Jordan [Syrian refugees]

Global Hand Washing Day in Za’atari Refugee Camp


Global Hand Washing Day is celebrated on October 15th each year to raise awareness that washing one’s hands with soap is a key means of preventing hygiene related diseases – everything from diarrhea to colds and flus.  The first Global Hand Washing Day was held in 2008.

[The Global Hand Washing Day Characters]
141030 ①キャラクター
Cleanliness is an important part of religious life in Muslim countries such as Jordan and Syria.  However, making sure that kids in Za’atari Camp know the appropriate practices to wash their hands with soap so they can keep themselves healthy is a big part of what JEN team does on a daily basis. This year in Za’atari Camp, North Jordan, JEN celebrated Global Hand Washing Day with the youth.  JEN’s team has centered the messages around the most important times to wash hands with soap:  before eating, after using the toilet, after playing and touching dirty things.

The day was real fun! Kids seem to learn better by being engaged and active than by sitting still listening to lectures.  In two locations kids were invited from the neighborhood to join JEN’s team in playing games about hygiene and hand washing.

The kids seemed to really like when their hands were ink-stamped with colorful pictures of germs.  The next part of the activity was to blindfold three kids at a time and have them use soap and water to wash the germs off their hands.  The one who got the most ink off their hands or who demonstrated the best hand washing technique was declared the winner!

[Girls wash their hands while small boys watch]
141030 ②手を洗う女の子たち
The kids also enjoyed coloring and having help making pinwheels remind them of the times to wash their hands!

[Kids are reminded about the times to wash their hands with soap.]
141030 ③風車づくり
Other highlights of the day included walking tours by staff members dressed as the Global Hand Washing Characters in JEN’s camp districts.  This live show has demonstrated to be a very effective approach to visually disseminate hygiene messages while playing with the kids. The disguised staff members have also showed freedom from social conventions or traditional ideas for being unrecognized animators while spreading the hygiene messages in the camp districts.

[ Children show of their clean hands with the Global Hand Washing Day Characters]
141030 ④子どもたちとキャラクター
JEN’s other event, and perhaps the most popular, was to host football games:  “Soap” versus “Germs” with the kids.  Kids were given blue “Soap” ribbons and brown “Germs” ribbons to identify the two teams.  JEN staff refereed the games. Unfortunately the “Germs” won two out of three games!  However, JEN staff was very quick in overcoming the situation by presenting the lesson that “If you use soap to wash your hands, next time the germs won’t win!”

[ The "Germs" team gets the ball]
141030 ⑤Germsチーム
[Girls race to get the ball first]
141030 ⑥女の子たちの競争
The football matches were fun for spectators and adults as well.  Lots of kids cheered for their team.  Several community members stopped by to clap and cheer too!

[ Girls cheer for the "Soap" team]
141030 ⑦ Soapチーム
And, at the end of the afternoon when all the community activities were finished the JEN staff lined up to take penalty kicks with some of the adults form the community!


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

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

Hygiene sessions for Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs)


After summer holiday at the onset of the academic year, JEN’s hygiene promotion team and trained teachers have conducted dedicated sessions for students’ parents.

Educating PTAs is important because of providing appropriate hygiene environment at home where it directly affects the students’ health and well-being.

[PTA training session]
141016 ①PTAに対する衛生授業
Principals and teachers called and/ sent invitation mails to parents. Also, JEN’s hygiene promoters distributed invitations to students so that many parents and neighbours would be able to participate in every session. Unexpectedly, the attendance rate was high which emphasized the importance of involving parents in projects related to schools.

Not only mothers who most pay attention for students but also fathers and neighbours who participated in cleaning mosques in the neighbourhood have also joined the PTA sessions.

[JEN’s hygiene promoter clarifications to PTA]
141016 ②PTAに説明するJEN衛生プロモーター
JEN’s hygiene promoters and PTAs focused on the issue of breakfast. JEN hygiene promoters strongly emphasized that children should eat healthy breakfast. This is because some children come to schools without eating breakfast and then they would be compelled to eat unhealthy food bought from unlicensed vendors.

JEN hygiene promotion team and trained teachers will continuously conduct hygiene session and discuss with PTAs or relatives to protect children’s health.

[Students delighted with clean school yard]
141016 ③笑顔の子どもたち

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

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

First Visit to Azraq Refugee Camp


As September comes to an end, weather is cooling down in mornings and evenings and Jordan is starting to see a hint of autumn.  While this is a welcome change for us, the transition to winter is a difficult time for many refugees, especially for those who recently arrived to Jordan without adequate preparation for the cold weather.

In order to assist the refugees in overcoming the winter months, many agencies provide relief items deigned to keep people warm, such as blankets, heaters, and clothes, as part of UNHCR’s coordinated winterization program.  As part of this program, JEN has donated winter clothes received from various entities, with main contribution from UNIQLO, a Japanese retailing company, to residents in the Za’atari refugee camp during winter of 2012 and 2013.  In total, JEN has distributed a clothing packet, which includes a jacket, a top and a pair of trousers to over 150,000 individuals.  JEN’s clothes distribution program is very well received by the refugees as they provide warmth in their harsh conditions living in tents and caravans.

As JEN considers organizing a clothes distribution project in Azraq Camp, JEN staff members made their first visit to the camp in September 2014.

Here is a look at Azraq Camp:

[Rows of transitional shelters in Azraq Refugee Camp.]
141002 ①キャンプ
Azraq Camp was opened on 30 April 2014 to accommodate additional Syrian refugees entering Jordan as Za’atari Camp had reached its capacity.  According to UNHCR official data, Azraq camp spans across 15 square kilometers, hosts over 14,400 refugees, and it has the capacity to accommodate up to 130,000 refugees.  Azraq camp is located approximately 90 km from Amman, in the middle of the desert, making the living conditions in the camp difficult during harsh weather conditions.  During the time of JEN’s visit, there was strong wind blowing constantly and the sun beating down on an area that has very minimal shading.

Azraq was designed based on the various lessons learned from Za’atari refugee camp.  One of the significant differences between the two camps is that Azraq Camp has ready-made transitional shelters where refugees can settle instead of living initially in UNHCR-provided tents.  The shelters are organized in clusters of several families living in a block, sharing toilets and water points. This design allows the refugees to have a sense of ownership over their facilities and avoid the problem of refugees not taking care of the communal facilities.

[Transitional shelters in Azraq Camp]
141002 ②仮設住宅
[WASH facilities allocated for families for one block.]
141002 ③トイレ
Azraq also utilizes several creative ways to maintain the camp.  Learning from the widespread informal connections refugees make on the electricity line in Za’atari Camp, Azraq Camp does not currently have general electricity service, but uses solar light system for street lighting.

[Solar lamps line the streets for safety and security]
141002 ④ランプ
Based on the dire needs of the refugees to prepare for winter, JEN is in the final stages of discussion to begin the clothes distribution targeting the current residents as well as refugees newly arriving to Azraq camp in partnership with UNHCR.  JEN Jordan hopes that the support from the people of Japan will contribute to improving the refugees’ lives in Azraq Camp!

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

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

Transitions in Za’atari camp


I’ve only worked with JEN for a few weeks but I’ve been working in Za’atari camp for the past 10 months.  It’s a very interesting time to be here.   There is the sense of a very rapid shift as the camp transitions from an emergency place of shelter to a place where Syrian refugees are restarting their lives.  You can see changes on almost a daily basis as refugees make the shelters more and more substantial and comfortable.  Despite all the progress there are still a lot of challenges and discomforts to overcome here.

I’m enjoying learning the JEN way of working to help address challenges- by building capacity and systems in the camp population so that refugees can identify and resolve their own issues in this shifting environment. There is a lot of collaboration on JEN teams at all levels and I’m really enjoying that too, because it makes us all feel connected to the work we do.

On example of how we build capacity is by engaging community members in the spread of information. We’ve switched from delivering hygiene promotion sessions ourselves to training hygiene promoters from the community to deliver messages to their neighbors.

Amaal, one of our skilled team leaders in Zaatari Camp, who has an academic background in health, identified 39 Syrian refugees in the community who are willing to deliver hygiene messages to the community on a voluntary basis.   For their first mission, we asked the community hygiene promoters to spread information about food safety in their community.
I got to watch Amaal train a few of the community hygiene promoters on the food safety message. It was a lot of fun!  Amaal is normally quiet and shy but she was quite animated and her eyes were sparkling when she delivered the training session.   Lively discussions started periodically during the training sessions as the Community Hygiene Promoters encountered information they were unfamiliar with or when they had a related story to share.

In closing the sessions I was curious why these women volunteered to help deliver messages in their communities.  So, after I expressed my gratitude for their willingness to work with us, I asked.  One fiery lady said she likes to work with people and help them.  Another who had been a nurse knows the messages can be important for her neighbors and she wants to use her background to help everyone stay healthy.

In the past few weeks I’ve also gotten to see how JEN is improving infrastructure in the camp.  For example by replacing sewage pipe that were frequently blocked because they weren’t at the proper slope from the public toilets to the septic tank.  This was a fairly major undertaking as it involved digging out the pipe and adjusting its placement below ground.   The community members who live nearby were around to watch the work and understand the changes.  All agreed it was a necessary improvement.

[Replacing the sewage pipe between public WASH facilities.]
140918 ①fixing sewage line in D5
140918 ②inspecting work
Another exciting thing I’ve been able to do was conduct a brainstorming session with the JEN staff in the camp.  We want our future programming to focus on the more vulnerable refugees who don’t normally get to participate in our activities one reason or another. During the session we talked about reasons people can’t always participate in camp programs. Then we started to develop the criteria we would use to identify these people so we can actively try to engage them in the future.  In addition to getting a lot done we all had fun!

[Introduction to brainstorming session on vulnerability in Za’atari Camp.]
140918 ③Brainstorming
Anne Rapin, Program officer

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

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

Monthly cleaning day


On 27th August 2014, JEN had organized a cleaning campaign with the community in Zaatari camp.

[JEN staffs kicked off the campaign]
140904 ①ゴミ拾い
The main objective of the campaign is to let the refugees recognize and be motivated to keep their environment clean by themselves. During the campaign, JEN’s staff asked the community to participate in the campaign. Some refugees think that the camp is not their home place to be, and sometimes this thought makes them do not pay attention to  their community environment. However,  this activity would be an awareness to the disadvantages of littering  in the streets and prophylaxis to disease caused by hygiene bad practices.

[Participants from community and wheeler]
140904 ②作業
Including children before going to schools and many refugees from community joining the campaign in spare time away from  work, the total participants were around 20 refugees.
One of the participants, Abu Ali said “This campaign is a good opportunity to work with agencies and community together. I hope this activity will keep continuing.” Another participant, Tarik, also commented “I like this campaign with JEN because community can work together. It would not only improve the environment but also prevent disease caused by hygiene problem.”

[Teaching the importance of using gloves to children]
140904 ③JENスタッフ
To improve the environment, the awareness and continuous practice are the key. One day campaign might not bring big impact, but JEN will continue to address this issue by taking various kinds of approaches.

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

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