Recent Blogs Posts
- Changes brought about by the reservoirs – Rapidly changing landscape April 2, 2021
- COVID-19’s Impact on Our Activities in South Africa March 26, 2021
- Intern Interview 2020: Miyabi MATSUDA March 19, 2021
- Completion of Country Programs in Cambodia, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Iraq March 12, 2021
- Staff Interview: Yoshie NIMODA (Public Relations) February 27, 2021
Activities in Afghanistan
Fierce fighting has been continuing among governmental forces, foreign militaries, the Taliban, and the extremist organization “IS”, involving citizens with more than 10,000 confirmed casualties in 2019. Even banks and hospitals became targets by suicide bombing attacks, and elections were frequently disrupted in September, threatening citizens’ livelihood. The humanitarian crisis continues, among reduced international aids and interest, as well as food shortages due to the effects of drought that caused a rise in the number of refugees.
JVC started support activities in Afghanistan through emergency assistance, soon after the 9/11 Al-Qaeda attacks. JVC continues to stand by local people through cooperation with YVO, an Afghan NGO that has been localized from the former JVC local office, through providing literacy education and peace activities.
Activities in Cambodia
With its rapid economic growth, Cambodia sees a continuously widening gap between people’s lives in urban and rural areas. From the villages of Siem Reap Province where we operate, many people go away to work in urban areas or neighboring countries. On the other hand, due to, for example, having no wage worker in the family, those who have no other option but to stay in the village are financially struggling. Furthermore, some villagers find it difficult to obtain water for agriculture throughout the year because of the water shortage during the dry season. We have been working in the current operation sites since 2007 and supporting villagers to make their rural life stable through their own hands.
Activities in Iraq
Kirkuk, the area of our activities, is located in northern Iraq and has a complicated ethnic composition due to its historical background. The so-called “Islamic State” emerged around 2013 and killed tens of thousands of people in Iraq. About six million people, approximately 15% of the total population have become refugees or displaced persons, and 1.41 million people still cannot come back home as of January 2020. Even now, sporadic battles continue, and many people, particularly children, are experiencing significant trauma. Statistics show rapid increase of suicide among the young generation. We have been supporting the local community in Kirkuk with a local partner organization INSAN since 2009.
Activities in Japan
It is important that JVC takes actions together with people in Japan in order to change the roots of problems in various places in the world. We therefore consider it as our important function to convey information about the situations in various places in the world and local people’s voices that are hardly heard and to ignite people’s interest and empathy with international cooperation. We are aiming at expanding a network of international cooperation by dispatching information face to face on special occasions such as events, lectures, and receiving visitors from schools. We also approach more people through the media to encourage them to take actions in their individual ways. Additionally, we consider it important to work together through a network of citizen’s organizations in order to solve global issues.
Activities in Korea
Since the emergency aid for the damage caused by heavy rain and flood in 1995 in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), JVC has organized a network called “Relief Campaign Committee for Children, Japan (RCCJ)” in collaboration with other NGOs to support children in the DPRK. Through this, we realized obstacles caused by the lack of mutual understanding between Japan and the DPRK. We then started a mutual understanding program, Children’s Art Exhibitions, in 2001 with other organizations, in which children can exchange paintings with each other. Since 2012, we have also conducted the “Japan-DPRK University Student Exchange”. This has been implemented between university students in Pyongyang and Japan.
Activities in Laos
Many people in Laos make a living by farming and gathering foods (mushroom, bamboo shoot, fish, etc.) and woods from surrounding forests and rivers to make fuelwood, medicine and so on. On the other hand, resource-dependent large-scale development projects such as the construction of hydroelectric power dams and mining have proceeded under policies with high priority on economic growth. Land expropriation in a forcible manner damages the environment and affects the lives of local people. One of JVC’s goals is to support the stable life of local people in a society facing significant changes. We do this by supporting people in rural areas so that they can manage and use natural resources themselves in a sustainable manner and improving agricultural techniques.
Activities in Palestine
Since the establishment of Israel in 1949, the Palestinians have been living under suppressed human rights. Peace is not progressing even after the closure of the Oslo Accords in 1993, and people are still living in pain. Especially in East Jerusalem, where Israel takes effective control, public services and employment opportunities are limited, and people are living with discrimination and violence. The Gaza Strip has been closed for 13 years, and the economy is deteriorating every year. Unemployment and poverty rates are rising, with negative effects on the children’s growth. Under these circumstances, JVC has continued projects to support the people’s lives since 1992.
Activities in South Africa
South Africa is a society with the widest disparity in the world. The unemployment rate exceeds 50% for the younger generation under 35. Additionally, the country is home to the largest HIV positive population in the world and one in five adults is infected. In difficult social situations, about 70% of the children under14 live in poverty and continuously become orphans as their parents die from AIDS. Above all, children in poor families in rural areas are faced with big challenges including limited access to food and lack of caregivers since adult family members leave home for work. These social situations created a vicious cycle over a span of generations. JVC supports children with difficult family backgrounds.
Activities in Sudan / South Sudan
In Sudan, the long-lived dictatorial regime finally collapsed in April 2019. The new government formed to run the country during a 39-month transition to civilian rule, resumed peace talks with rebel groups. JVC has been supporting people of South Kordofan State where the conflict erupted in 2011 and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. Some of them crossed the border into South Sudan to be protected in refugee camps, while some others moved to the safer places inside Sudan. The resumption of peace talks has eased restrictions on people’s movement between the government and the rebel-held areas. Aiming to support post-conflict reconstruction of communities, we are working on reconstruction of basic infrastructure, confidence-building among the people, and supporting to improve the children’s access to education.
Activities in Thailand
The number of farmers who practice organic agriculture in Thailand has increased over the years and their production now became stable in terms of kinds, quality, and quantity. However, sales and revenue still differ among regions and groups. To further improve the organic farming situation, creative ideas are needed. Cooperating with NGOs in Thailand for more than thirty years, JVC have various projects that aim at spreading eco-friendly and sustainable agriculture, making Thai farmers independent as well connecting producers and consumers to distribute safe food.
JVC provides emergency support in areas affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. In fiscal year 2019, we supported the residents in Mozambique who suffered from a cyclone and those in Laos who suffered from heavy rain, to restore their lives.
Research and Advocacy
In 2019, we continued activities on “Advocacy and networking of people who are struggling against land expropriation caused by free trade”, “Advocacy about conflicts and peacebuilding”, and others. Japan, Brazil, and Mozambique made a contract about the agricultural development in northern Mozambique in 2009 under the Official Development Assistance (ODA). This project is called ProSAVANA (Program of Triangle Cooperation for Agricultural Development of the Tropical Savannah in Mozambique), to which local farmers and civil societies have been raising an objection since 2012. We also have been objecting to this project together with them. We have organized a workshop to discuss national security policy specifically about the dispatching of the Japanese