INTERVIEW WITH A PEACE YARD FACILITATOR

[Ghamra RIFAI, Iraq Project (July 12, 2018)] On July 12th, 2018 I had a video call interview with Miss Shelan Serwan, a facilitator of the Peace Yard of our Iraq project. We chatted about her life, her dreams, and her work with the children. At 40 °C degrees temperature, despite the power outages and the scorching heat Shelan started the video call with a big smile. When I asked her about herself, she said, “I’m from Baghdad, Kurdish, but my Kurdish is not that good, I speak better Arabic than Kurdish. I was born in 1994 and raised in Baghdad until 2007 when the sectarian confrontation between Sunni and Shia…

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JVC’s Approach to the ProSAVANA Project

[Original (June 5, 2018); Translated by M. Kanai/J. Hills] Since 2013, JVC has been committed to activities of advocacy against the ProSAVANA project, one of many Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects led by the Japanese government. What is ProSAVANA? Officially called the “Program of Triangular Cooperation for the Agricultural Development of the Tropical Savannah in Mozambique”, ProSAVANA is an ODA project co-managed by Japan, Brazil, and Mozambique. This largescale agricultural development project covers an area of approximately 14 million hectares (more than three times the cultivated land area in Japan) in the northern provinces of Mozambique. The ProSAVANA project was born out of the success of projects undertaken by Japan…

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THE DIARY FROM SOUTH SUDAN (2)

– Hearing in the Mangaten domestic refugee camp – [Original by Takaki IMAI Manager for Humanitarian Assistance and Peace-Building Group (December 6, 2017); Translated by K. Adachi] I went to Juba in South Sudan on November 23, 2017, listened to the internally displaced people in refugee camps, and gave medical and educational aid. I will report the local situations and our activities in this series, “The Diary from South Sudan.” In this post, I report the activities on the 3rd and the 5th day of the stay (the 4th day is skipped because it was a Sunday). The 3rd day: 25th of November (Saturday) At the Mangaten domestic refugee Camp…

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THE DIARY FROM SOUTH SUDAN (1)

– People are still waiting for international aid – [Original by Takaki IMAI, Manager for Humanitarian Assistance and Peace-Building Group (December 5, 2017); Translated by K. Adachi] I went to Juba in South Sudan on November 23, 2017, listened to the internally displaced people in refugee camps, and gave medical and educational aid. I will report the local situations and our activities in this series, “The Diary from South Sudan.” The 1st day: 23rd of November (Thursday) Arrival in Juba When I got off the plane, local young guys who are not even airport staffs cut into around immigration counter for entry procedures and I was violently jostled. They appear…

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MOSUL CELEBRATES THE SPRING FESTIVAL AFTER 16 YEARS OF SUSPENSION

[Ghamra RIFAI, Iraq Project (July 10, 2018)] On April 10, 1969 the first Mosul Festival was inaugurated and lasted for nine days. Many floats passed through the city in a huge parade presenting various periods of the Iraqi history such as Babylon and Islamic Golden Age, in addition to floats that represented the Pan-Arab mentality of the ruling Baath party. These floats included a model of Al-Aqsa mosque and the church of the holy sepulcher in Jerusalem. The festival was not limited to the parade but it included art performances, poetry reading and exhibitions such as the Mosul flower exhibition, and it was considered a great tourist attraction. After that,…

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A miraculous meeting for peace held in an Afghan village

– A ceasefire was realized between the Afghan government and the Taliban. In order to cut the chain of still-continuing violence. – [Original (June 18, 2018); Translated by K. Takemura] Good & bad news The situation of Afghanistan is dramatically changing these days. To our surprise, a ceasefire for three days was realized between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban for the first time. And a miraculous meeting for peace was held in a village, where one of the JVC staff comes from. At the same time, suicide attacks occurred to target such moves. We got the surprising news on the Friday night of June 16, 2018. It says,…

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A MIRACLE IN ROPPONGI – MEETING A YOUNG AFGHAN MAN AGAIN AFTER TWO YEARS

[Original by Ryo ONOYAMA, Afghanistan Project (June 5, 2018); Translated by N. Mizutani] It was a miracle. In Roppongi, right in the middle of Tokyo, I met again a youth I had met in Afghanistan two years ago. Chances for Afghan people to visit Japan are very limited, so it is amazing that he was exactly from the area JVC has been working in! His name is Ihsanullah. He was visiting Japan with some other Afghan people, to participate in a training program on disaster prevention held by a Japanese NGO. Participants were appointed by the Afghan government, NGOs and the local community. Ihsanullah came as a representative of his…

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NGOs in Japan and the Constitution

This panel and discussion event seeks to provide a casual space for English speakers to learn about and share thoughts on the Constitution of Japan, in particular Article 9 and the ruling party’s current efforts to revise it. The event will be held in English, and it seeks to provide an opportunity to find out more about one of the biggest political topics in Japan in recent history and its global stakes. The panel will feature NGO speakers sharing their experiences with the international roles of NGOs and community engagement in Japan, in relation to the Constitution. Then, the floor will be opened for attendees to discuss in a casual…

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We request for extension of ceasefire, cessation of violence and progress on peace process in Afghanistan

22 June 2018 Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) Karez Health and Educational Services (KHES) Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA) We are Japanese NGO engaged in the support of Afghanistan together with the people of Afghanistan. Welcoming the first ceasefire between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, and as people were able to feel the hope for peace that the ceasefire brought about, we will continue seeking peace in Afghanistan and we request for the following: About extension of ceasefire We welcome the ceasefire which was realized for the first time between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban.…

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A conference for annual plans and the “Marshmallow Challenge” are now completed!

[Original by Mariko OMURA, Cambodia Project (March 6, 2018); Translated by Y. Hirono] Each JVC local office had been reflecting on their 2017 activities and operations, and having conferences for annual plans for 2018 during this spring (the blog about the conference for annual plans in South Africa can also be read here.) In Cambodia, all the staff members also gathered together and held the conference during the period of 12-16 February and 26-28 February. We rented accommodation for the second round of the conference and lodged together for two nights. JVC in Cambodia has conducted food-processing trainings for farmers and afforestation at some schools. We discussed how these operations…

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