High economic growth continues in Cambodia. Meanwhile the economic gap is widening between the people’s lives in urban and rural areas, where 90% of the poor live in the latter. Cambodia is the country where the reduction rate of forest is most accelerated in the world between 2001 and 2014. Large-scale development of farmland is under way, which produces many land problems throughout the country. Farmers suffer from land grabbing by companies or lose their land because of debts. They go to cities and get unstable jobs with low salaries. In order to resolve such poverty, it is necessary to establish stable life in rural areas.
Activities in Cambodia
Activities in Laos
Comprehensive Food Security through Community Based Forest Management and Improvement of Agricultural production / Rural Development Program background Forests in Laos are the sources of food such as mushrooms, wild vegetables and small animals, herbal medicine and of income also for villagers. They are also used as agricultural land where swidden and wet-paddy cultivation are done. However, on the other hand Laos has been facing rapid economic growth, land expropriation and forest destruction caused by development like plantation and mineral resources exploitation endanger food security of villagers. In order that they are not at the mercy of global economy, it is required to establish a system which enables them to…
Activities in Northeastern Thailand
The modernization of agriculture that has accompanied economic development has caused a decline in subsistence farming and increased debt issues for farmers. JVC has worked with Thai farmers and NGOs to create a market for organic produce based on regional-circulation. The number of Thai farmers practicing organic farming has slightly increased with regards to the whole Thai agricultural production as a result of the NGO’s activities. In addition, the type of production, quality, and quantity of production is steadily stabilizing. Currently, the activities of Thai organic production have shifted from providing technical guidance from producers to a stage of system construction involving the consumer.
Activities in Southern Thailand
Medical Assistance for Burmese Workers in Phang Nga Province, Southern Thailand 2016 Activity Report Program background It is said that democratization and transition to civilian rule have progressed in Burma (Myanmar), considering that the general election was held in November, 2015. However, there are still a few domestic problems such as the battle between the national armed forces and the armed insurgents which had withdrawn from signing the “nationwide ceasefire agreement”. The other problems are the seizure of lands on the back of overheating investments, the environmental issues due to development of mines, and the minority race issue. There are many Burmese immigrant workers in Thailand, with around 130,000 to…
Activities in South Africa
More than 20 years have passed since the end of apartheid in 1994. Yet the unemployment rate among the black population is still high at 60% and inequality is widening. Additionally, 12% of the South Africans are infected with HIV and more than 500 lives are lost daily owing to AIDS. With the introduction of free ARVs in public health facilities in 2004, People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) live longer and healthier lives. The perception of HIV as a disease leading to immediate death has changed, affecting the way we tackle HIV.
JVC continued the Project on Participatory HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care, and Support for PLWHA, in partnership with local NGOs, Light of Mercy Community Care (LMCC) and Tshirunzanani HBC. Following the evaluation results at the end of the 3-year project period (2012-15), JVC decided to extend the project until July, 2017, in order to ensure the sustainability of project’s impact and to deal with problems and potentialities which had appeared after the project’s results.
Activities in Afghanistan
The security situation in the country is deteriorating. While the foreign military forces are withdrawing most of their troops from the country, the Taliban is expanding its power. Self-claimed “Islamic State” (IS) is also occupying some areas in the province where JVC is implementing its projects. The number of civilian casualties was the worst in 2016. Against this background, foreign forces, those of the United States in particular, are again increasing the number of their troops. While the international assistance is decreasing, the country is ranked at the worst level in terms of Human Development Index measured in three areas: health, education and income. Concerns have also been expressed with the declining economic growth and the high unemployment rate.
Activities in Palestine
Protecting Children’s Health Under Gaza’s Blockade Program background The blockade of the Gaza Strip continues to restrict the free movement of people and goods. Industries are devastated and resources are lacking as a result. Gazans are facing severe poverty, with children suffering from malnutrition in particular. The illegal Separation Wall and Israeli settlements divide the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, disrupting people’s access to health, education, and work. Tensions among Jerusalem residents have been running high in 2016, due to a few Palestinians engaging in violent attacks on Israelis, as well as the Israeli military implementing random checks and engaging in deadly violence towards Palestinians. 1. Protecting Children’s Health Under…
Activities in Iraq
Supporting a program for cohabitation focused on children (Kirkuk) Program background Since June 2014, many people have escaped to Kirkuk province due to the conflict with the radical group “Islamic State (IS)”. The prices of commodities, such as rent and transportation expenses, increased due to the influx of IDPs. On the other hand, wages for manual labor declined. For some in the host community, the itnflux of refugees has led to feelings of animosity, with tensions flaring up between IDPs and members of the Kirkuk city. The northern major city Mosul was recaptured from the IS, but even without the presence of IS in Iraq, there continues to be concern…
Activities in Sudan
The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 ended over 20 years of civil war in Sudan. South Sudan gained independence in 2011, dividing the country in two. However, this separation has not solved the challenges that existed before, and the security situation in parts of both countries has continued to be unstable. A largescale conflict between the Sudanese government and an anti-government group, SPLM/A-N, erupted in June 2011 in South Kordofan. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have fled from the rural areas that have become battlefields. Temporary ceasefires declared by both the government and the anti-government forces have been continuing for more than a year, but the peace agreement has not been reached and evacuation life of IDPs has been prolonged.
Activities in Korea
The relationship between Japan and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) became deadlocked because of North Korea’s decision at the Party’s Assembly to pursue a “policy of parallel development” composed of nuclear development and economic growth. While the decision caused us to take precautions against its nuclear test and missile launch, the neighboring countries have not laid out an outline of comprehensive solutions. We, Japanese NGOs, have been continuing to do activities in order to connect citizens of both countries and contribute to stability and peace in the region of Northeast Asia where we are living.
Kesennuma, Miyagi-pref. (Great East Japan Earthquake)
In Kesennuma city of Miyagi prefecture, more than 1,000 lives were lost and approximately 9,500 houses were destroyed by the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in March 2011. Over 6 years have passed since the disaster, but 2,500 people are still forced to live uncomfortably in temporary houses. In August 2011, JVC opened a local office in Kesennuma city and has continued support activities to help the residents (some 280 households) confronted with numerous problems in rebuilding their lives.
Minamisoma, Fukushima-Pref. (Great East Japan Earthquake)
Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture was seriously affected by the earthquake,tsunami,and radioactive contamination disastars. In July 2016, designation of Odaka district as an evacuation zone was removed. Evacuees numbered 7,000 at a peak time, but have started to move away from temporary houses to new residences one after another. In addition, the demolition of temporary houses is increasing. As shown by the aftermath of the Great Hanshin Earthquake (1995), cases of so-called ‘solitary death (dying alone unnoticed)’ have started to occur in the city’s public housing where a feeling of isolation and loneliness tends to grow more and more serious among inhabitants.
Research and Advocacy
The economic aid and security policies of Japan and the other developed countries greatly affect the state of affairs that causes the widening of gap between the rich and poor, as well as affects the conflicts and environmental destruction in developing countries. JVC, in cooperation with other NGOs and local citizens, appeals to the Japanese government and companies conducting economic activities in developing countries to take into consideration social and environmental impacts. We also make proposals to international bodies and governments based on our experiences with the goal of building a peaceful society in which problems are solved through dialogue rather than through the reinforcement of military force. We continuously transmit information about shared problems with many Japanese citizens.
Activities in Japan
Raising Awareness and Expanding Public Support Events, Lectures, Development Education JVC plays an important role in informing the Japanese public of the conditions in the areas we are active, and offers opportunities to think about the world. JVC participated in events such as “Global Festa” for this reason. JVC also held conferences to report its activities, exclusively for the registered supporters, three times in Tokyo and once in Osaka, in order to promote mutual understanding with them. As to its activities in South Sudan, which were specifically noticed, JVC appealed to many people for understanding of current situation by responding to about fifty requests of the media for information and…