NICE (Never-ending International workCamps Exchange)
IGUCHI Yasunori, LMTV Incoming Coordinator
Kurogi town, Yame city, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan
Remark for Period
3 months participation from 05/01 and 09/01 is possible. Open to 2 months participation if the places are not full at 2 months before the starting date.
Local/ social situation/ needs for the project
As well as many other villages in Japan, the area has a serious depopulation problem where traditional life, cultures and communities are disappeared and abandon forests and fields are increased that damages nature and industry (biodiversity, capacity to keep water, CO2 emission, etc.). Thus, the hardest rain ever attacked in 2012 that seriously damaged the area with erosion and blocking some parts of the main road. The local people have less hope for the future and some families are giving up faming and leaving the area. To improve this situation, NICE has been organizing the short and mid term workcamps since 2008 together with the local partner, Sanson-juku.
Name and description of the local host
Sanson-juku. It was established by the organic farmer and the forester in 1994 and aims to promote a widespread understanding of organic agriculture and the sustainable forest management. It organizes various kinds of events throughout the year in nature to experience making rice and maintain forest with local farmers. Volunteers are mainly from the cities and to participate with the family is ideal to share the experience to think about the nature and conservation with local people in Kurogi. Since 2008, Sanson-juku started co-organizing international workcamps for 80 days and 20 days together with NICE that has made footpath of the Forest Therapy Road commissioned by Yame City and maintained/ revived the forests and fields. In 2013 Nov., Sanson-juku hosted the Asian Summit of International Long Term Volunteering organized by NICE and NVDA where the project scheme of AVS was created! So, Sanson-juku has decided to host the first AVS to support its concept and also expect the higher impact.
Aims and expected impact of the project
We believe, this project can create new power for the following impact;
- Conserve rich nature, culture and community by global and local voluntary power.
- Promote awareness and actions among local people to improve their own community.
- Promote friendship, inter-cultural exchange and solidarity among locals and volunteers.
Main voluntary work
- Help rice farming in the terraced rice fields (e.g. rice planting and its preparation, cutting grasses and weeding) that was damaged and abandoned by the very heavy rain in 2012.
- Help other local farms and forests (green tea, rice and vegetable, cutting woods, etc.) where many fields and forests are abandoned by lack of young farmers and foresters succeeding.
- Support the events of Sanson-juku to involve people in environmental conservation and
- coordinate the short term international workcamps for 2-3 weeks as the project leaders.
- Approximate working hours: 7 hours x 5 days (weekdays) in a week (can be changeable)
Type of building: Egao no Mori (abandon school, the base of Sanson-juku)
- Sleeping: Sharing with other vols.
- Meals: Cooked by vols.
- Smoking: Only outside building
- Internet access: There is wifi in the accommodation
- Any other points: You do not need to bring a sleeping bag (we have sleeping attire), soap, or shampoo. We have special soap and shampoo for the environment because the daily life water directly goes down to the river. Please use the ones we will provide. Rain boots and rain coats will be provided by Sanson-juku.
Kurogi is located in Yame City, the southern part of Fukuoka prefecture. The population is 12,333 (as at the end of 2012 Jan.). 70% of the land is forests and this mountainous climate brings Kurogi with various kinds of agricultural products and fine green tea as a big part of the special local products in this place. Especially, Kasahara district in Kurogi town, where this project is held, is the original place for famous “Yame tea“ since 600 years ago. Average temperature from April to September is 21.6 degree.
This district was seriously damaged by the very heavy rain on 2012 Jul. By which many places were isolated by the landslide and agricultural lands were destroyed by muddy stream and landslide. Sanson-juku started recovery efforts recruiting daily volunteers and many volunteers have come to support this initiatives to maintain farming here.
- Nearest international airport: Fukuoka airport
- Transportation from the capital or other major city: From Fukuoka city, it takes 2 hours by train and bus. It cost about 1,790 JPY.
- Leadership training and First Aid training
- Study part: Seminars or discussions about environment regularly
- Cultural workshops involving local people
- Exchange arties, excursion on free days, etc.
Qualification for volunteers
- Required: Motivation to learn and speak Japanese language! Speaking good English.
- Preferable: Interest in environmental issues and agriculture. Motivation to work hard, open mind, cooperation with others.
Attraction for vols.
To get know about green tea, Japanese traditional lifestyle, how to make fire by yourself.
- 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 Sanson-juku for 3days
- Special care during Project: Staff visit, planning to do have local buddy.
- Evaluation meeting: In Sanson-juku, the last 2 days