Social Development

Project to assist victims of conflict in Karen State and eastern Mon State in Myanmar

Electrification of 21,000 homes of conflict victims!
Many people in Myanmar have suffered from conflicts that have continued for over70 years. People living in areas controlled by Ethnic Armed Organizations(EAO) have been living in harsh living conditions and almost all the infra-structures are not furnished and had little access to international assistance. On Oct.15, 2015, however, the government of Myanmar and eight EAOs, including the Karen National Union (KNU), agreed to the ceasefire, making it possible to deliver assistance to areas that had previously been closed.
In partnership with the Nippon Foundation, which has many years of experience in assistance work, BHN decided to begin a project to electrify homes in Non-electrified villages using solar power, starting in the KNU-controlled Thaton District.
Another major objective of this project is to pave the way for a ceasefire agreement by showing to other EAOs that “Stopping the civil war made things much better.” (BHN calls this “the fruits of peace.”)

Installation of Community Addressing systems (CA system) in Ayeyarwady Region of Myanmar

After Cyclone Nargis hit this area in 2008 and caused the serious damages, BHN has installed CA systems in 263 villages until 2019. This speaker system is used not only for giving alarms at the time of disaster, but also for delivering the information for daily life such as community notices, health messages, etc. Since 2017, BHN conducted additional activities for improving the public awareness of health and hygiene in cooperation with People’s Health Foundation (PHF), NGO of Myanmar. Based on the survey results, BHN and PHF held the briefing sessions in villages and had the health classes by audiovisual equipment in elementary schools.
This support project started as own funded project. in collaboration with Union of Myanmar Federation of
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) about 10 years ago and then the project was succeeded by grant assistant projects of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

“Backpack Radio” project

Addressing the changing challenges of global disaster risk reduction by small radio stations.
For Indonesians suffering from volcanic eruptions every year, a portable radio station called “Backpack Radio” was developed. (It consists of an FM transmitter with antenna, battery and solar panel. It starts in 10 minutes and can broadcast news and music using a dedicated smartphone app.)
Eight sets of equipment were provided and used effectively during the recovery of the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake and 2017-2019 Mt. Bali Agung.
The goal is to provide “backpack radio” to community radio stations in the mountain area from January 31 to December 25, 2017.
A workshop for Merapi and other broadcasting staff were held in Indonesia and to raise the funds to procure the equipment, a crowdfunding campaign were held. We received donations that far exceeded our funding goals.
The concept of “backpack radio” was highly appreciated by members of the Community Radio Broadcasting Association (AMARC), and the seminar held in Java, Indonesia in March 2018 was a big success.
At the AMARC Asia-Pacific Conference held in November 2018, a presentation titled “Backpack Radio” was given to a local broadcaster.

Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Sri Lanka: Technology Exchange Project for Configuring an Early Warning System for Disaster Risk Reduction

Aiming to Promote ICT Development in the Asia-Pacific Region and Develop and Expand Regional Telecommunications Networks
The recent global warming phenomenon is believed to bring about extreme phenomena on both ends of the spectrum such as extreme heat, torrential rain and drought. In Sri Lanka, heavy rain disasters caused by monsoons are becoming serious, and ensuring the safety of local residents has become an urgent issue. BHN has been selected by the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) to conduct research in collaboration with Sri Lankan ministries and agencies as part APT’s International Collaborative Research project. BHN has been conducting personnel training programs to promote interaction with Sri Lanka for many years, and this is a further step forward. As a next step, we need to make the results more sound by using the foundation of skills and people we gained through this research to configure a pilot system for the next period of time.

Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Myanmar: Study of Basic Health-Care System for Rural Communities through Mobile Applications

BHN conducted a collaborative research for “Basic Health-Care system for Rural Communities through Mobile Applications” in partnership with the Myanmar Computer Federation (MCF), Ministry of Health and Sports of Myanmar, Kagawa University and Melody International, as APT social development support project.
Through this project, Kagawa University and University of Medicine 1, Yangon, have established tight collaborative partnership have exchanged mutual knowledge, technology and information and have established the first Center of Excellence regarding perinatal medical care system at University of Medicine 1, Yangon, for expanding this system nationwide. They have also trained their staffs how to operate perinatal period medical care system.

Great East Japan Earthquake Miyagi Relief and Support Project

The Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011 caused an unprecedented catastrophe in the Pacific coastal area of East Japan. Among them, Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture was one of the biggest disaster areas.
BHN conducted a survey of needs for people affected by the disaster, and BHN opened BHN Miyagi office, provided the following two support projects.
(1) BHN and Ishinomaki Senshu University jointly opened ICT Open College courses in the city area and PC training courses in the three fishing villages of Ojika peninsula.
(2) BHN opened BHN PC corners at the meeting rooms of 38 temporary housing estates built in Ishinomaki city, Higashimatusima city, Tome city and Minamisanriku town, and supported their community development activities, such as traveling technical consultations.
In Ishinomaki City Temporary Ohashi Housing Estate (President, Mr. Shinya Yamazaki), which was the largest temporary housing estate (approximately 500 households), “Public Temporary Housing Estate Residents’ Association Management” was implemented by using BHN PC corner. We thought that this effort included many lessons to be handed down to future generations. Therefore, BHN and Shinya Yamazaki digitized these related materials in order to apply the idea to other relief and support projects.

Iitate Village, Fukushima, Evacuee Support Project

Because of the nuclear accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, an evacuation command was issued for all of Iitate Village. In the village, where people had lived for generations, created brand agricultural products such as Iitate beef and Turkish bluebells and three or four generations lived a peaceful life together under one roof, the nuclear accident caused everything to change completely, with the entire village evacuating to temporary and leased housing.
In their lives as evacuee, health maintenance became an important issue because they could no longer get exercise tending fields and cows, their dwellings were so small as to not even be comparable to their houses in the village and they tended to eat an unbalanced diet. Because they were forced to live apart from not only their close neighbors but even their family members, many people were under stress from many uncertainties and community collapse was a major problem. Because of the progress of thorough decontamination and infrastructure development, the evacuation command that had been in effect for six years was lifted at the end of March 2017. However, many issues still remain, such as housing repair and transportation to shopping and hospitals. It will take a considerable amount of time for many villagers to return to their village and for the village to return to its peaceful way of life.
BHN has been continuing to plant 600 peach trees to take back original beautiful village and to install “emergency calling systems” to family for aged people to live safely and feel a sense of relief.

Kumamoto Earthquake Relief and Support Project

The Kumamoto Earthquake which struck on April 14 and 16, 2016, caused an unprecedented catastrophe in the Kumamoto Prefecture.
BHN conducted a survey of needs for people affected by the disaster, and BHN opened BHN Kumamoto office, provided the following two support projects. (1) BHN opened BHN PC corners in the temporary community space of 6 public shelter-gymnasiums in Mashiki, Kasima and Mifune town, provided ICT consulting services to victims. (2) After that, BHN moved and opened BHN PC corners at the 50 meeting rooms of temporary housing estates built in Kumamoto city, Mashiki, Kasima, Mifune, Kousa town, Minamiaso and Nishihara village, and supported their community development activities, such as various kinds of PC training courses, ICT health care activities and periodical traveling technical consultations.
Since fiscal 2019, the number of people staying in temporary housing estates has clearly been decreasing. The local governments announced the temporary housing estates intensive plan that the temporary housing estates will be divided into two types (to be terminated or to be continued). BHN would continue support activities for the remaining temporary housing estates. BHN removes BHN PC corners which have accomplished their purposes from the temporary housing estates, reopens BHN PC corners at the meeting rooms of the Disaster Restoration Public Housing estates, according to strong requests from the local government, etc., for a limited period, and would support their community development activities.

Northern Kyushu Heavy Rain Relief and Support Project

In northern Kyushu, mainly Fukuoka and Oita, a record amount of heavy rain fell continuously beginning on July 5, 2017. The Meteorological Agency issued “a Special Heavy Rain Warning” to Fukuoka Prefecture at 5:51 p.m. on July 5 and to Oita Prefecture at 7:55 p.m. on the same day. The Northern Kyushu Heavy Rain caused tremendous human and residential damage, especially in Asakura city, Fukuoka prefecture.
On January 10, 2018, the Furusato (meaning Hometown in Japanese) Division of Asakura City, Fukuoka Prefecture, made a request to BHN for support to two temporary housing estates (Hayasida and Tonda). This request came through Tetsuya Myojyo, secretary general of Japan Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (JVOAD), a specified nonprofit corporation.
In response to the urgent request, BHN opened BHN FukuokaAsakura branch office, with BHN Kumamoto office, started its support activities on February 13, 2018. BHN provided internet connection installation at the meeting rooms of 2 temporary housing estates, supported their community development activities, such as periodical traveling technical consultations.

Western Japan Heavy Rain Relief and Support Project

The torrential rain that occurred in western Japan on July 6, 2018, caused tremendous human and residential damage throughout the western Japan region, especially in Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime prefectures. BHN selected Hiroshima prefecture for support project area, opened BHN Hiroshima office and Fukuyama office.
BHN opens BHN PC corners at the meeting rooms of temporary housing estates built in Kure city and Saka town (BHN Hiroshima office) and in Mihara city (BHN Fukuyama office), and supports their community development activities, such as periodical traveling technical consultations and small PC training courses.
Based on our experiences in the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Kumamoto Earthquake and other disasters, BHN takes an initiative to provide assistances that emphasize ICT practical use, such as placing many local ICT specialists for PC training courses and engaging in the work of sending, receiving and sharing information, as much as possible in partnership with the disaster victims.

Assistance you can give

Various kinds of support make BHN’s work possible. We need your generous support to provide safety and security to people living in developing countries and disaster-stricken areas, and to build sustainable societies. The BHN Association uses the knowledge and skills of senior citizens in its work to contribute to international cooperation. By all means please participate in our work as a supporter of the BHN Association.