raise humidity]
20161006_sl_05
[3. Participants did not like using the water with cattle dung...]
20161006_sl_04
[4. Cover with dry leaves such as bananas]
20161006_sl_06
[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.
20161006_sl_07
[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.


20160923_sl_01
【Members of the agricultural cooperative at Othiyamalai】

20160923_sl_02
【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.
20160901_sl_01jpg
【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.
20160901_sl_02jpg
【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.
20160901_sl_03jpg
【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.
20160901_sl_04jpg
【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.
20160901_sl_05jpg
【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]
20160818_sl_01jpg


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]
20160818_sl_02jpg


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]
20160818_sl_03jpg


[Workers are digging down by themselves]
20160818_sl_04jpg


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]
20160804_sl_01jpg
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]
20160804_sl_02jpg
[People are drawing water from an excavated hole]
20160804_sl_03jpg
[Blocks for stonemason are also handmade]
20160804_sl_04_blockjpg
[Hopeful that this land is filled with vegetables a few months later]
20160804_sl_05jpg

【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]
160721_sl_01jpg
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]
160721_sl_02jpg_2
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]
160721_sl_03jpg
 
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]
160721_sl_04jpg
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]
160721_sl_05jpg
 
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]
160721_sl_06jpg
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]
160721_sl_07jpg
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.
DONATE here

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]
20160707_sl_01jpg


[Thinking which one to pick]
20160707_sl_02jpg


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]
20160707_sl_03jpg


[Party venue]
20160707_sl_04jpg



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.
DONATE here

July 7, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

06/23/2016

How to cope with the dry season in Sri Lanka

20160623_sl_01jpg

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.
DONATE here

June 23, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

06/09/2016

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

[Kugan (Kilinochchi Field Officer)]

20160609_sl_01_kuganjpg_3


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)]

20160609_sl_02_ashokjpg_5


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)]

20160609_sl_03_niroshanjpg_3


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)]
20160609_sl_04_dilsonjpg_3


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)]
20160609_sl_05_sutharsanjpg_2


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)]
20160609_sl_06_freedanjpg_2


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.
DONATE here

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] 
20160526_sl_01jpg_4


[Much water remains in Wattala, Gampaha]
20160526_sl_02jpg_4



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]
20160526_sl_03jpg_2


[Half-submerged house in Kaduwella, Colombo]
20160526_sl_04jpg_4



[This place is usually a road]
20160526_sl_05_1_2



[Temporary shelter set up by the government]
20160526_sl_06jpg_3




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

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.

20160512_sl_01jpg


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.

20160512_sl_02jpg


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

20160512_sl_03jpg


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

20160512_sl_04jpg


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.
DONATE here

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]
20160421_sl_01_jonathanjpg_4
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]
20160421_sl_02_apamajpg_5
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.
DONATE here

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]
20160317_sl_01_2
[Planting at the Greenhouse]
20160317_sl_02_2


[Dry Food Producing Units that use Solar Energy]
20160317_sl_03


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]
20160317_sl_04





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

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]
20160303_sl_01


[Well with the quantity of water for which the dry season is also enough]
20160303_sl_02_well


[The JEN staff who asks people in an area for opinions]
20160303_sl_03_staff


[The simple water supply pipeline]
20160303_sl_04_pipeline





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

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】
20160218sl_01


【With people JEN provided support】
20160218sl_02


20160218sl_03_2







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

February 18, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

02/04/2016

Handover of ownership to dry food producers' agricultural cooperative association

20160204_sl_01jpg_2


20160204_sl_02jpg_3


20160204_sl_03jpg_2


20160204_sl_04_img5671jpg_2


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.

20160204_sl_05_img5797jpg_2


20160204_sl_06_img5638jpg_2


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.

20160204_sl_07_img5793jpg_2


20160204_sl_08jpg_2


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.

20160204_sl_09jpg_2


20160204_sl_10_img5748jpg_2


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

20160204_sl_11_2


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.

20160204_sl_12_img5773jpg_2



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

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]
20160121_sl_01jpg


[JEN staff observing the activity]
20160121_sl_02_monitoringjpg_2


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]
20160121_sl_03_explanation_3


We hope that these efforts could empower and sustain the growth of the community.

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

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.

20160107_sl_01




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

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!

20151224_sl_01


20151224_sl_02


20151224_sl_03_2



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

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.
20121210_sl_03


We explained what kind of processed food we can make by the machineries.
20151210_sl_02


The members of the Agricultural Cooperative Society who gathered to welcome the Ambassador were listening to his voice outside the grinding food center.
20151210_sl_03


They observed the newly constructed well.
20151210_sl_04


Ambassadress Suganuma was surprised at how large the well was.
20151210_sl_05


Finally, Ambassador Suganuma gave us words of encouragement and we took a photo together.
20151210_sl_06

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
20151119_01_2

This is the drying machine
20151119_02_2


The steering committee placed sliced eggplant on the machine
20151119_03


Vegetable leaf is also good for dry food
20151119_04


They placed chip of wood on a bucket and it is fuel of the machine
20151119_05


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.
20151119_06


20151119_07


David, the project officer, explaining how to use the machine
20151119_08


After 30 minutes, the dry food was made it!
20151119_09





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

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.

20151105_sl_01



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

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>
20151015_sl_01


“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)


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

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)]
20151001_sl_01_gamini_2


Gaminieesa Gandhithason
Administration Officer



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

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.
20150917_sl_01_excavation


2.Set up a Base Ring Beam (base).
20150917_sl_02_new


3.Pile up blocks to 1 to 2 meters.
20150917_sl_03_blockwork


4.Plaster.
20150917_sl_04_plastring


5.Wait until the well sinks by the weight of the blocks.
20150917_sl_05_new


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.
20150917_sl_06_new


【Image drawing of Stepping Down Method】
20150917_sl_07_new

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

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

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.

20150907_sl_01


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".

20150907_sl_02

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.

20150907_sl_03

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

20150907_sl_04

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.



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

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.   
       

Image002_3


Adaikalam
Field Officer



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

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.


20150723_sl_en_map1jpg_2

(Quoted from Northern Province Council)

20150723_sl_01jpg_2

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.

20150723_sl_en_map2jpg

(Quoted from Northern Province Council)

20150723_sl_02jpg_2

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.


20150723_sl_03jpg_2

Office for GN division official is still temporary one.

20150723_sl_04jpg_2

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


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

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]
20150709_sl_01jpg_2


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

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
150625_5_2


Café nearby
150625_6


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.
150625_7_2


Woman, selling vegetables by measure with her experienced look
150625_8


Fish market. Not yet purchased fishes here
150625_9


Fruit shop, selling jackfruits
150625_10


Very beautiful station, built after civil war
150625_11


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



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

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.

150618

(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
150618_1


Route till the office.   It’s submerged when it’s heavily rained.
150618_2


Rural landscape.  Even if it’s get dark, we can see people working.
150618_3


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
150618_4


[To Be Continued]

Arisa Nishida, Program Officer



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


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]
150528_beneficiaries_2


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]
150528_compost_making_2




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

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.

150514_9


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

150514_10


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

150514_11


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

150514_12


150514_13


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.

150514_14


150514_15


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.

150514_16


Arisa Nishida, Program Officer



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

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.

150205_20120529_2



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.

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

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]
150416_ceremony_kilinochchi_2


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]
150416_dance_2


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

Administration and Finance Officer: Tomoo Nasuda



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

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.

150205_20111130





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

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]
150319_9


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
150319_10


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,
150319_11

already many women have been waiting for us.
150319_12


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
150319_13


Mother, receiving a water pump with hose pipes 12meters long, looks happy
150319_14


Carry the distributed item on the book rack on the back of the bike to the home
150319_15


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)
150319___3


The vegetables, selling at this shop
150319_18


The vegetables, made by villagers, are sold at these kinds of shops.



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

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.

150305_20121012__2


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.

150305_20120731pk_2


150305_201106181_2




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


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】
150219_8


【The Compost Making Yard that was established in 2014】
150219_9


【Welcomed by ACS members】
150219_10


【JEN Field Officer making a welcome speech】
150219_11


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】
150219_12


【Sharing what they discussed to all the participants】
150219_13


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】
150219_14


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




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

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.

150205_20069


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.


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

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


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

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]
150108_6

[A participant trying to sell vegetable seeds to JEN staff]
150108_7

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]
150108_marketing_workshop_take_pl_2


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



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

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]
141218_beneficiary_and_balck_gram_2





写真①

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

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]
141204_wire_and_hoe_2


[Vegetable seeds, long term plants and sprayer]
141204_seeds_plants_sprayer_2


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

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

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]
141127_lecture_2


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]
141127_1practice_of_making_organi_2


141127_practice_of_making_organic_2


[Practice of making organic pesticide]
141127_practice_of_making_organic_3


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

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

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiatives】

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]
141106_ice_breaking_2


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

[Group work]
141106_stakeholder_recognition_2


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

Administration and Finance Officer: Nasuda


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

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

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






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

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

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





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

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

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!




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

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

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



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

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

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))
Photo_5

(Photo: JEN staff, explaining about the well)
3jen_2

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)
4_2

(photo: beneficiary, who started new variety shop, by using the money from agriculture input)
5_2

  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)
6jen_2

(Photo: well-grown perennial tree)
7_2

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)
8_2

(Photo: other than Jack fruit, we had papaya, cassava and mango from each beneficiaries they harvested, during our visit)
9_2

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)
10_2

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

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

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

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

140717_p6260290_2
140717_p6260293_2


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

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

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.

140703_jen_3

140703_jen_4

140703_9


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


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

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]
140619_oddusuddan_from_northern_m_2

[Oddusuddan from Mullaitivu map]
140619_oddusuddan_from_mullaitivu_2

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]
140619_9

140619_10

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

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

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



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

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.

140522_project_map2014_2

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

 

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

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]
140501_collecting_the_material_4

[operating multichopper to make the compost]
140501_operating_multichopper_to__2

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

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..

140424_inteviewee_2

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

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]
140409_tractor_2

[Chopper]
140409_chopper_2

[Hut]
140409_hut_2

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]
140409_compost_yard_3

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]
140409_ceremony_2

[Ceremony by children]
140409_ceremony_by_children_2

[Demonstration]
140409_demo_2

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

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

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.

140327_wisdom_to_the_well_2

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.

140327_imitation_2

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

Administration & Finance Officer Tomoo Nasuda




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

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]
140313_northern_beneficiary_2

[home garden]
140313_home_garden_2

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

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




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

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.

140213_beneficiary4th_interview_2


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

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.

140130_footprint_3

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.

140130_lookout_3

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.

140130_shlter_2

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



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

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.   

140123_beneficiary_2


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

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.]
131226_2




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

December 26, 2013 in Sri Lanka |

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.   

131128_beneficiary_komparakkarach_2


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

November 28, 2013 in Sri Lanka |