The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation as well as to the sound development of both the Japanese and the global economies by supporting economic and social development, reconstruction and/or economic stability in developing countries.
JICA’s volunteer programmes support activities by Japanese people who are motivated by a desire to cooperate in developing countries. The programmes are widely recognized as representative programmes of Japan’s international cooperation, and are highly praised by partner countries.
Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs) are assigned to developing countries for two years. As summarized by the phrase “together with the local community,” JOCVs carry out their activities with an emphasis on raising self-reliant efforts by living and working together with communities, and by speaking the same language.
Recruitment campaigns for JOCVs target Japanese people between the ages of 20 and 39, with such areas of expertise as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, construction, civil engineering, sanitation, education and culture, sports and public administration. At present, a total of 2,157 volunteers are engaging in activities in developing countries, with a total of 36,965 Japanese people dispatched to 88 countries since the programme started in 1965.
Ms. Suzuki (second from left on the photo above) works as a volunteer teaching elementary school children in Brazil. More than half of the children are third or fourth generation Japanese descendants, and each has a different level of Japanese-language capabilities.
Mr. Sugaya (left on the photo on the right), who is assigned as a volunteer to the Rifuu rice cultivation testing area in Malawi, with worker Mr. Maxwell, who is assisting with cultivation work in the field. Mr. Maxwell also served as an interpreter of the local language during the observation tour at an elementary school.
Senior Volunteers are also recruited, targeting Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 69. In recent years, there has been an increase in applicants from retirees seeking to spend their “second life” in a more meaningful way.
Cooperating areas consist of nine different sectors, including agriculture, forestry and fisheries, energy, health and medical care, and human resources. Currently, 520 Senior Volunteers are in activity. Until now, a total of 4,877 Japanese citizens have been dispatched to 68 countries.
Youth and Senior Volunteers for Nikkei Communities, too, are dispatched to contribute to the development of Nikkei communities in Latin America.
Watch the video of a JICA volunteer helping Ethiopia’s education policy to be changed and improved: Ethiopia - A Story of Science and Mathematics Education