In times of crisis having a community to find support in makes a huge difference to our mental well being. AFWJ is one such community that members can turn to during rough periods to share and find information, for solidarity and mental health support, and so much more. The current pandemic is no exception, our members are helping each other navigate our new circumstances, offering advice, sharing how their communities around Japan and around the world are fairing, sharing information, setting up online events to relieve isolation and helping each other figure out how to use the technology necessary to work and socialize online. Whether it is earthquakes, floods, or a health-related crisis our members strive to support each other through thick and thin.
The Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese is not only here to serve our members in times of difficulty. We are always working hard to evolve as an organization in order to better meet the needs of our members, who are of various ages and who hail from different backgrounds around the globe. One way that we stay on top of understanding the needs or our members is through Membership Surveys conducted every few years. The surveys ask some general questions about our members, such as their nationality, how long they’ve been a member of AFWJ and what they like best about our organization, before getting into some more specific questions about various parts of AFWJ and changes that they might like to see. The AFWJ Board can then review the results of the membership survey in order to make decisions that reflect the desires and needs of our members.
Thanks to the results of the Membership Survey our Website Coordinator, Membership Services and Public Relations officers have been working tirelessly to give our website a new and improved look. Our elected board members are discussing ways to keep our members better informed of, and included in, events that are of interest to them; as well as how to make AFWJ membership fees as affordable as possible, while ensuring that the value gained by being a member is well worth the cost. Finally the feedback on our Journal is invaluable in determining the type of publication that our members would like to read.
To use feedback on the Journal as an example, some of the questions asked were:
- Do you read the Journal?
- Do you read it online or in print?
- What is your favourite part of the Journal?
- What other information would you like to see in the Journal?
To the first question, most respondents indicated that they do read at least some or all of the Journal, which is great! More than half of respondents read the Journal in print only and members were split on what part of the Journal they like the most. When it came to the type of information they would like to see in the Journal, the comments revealed a wide variety of interests among our members. For example, some respondents would like to see more information about practical and financial matters related to life in Japan, some would like to read more about the lives of our members and some would like to read about travel destinations and events. The detailed comments left by our members can help the Journal Editor work towards publishing a journal that everyone can find value and enjoyment in. If you are an AFWJ member, please be sure to check out how the former Journal Editor responded to your comments by logging into the website and scrolling over “Members” on the menu bar, when the drop down menu comes up, move your mouse down to “Journal” and you will see a tab called “Journal Survey Results” pop open, click on it to read.
The Membership Survey also asks our members how they think they would like to contribute to AFWJ now or in the future. Keep in mind that our organization is run solely by the hard work of volunteers, who keep us going in good times and in bad. Thank you volunteers and everyone else in AFWJ who are helping us stay connected and sane during these difficult pandemic days and at all other times.
I’d also like to offer a special thanks to our members and readers who are working in, or who have family members who are working in, the healthcare field or those providing essential services. These are scary and stressful times and we here at AFWJ would like to offer our support and solidarity. We can get through this together.