Jumat, 23 Januari 2015

Learning in ARI 2. Gender in the Community Development

Mother is a manifestation of God's presence in this world. She is gentle but extremely powerful. She is punishing but she is educating. She sacrificed but she does not lose herself.
 by Eunike Widhi Wardhani-Indonesia-ARI 2014

Another my biggest learning I got from Rural Community Study Tour Group A in Okitama Yamagata. As a representative of my community, I am also accompanying several women groups in Central Java to participate in their village development. I am very grateful finally I met someone special who is a good example of leader.
For complete impression, I just want described her story about gender equity in community development by doing organic farming.
This is the story....

I am searching so long to learn a real women right movement in rural community, and I am very happy to meet one special woman among many great rural leaders. She is our host family in group A who has very strong spirit and never give up to reach her dream to raise women right up to be equal with men, our mother, Misako Watanabe (60 years old).
Somehow the story that flows from her was able to overcome my sleepiness that night, when I felt very tired all that day. It's really remarkable. The character of a true leader is shown in her speech straightforward, but at the same time humble, and also honest but very touching. I did not get time to ask her personally but during 2.5 hours her sharing truly effected and inspired me. I admired her.

Organic Farming
Misako married when she was 23 years old. According to Japanese rural culture, after married, a woman have to follow her husband and lived in her husband family’s house. Before getting married Misako only involved in harvesting vegetables in her family garden, she doesn’t have enough knowledge about field management. But after married, she was given the responsibility to manage the whole family farm. “My best teacher is actually my grandfather-in-law. He taught me about farming : how to make seedling, hot beds, making compost, sowing, transplanting and apply organic fertilizer. “The teaching from my grandfather-in-law gave to me was only one way, that is what people now refer to as Organic Farming” she said.
But after grandfather in-law passed away, her parents in law applied chemical fertilizer and pesticide in their farm. "In the division of roles in the family, I managed vegetables with father and mother-in-law, while my husband was managing paddy field with organic way" she said. “One day my parents in-laws asked me to apply chemical fertilizers and pesticides on our vegetables, I doubt then I asked my husband, and my husband says: No, don’t apply, it's not organic”. Parents in-law was angry. Misako should obey the parents in law rule as a fellow at the vegetables section, but she ignored them. She said “I follow my husband decision because I knew he is right”.
Maybe because she has a strong willingness to know, she tried to learn more about Organic Farming from her husband. She said "My husband got a lot of chance to improve his knowledge about Organic Farming, but as a woman I never have time for it”. I asked him to share his organic farming knowledge, and we thought together how to develop women related with food, because women had important role in food management. After 3 years they made farmers wife activities within her husband farmer group meeting in their free time after lunch and dishwashing. They discussed about organic farming, natural cosmetic and food issue. At first time there were 30 members of farmers wife, then decrease became 10 people and finally only 3 people until now. Many difficulties in Organic Farming movement. Many neighbors insulted her. Only consumers who support her because they understood about safety food and the dangers of chemical inputs in agriculture.
She was struggling to pass many difficulties. When there were many small holes at the soybean, it dropped the price down, directly. Another experience is also 10 kg of Zuchini were valued only 100 yen. She and her husband tried to check again, maybe they are wrong counting, but there is not, their products are valued very cheap. She does not give up, she wants to meet her customers, whether they were satisfied or not to her products. She said: “Nowadays many people speak about safety food and food security, but at that time no one spoke it like now. My product are different, that is organic, people have to know it and I must  explain about my product”. It’s not easy to get trust from consumers. Many members give up.
International activities but local movement
That time she got sick for 1 month in the hospital. Her husband advised her to stop being a farmer and worked in the city. She does not want, because the spirit of organic agriculture already penetrated her soul.
At the time “helicopter chemical” for pesticides began to be applied every morning exactly time when the kids was going to school. She’s very sad. “To protect my own children, maybe I can take them by car so they are safe, but I think of the other children, they are new generations who need safety and good health” she said.
We knew that chemical toxics in pesticides are very harmful to humans especially children. Misako cannot keep silent, she made a big tarp post and she plug in surround her paddy fields, in the tarp that she wrote: "STOP CHEMICAL PESTICIDES TO FIELDS, REMEMBER CHILDREN". The article made many farmers around got angry, and they complain through her husband: "What did your wife does?”. She’s very sad, nobody understand her, she felt alone  that time. "My husband asked me to remove the post, in that day after. I was angry in my heart but I understood my husband’s feeling, without waiting for day after, that night while raining I ran to the field and I removed the posts while crying” she said with remembering that past.
But she still was not give up, she approached school teachers to announce to all students to use a mask and a hat to school every day. It was in some other areas, many cases of children illness after contact with chemical pesticide sprays. People who are not farmers did not know, but farmers knew that it is due to the chemical pesticide application. It’s very hard to stop "chemical helicopter", it can be understood because it helpful  the work of farmers, moreover they're getting old. Ten years after, the condition began to change. Many peasant communities began to dare to say stop "helicopter chemistry".
Tei Kei system then became famous. There was an invitation to be a speaker on Tei Kei abroad. Her husband (Tsutomu San) was very busy with 350 chickens and 8 cows. He could not leave the fields and livestock. Finally he said to me: "You must leave". Then Misako went there and she shared the experience of Tei-Kei as well as organic farming for 17 days in some countries: Egypt, Hungary, Austria, France, Czech and UK.
In Austria she met a woman who has the same experiences as her about how organic farming campaign struggles. She said: “I was thrilled, somebody in different place was same with me, I’m not alone”. It turns out I was not alone. It was a very treasure experience in my life, when I was 38 years old”. In 1990 she was invited again for sharing the same thing in several other countries: Poland, the Soviet Union (at that time). She also learned from them: no smell at the pig pen because pig pen was covered by wheat straw. “Good lesson for me, they do not know Japanese and do not know me before, but they opened their homes and their hearts to me”.
Bank Account
In the last part, she talked about a very important thing : “I am lucky because my husband is very understanding. When I get married, I do not have freedom of money. Despite my hard work, no holiday and all the results I gave to my parents in-laws. One time I asked permission to my husband to create my own bank account that I will fill it by money from my toil, separately accounts from his family. Unexpectedly, he was very supportive of it.
Since I had my own bank account, the results are very different. I was motivated because I know how much money I got, how much I earn it, and I spend it. Then I also enjoyed my life as a woman, as a wife with happiness, I took holiday for visiting several countries. I am very happy and I started to motivate the wives in our community that: women in rural areas should be able to stand on their own feet.
One by one she achieved her dream and stay humble and focused and straight at the goal from the beginning, never turn the bow. She educates women in her communities to make positive steps without fear. One interesting thing is as a brave woman, independent and she can go flew to where and whenever she wants, but Misako still put herself as a good mother and wife who respect her husband in each decision and step she chose.
Barriers for the sake of obstacles cleared, although chemical helicopters still running on ​​fields, we cannot say that her struggle was failed. The condition show the reality how struggle a leaders taking care their movement such as Misako Watanabe that good movement is never end.

Learning in ARI 1

Eunike Widhi Wardhani-Indonesia


The objectives of this learning are :
  1. To learn about the history of Nishinasuno Church establishment (describe the condition before establishment, what character of the foundation Christian makes the Church very different in Japan)
  2. To learn about how Nishinasuno started to bring up community development issues as part of church responsibilities and concerns.
  3. To learn about how Nishinasuno Church implemented community development activities in its congregations. What kinds of problems were prioritized and what kind of solutions were given.
  4. To learn about the closeness between Nishinasuno Church and ARI (Asian Rural Institute) that has led to sustainability terms of spiritual growth and care for the rural poor/ serving the marginalized people.

This project have done in the form of :
  1. Making terms of reference
  2. Literature collecting,
  3. Interviewing,
  4. Analyzing,
  5. Organizing discussion material,
  6. Focus group discussion,
  7. Evaluation
  8. Writing and report

Each institution has its own history of how it was start formed. If recorded properly, the history will be passed on to future generations. 

Nishinasuno Church celebrated its 121 years birthday on September 16th 2014. This small study is not to produce a complete record of the history throughout the life of this church, but I tried to limit the background history of the Church Nishinasuno and immediately jumped on the results achieved in the realm of Community Development. The only reason why I jumped was not possible to collecting all the story because the study I completed in a matter of days or weeks. And that's just a starting point that can be developed into many topics. But I will give several recommendations that could be followed by other history enthusiasts of Nishinasuno Church and ARI.
One of my expectations came to ARI is to learn to know how the poor and farmers (including community and I accompanied my sending church) who have great potential, they should have the opportunity to develop themselves and their village. Participants who came to ARI are prepared and honed their ability as a leader to return to their village / country doing community development and community organizing is not personal but institutional. And this little church is a typical example of how a church institutions start, maintain and implement community development with strong leadership character they have.

Why I chose Nishinasuno Church?
As we know Christian people in Japan are only about 1% of population. This number is very small compared to Indonesia which are 7% of population. There are very rare big church in Japan. And compared to my church in Indonesia (GKJ Sidomukti Salatiga with the congregation of about 700 people), this Nishinasuno Church congregation is very small with few in numbers.
Many churches are doing various forms of community development. But I chose Nishinasuno because there is historical connection directly with ARI, the institution where I am now participating the rural leadership training. The concept of rural leadership that have passed through the history of this century is not likely to happen in an instant.
From there I became interest in learning more about the church's role in community development as evidenced by the existence of the which has been educating 1272 graduates of participants to do Community Development of strengthening rural people from 5 continents on planet earth. It shows that this small church has been doing a lot of great works in term of community development.
I am very happy that I got permission from ARI campus and Nishinasuno Church to learn about it during my summer individual project. I am grateful to have the opportunity to do this project, to meet and hear the stories directly from the offender's history.

Interview results and collecting information
Flash back of Nishinasuno church history is very interesting to learn. I want to divide it into several periods that show what happened in the history of Nishinasuno Church and ARI in that each periods.
Pre establishment of Nishinasuno Church (1873 - 1893)
I met 3 resources person are: Mr. Hajime Kikuchi, Mr. Hyuya Tamura and Mr. Kazuho Makino during July 26-28th.
1.         Mr. Kikuchi is the second generation in the history of Nishinasuno Church and establishment ARI actors directly.
2.         Mr. Hyuya Tamura in his youth had been doing many activities with Rev. Haruo Fukumoto (Nishinasuno Church founder and the first pastor of the church) who also played a major role in the establishment of ARI. Mr. Hyuya Tamura also have a thorough knowledge of the history of the Nasu Canal which is little bit related to this article.
3.         Mr. Kazuho Makino is the next generation who still follow the history Nishinasuno and ARI until this day.
This is the story......
After the construction of the Nasu Canal by Innami and Yaita this area became fertile. Many newcomers from outside prefecture who eventually settled here, one of them is Mr. Tajima from Gunma Prefecture who came to Nishinasuno / Nasunogahara with his extended family at 1873. Gunma-ken is famous of silk worms cultivation. Tajima brought his knowledge from Gunma to Nishinasuno about how to manage the silkworm to one marketed to Yokohama. In Yokohama Tajima met a Christian Missionary and he became a Christian. It is not known whether the previous Tajima is Sintoism or other religion. Then the history of Christianity in Nishinasuno/Nasunogahara is began enter this place.
Nishinasuno community which is consisting of farmers and imigrant has characteristics that are open minded and receptive to new ideas. Tajima organize silkworm farmers in Nishinasuno. That is why nowadays we encounter many of the mulberry tree in surround ARI field. Tajima also formed a farmer cooperative that time. Tajima show a good leader, so that many farmers followed his footsteps become Christian. Many times meetings was held in the framework of the organization of silkworm farming activities and worship by him. Church as communion has been formed but have not had a special place of worship. They call it Christian Meeting, not a church. Tajima leadership is really rooted in the community together in a fairly long period of time. Be told that Tajima also foster communication and excellent relations with Buddhist and Shinto communities around Nishinasuno.

Nishinasuno Church Establishment
The history jumps in the presence of Rev. Haruo Fukumoto from Tokyo to Nishinasuno. The foundations of a strong Christian community has been built long ago by Tajima in his day. Haruo Fukumoto is the next Christian leaders in the community sequel.
Fukumoto is a graduate of South East Asian Course (SEAC) 1960-1972) of Christian Rural Leader's Training by Evangelical Theological Rural Seminary in Tsurukawa Tokyo. Rev. Fukumoto later founded the church Nishinasuno on September 16th 1893 under the denomination of Methodist Church. Several other churches are also growing simultaneously as the development of Christianity in Japan that began at 3 centers : Yokohama, Kobe and Hokaiddo. The three centers had a same Japanese way of Christianity, that is implemented in a pluralistic condition.
In the Second World War the Japanese government applied the rule should not be any denomination, so all the Protestant churches in Japan became one unity so that easily to be controlled. Nishinasuno joined in UCCJ (United Christian Church of Japan) or Kyodan. That is why Kyodan homestay program for participants is a part of learning and effort for future relations with ARI history can be understood by participants.

History of the ARI, Tochigi (1960-1973)
History jumps back to the founding of ARI. As the material history by Otsu Sensei, before named ARI is now, it was once named SEAC in Tsurukawa (1961-1972). Rev Fukumoto one of the students in SEAC who attended various rural leadership training programs in several Asian countries. Fukumoto met Dr. Toshihiro Takami in Tokyo.
In the summer season, SEAC partisipants visited for survey to Nishinasuno Church congregation in farming community and their farming practices.
Having made ​​several observations about the condition of Nishinasuno, SEAC program moved from Tsurukawa to Nasunogahara / Nishinasuno in 1973 and renamed to be Asian Rural Institute whose program is the Asian Rural Leader Training. According to the Kikuchi Sensei telling, the reason why chose this place is because it is not too far from Tokyo (easy to access) but it is still village condition, fertile land (because of Nasu Canal building) and open-minded society.
Rev. Fukumoto fully supports the establishment of ARI in Nishinasuno. Due to a variety of support and has maintained an intimate relationship between SEAC and Nishinasuno Church for more than 10 years.
Therefore, the location of the new site ARI training program was decided in Nishinasuno in 1973 by Dr. Takami Sensei. Rev.Fukumoto is a key person who continue strong leadership character as one of the skills that must be owned by a community leader. Rev. Fukumoto became the first pastor in Nishinasuno Kyookai (1956-1991)
As Tajima did, Rev. Fukumoto also maintained a good relationship with the Budhist Monk and Shintoism people. In addition, he also developed a good relationship with some of the entrepreneurs in Nishinasuno, Major of Nishinasuno and banks, one of those is Asikaga Bank (because of always maintained a good relationship for decades, so this day Asikaga Bank became one of the supporters of the program at ARI).

Year 2004-until now
A little jump in 2004 the government Tochigi combine 3 locations: Nishinasuno, Kuroiso Nikko and Shiobara into a city. In that time the population of the three regions around 25,000 people but now increased to around 100,000 people. Like a ship, across the sea Nishinasuno Church Community Development continues with ARI. Establish a long history of this small church to be strong to face the challenges of the world.
From the participants stories about the activities of Community Development in their respective countries on ARI Sunday, Nishinasuno Church members can follow the movement of Community Development. Then the congregation is also involved in several activities in ARI. In the process of continuous interaction and mutual support that's Theology of Empowerment truly uniquely applied in this church.
Valuable lessons that can be taken

1.    Rev. Fukumoto and Tajima have the same way of thinking and a strong Christian leadership character is also applied in organizing farmers and farmer cooperatives. Leadership skill and knowledge was developed and became the core training program at ARI.
2.    The leader is always be a pioneer of changing. Tajima pioneered Christianity in Nishinasuno. He was a brave and willing to work hard and thus provide a good example, then he is respected and members followed his step even passed on to the next generation. Fukumoto also a respected leader figure, because not only is willing to continue the positive steps of Fukumoto predecessor but Fukumoto also made bold steps in establishing Nishinasuno Church. Then Fukumoto together with Dr. Takami Sensei are the main thinker of ARI establishment. Dr. Takami developed servant leadership on learning in the next ARI. The coordination is very good and effectively by leaders. Leadership style may be different but they have the same goal in Community Development.
3.    Maintaining a good relationship with many parties is one of the strategies that must be mastered by a leader if she/he wants to do sustainability of Community Development.
4.    Leadership in Community Development was already started since before the establishment of the  Nishinasuno Church that makes this church is very special in Japan.
The Conclusion:
Nishinasuno Church does not merely establish ARI, but the presence of ARI in Nishinasuno could not separated from the role of Nishinasuno Church. In its development until now, training in ARI activity was also strongly related to the activity of Nishinasuno Church. Both of these institutions are not belong to each other formally, but the philosophy underlying the establishment of these two institutions are the same, that is Community Development.

Benefits of Community Development concept by Nishinasuno Church and ARI
The life of faith in Christ is not only shown in the weekly praying and worship in the church but the real action for the defense of the weak and marginalized people is a part of praying. This small church is an example of how to practice the teachings of Jesus Christ's love. In his day Jesus was speaking the truth and defended the poor and oppressed by the peace movement, the anti-violent but very effective and clear result, that is a change. Changes that we feel right now, but follow-up is the responsibility of the followers of Christ and must be performed continuously.
Until today injustice is still happens in various forms all over the planet. In the name of development, the rural poor are often sacrificed. In the name of modernization and of some interest groups who have the power, people often ignore weak groups especially in rural areas. Yet they have great potential to act as subjects, not as objects of development.
Just as Jesus did, this village addressed church leaders in the world regardless of religious, ethnic and political backgrounds to serve rural communities in their countries. True Christianity realizes itself in plurality and this is truly appreciated by this small church.

Recommendations for Nishinasuno Church are:
1. This small research is only a first step which is very shallow. I wish there was a development of ideas or a more in-depth study of the history of this church by many historians, church members or society at large. Can be a study of the literature and interviews or more complete researches.
2. Community Development topic in the church would be able to bring up other topics that realistically happening in many churches
3. Nishinasuno should begin to prepare new leaders who continue Community Development as Jesus Christ did.
4. Other recommendations can be added by anyone who is involved in the community development church

Recommendation for ARI are :
1.        ARI is still remain as a tool of the church in serving the community in diversity and plurality as a part of church itself.
2.        ARI continues to educate the village leaders based on Christian Leadership, educating them to be able to capture the global issues of concern, then pass on to farmers and rural communities in accordance with their understanding then act locally with their idea and potency.
3.        Servant leadership will continue show and apply clearly into the whole learning.

Village is a potential area to be developed in the future. ARI had a lot of good resources : staffs, nature, partner or other support resources. I have a feeling blessed became ARI student and involved in Organic agriculture life, Community Development, Rural Development Strategy with Christianity spirit. As a graduate I will continue this learning in my rural community back home. As a leader I will follow ARI style of leadership, servant leadership for community development.