NICE (Never-ending International workCamps Exchange)
IGUCHI Yasunori, LMTV Incoming Coordinator
Mashiko town, Tochigi prefecture, Japan
Remark for Period
02/01-04/15, 04/20-07/10, 09/14-12/04 are the basic period. Longer term can be consulted. Open to 1-2 months participation if the places are not full at 2 months before the starting date.
Local/ social situation/ needs for the project
Needless to say, the forest is very important for the environment in the world. About 67% of Japanese lands are covered by the forests. But their quality are getting worse and even about to collapse. Because the villages have been facing with depopulation and foresters have been decreasing rapidly. We import a lot of timbers from abroad, but on the other hand, we do not use our forests because of the difference of prices. These elements have been making big problems for Japanese and global forests and their eco-systems. On the other hand, many people recognized the problems and started voluntary activities in the forests that movement has been bigger than ever. But most of them are still in the level of working experiences for them in the forests, so we need more practical impact to really improve the situation of the forests! We expect the following changes;
Name and description of the local host
Tochigi Conservation Corp (TCC). Conservation Corps provides long term workcamp programs in USA where 10-20 youth work for local development and environment. About 25,000 vols. join every year. To create similar programs in Japan, TCC was created in 2009 by the leader who was a LMTV coordinator of NICE. Because there are few children who are able to play and grown up in nature, TCC creates a children’s forest in which local community residents can play. TCC has the following missions;
- Restore and Conserve valuable nature for next generation.
- Empower and train youth as future community leader.
- Develop Community and friendship in communities
“To develop youth empowerment through the nature conservation”.
Aims and expected impact of the project
- Ruin of forests/ Restore the forest!
- Shortage of foresters/ Create new power and change the image of forestry!
- Advanced age of foresters/ Make more forest work more popular to young people!
- Depopulation of rural villages/ Take out of charms of rural life and gather youth!
- Decrease of the public function of forests/ Take care of forests well to raise the values
- Stagnation of rural villages/ Promote International and different generations’ exchange!
- Shortage of voluntary power/ Longer term volunteers with gaining skills & knowledge!
Main voluntary work
- Maintain/ upgrade the bamboo forests (cutting and utilizing bamboo trees) to protect biodiversity and natural environment as well as utilizing natural resources in a good way.
- Maintain/ upgrade the children’s forest and organize the events for the children to play in the forests to improve the nature and to create opportunities where they can enjoy the nature.
- Revive the forest in disaster area of Iwaki city that got huge damaged by Tsunami, etc.
- Approximate working hours: 7 hours x 5 days (weekdays) in a week (can be changeable)
Type of building: Volunteers House where TCC office is also located
- Sleeping: Single room
- Meals: Cooked by vols.
- Smoking: Only outside building
- Internet access: There is wifi in the accommodation.
Mashiko town is located in the east part of Tochigi prefecture and famous for pottery even internationally, so the atmosphere is artistic with some cultural heritages. The population is about 25,000. Waterfowl flying down mountains and hills, the slightly elevated spring in fields spread over gently and grace of the four seasons decorate the village pond covered with thin ice, strawberries, persimmons, grapes, apples and winter. People coming for the first time can also feel some nostalgia. Mashiko pottery has a character of smooth skin and shiny, thick vessel. When wrapped in palm, warmth is gradually handed down. It has been remarked since the Taisho era as a center of folk art movement and locality-rich enterprising is also a big attraction. You can discover the new face of Mashiko every time you carry your feet and know the depth.
- Nearest international airport: Haneda airport
- Transportation from the capital or other major city: From Utsunomiya, the capital city of
- Tochigi prefecture, it takes 40 min. by car and 2 hours by train. From Tokyo, it takes 3-4 hours by train.
- Study part：About Environment, nature, a NPO, leadership, field trip, etc.
- Free time activity: You can visit Nikko, the World Cultural Heritage place, for example.
Qualification for volunteers
Required: Speaking some Japanese and good English. Interested in environmental issues and their activity. Motivation to work hard, open mind, cooperation with others.
Preferable: Speaking good Japanese.
Attraction for volunteers
You can get to know how to manage a NPO, how to cope with disaster rehabilitation, etc.
- Participation fee to the host NGO: None!
- There may be some pocket money to support additional cost by the group (e.g., transportation and meals outside on free days) in some cases.
- On arrival training: In the project site for 2days
- Special care during Project: Staff visit, planning to do have local buddy.
- Evaluation meeting: In the project site for 2days
- JAVS (Japan ASEAN Voluntary Service) will be also held in 02/01-04/15 where AVS and JAVS volunteers will work and live together.
- AVS Special Forum will be held in this place in 01/27-01/30 where the organizers of hosting/ sending NGOs and a few ex. AVS vols. will share practice and future plans/ cooperation.