JFMF Tomonokai – Organizer of the Third Responders

JFMF Tomonokai is a Not-for-Profit Japanese Educational Organization started by the  alumni of the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Master Teacher Program (MTP) in 2006. Its purpose is to promote international educational cooperation in the areas of the environment, technology and intercultural educational exchanges.

President of Tomonokai - Kyoko Jones

Focus – Third Responder Initiative

The Third Responder Initiative began through the efforts of tireless volunteers who helped the Tomonokai to locate and provide assistance to the MTP alumni in the Tohoku region. They began their efforts within hours of the earthquake and tsunami and worked literally around the clock for the next two weeks until all the alumni were successfully located. Therefore, we wish to acknowledge the efforts of Elissa Sato, Mari Arimitsu and Takako (Nakano) Melchi in this regard and express our deep thanks to them.

Background Statement

When disasters occur, there are three types of needs and three types of responders based on what is needed when. First responders carry out the immediate work of rescue and medical care. They are expert search and rescue teams, who come from all over the world to aid in rescue and body recovery. Second responders provide relief in meeting the needs for clothes, food, water and short-term shelter. A third category of people is needed to assist in the rebuilding of people's lives. These people are "third responders", who become and stay involved with the people in the disaster area over an extended period of time.

The immediate emergency draws the attention of First and Second Responders. The emotional impact of a disaster draws their attention and public interest. After and even before their work is done public attention often turns elsewhere. This is typically the point when things get emotionally tough. The shock of the disaster has worn off and its true emotional impact becomes significant because people are confronted with having to have to cope on their own. This point is the point when the need for Third Responders becomes evident. Third Responders provide people in the affected communities with social support networks that enable them to rebuild and restructure their own lives according to their own needs and interests.

The Tomonokai's Third Responder Initiative has set the goal of helping people in the affected area restore and improve their network of educational relationships with other communities and countries. There are four steps in this process: 1. connecting with people in each community and country and identifying the ways of keeping up communications, 2. assessing what types of activities can be undertaken and what resources are needed to carry them out, 3. formulating specific plans of action and organizing the resources needed for them, and 4. taking action based on those plans that can become viable on their own.

Pilot Program

The Third Responder Initiative encompasses the whole of the disaster region due to the presence of MTP alumni throughout it. However the first step in moving toward this goal is the development of programs that are designed and tested as being easy to apply and sustain. This designing and testing is being carried out in collaboration with the city of Kesennuma's Board of Education. There are several reasons for selecting Kesennuma as a pilot community. Kesennuma is among the most severely affected communities. Yet it has demonstrated a commitment to taking action through its history of coping with disasters and its long-standing commitment to building a better community. Most importantly it has collaborated extensively with the MTP in dealing with these issues over the past decade. Kyoko Jones' essay "My Kesennuma" expresses this commitment and its implications to our planning..


About Master Teacher Program Activities (MTP)

My Kesennuma



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