Human development is the process of enlarging people’s capabilities and choices so that they can live full, creative and stable lives in freedom and dignity. Receiving an education, living a long and healthy life, and enjoying a good living standard are indispensable for individuals, as well as for the socio-economic development of communities. This is one area where Japan can make full use of its unique know-how cultivated in Japan and through the experience of providing assistance to developing countries during the past few decades. Faced with changes in the global context of human development, it is becoming more important than ever to create evidences and empirical knowledge and disseminate this to the world in a way that will guide the direction of future development policy and strategy.
Key research topics include the history of Japan's international cooperation in education, the impact of studying abroad, the acceleration of universal health coverage (UHC), and Japan’s international cooperation and development experience in health care. Moreover, we aim to strengthen collaboration with global research institutes and expand our intellectual networks.
Research Project (Ongoing)
Intervention Study on Unintended Teenage Pregnancy in Uganda
Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” As in many countries, it is a development priority in Uganda as well. The government of Uganda aims to prevent unintended pregnancies through improved access to family planning services and lower the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime. (The total fertility rate was 5 as of 2016.) In doing so, an approach that strengthens partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders including the private sector, religious organizations and non-profit organizations is in need.
Over 60% of teenage pregnancies in Uganda are said to be unintended. They often result in girls dropping out of school or going through unsafe abortions, posing serious social issues. The underlying issues that previous studies identified include poverty, low social status of girls and women, lack of knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), low usage rate of modern contraceptive methods, earlier sexual debut, and delays in the development of youth-friendly services at public healthcare facilities. Meanwhile, mobile money shops offering a wide range of services are scattered throughout Uganda, even to every corner of rural villages, and are an essential part of the daily lives of teenagers.
With better understanding on the behaviors of Ugandan teenagers and available social resources, this study will develop a new intervention to promote SRHR among teenagers through mobile money shops and verify its effectiveness. The study is also to explore how the new program can be applied in other areas in Uganda. By mobilizing various social resources available in local communities, we aim to develop and propose a comprehensive model that can withstand real-life application.
The study will be conducted through collaboration between Busoga Health Forum (Uganda), Juntendo University (Japan) and Nagasaki University (Japan).
COVID-19 Study for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Resilient Society
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, and then quickly expanded its reach to the world. The international community has been working to improve global health governance and countries’ response capacity to prevent, prepare for and deal with infectious disease crises, based on past experience with outbreaks of SARS, H1N1 influenza, the Ebola virus, and other diseases. Low- and middle-income countries that are aware of their weak health systems have tended to take prompt action to implement strict behavioral restrictions, preventive measures, and mutual assistance among residents, initially keeping the spread of COVID-19 at a relatively low level. However, in addition to the direct health impact of COVID-19 infections and deaths, the prolonged implementation of strict infection control measures in response to COVID-19 had a variety of indirect and compounding negative effects, such as reduced utilization of other health services and social and economic activity, which have been observed in many countries. This has raised concerns about widening disparities in society, including health disparities. While reforms to global health mechanisms are being discussed by the international community, it is essential to grasp the actual situations in each country, which are still not sufficiently understood.
Empirical Research on Impacts of Study Abroad in Developing Countries – based on Study Abroad Experiences of Academic Professionals of Major Universities in ASEAN Countries -
Study abroad experiences of individuals in public sector in developing countries make great impact on the attainment of knowledge and skills, the development of career, and the change of mindset of the individuals. Moreover, those individuals with study abroad experiences have contributed to the social, economic, cultural and academic development of their home country and also influenced the bilateral relationship between home and host countries. For those reasons, many developed countries, including Japan, have provided various scholarship programs to developing countries through official development assistance. There is, however, almost no empirical research on its impact of study abroad, apart from the research focusing on the impact on individual skills, knowledge, and perception in developed countries.
Analysis of the Current Status and Issues of Parental Support for Children’s Learning in the Early Grades: Case Study of Cambodia
In recent years, international learning assessments such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Study Assessment (PISA), have revealed that on average, the level of learning achievement in developing countries is low. The Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) also shows that many children fail to learn the basics in the early grades of primary education, which could lead to a greater number of dropouts. The preceding literature on learning achievement in developing countries has largely focused on the quality of teachers and schools, not in-depth analysis on parental involvement in their children’s learning. Therefore, this study will deepen into a detailed examination of parental activities in supporting their children’s learning, and parental resources such as personal circumstances and how much available time they have.
Past Research Projects
JICA COVID-19 Webinar Series –Sharing of Japanese Experiences–
JICA has launched JICA’s Initiative for Global Health and Medicine to strengthen its work in protecting people’s lives while supporting Japan’s development policy and international efforts to achieve the pledge of “leaving no one’s health behind.” Under this initiative, JICA will support efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through a focus on prevention, precaution and treatment.
Japan’s International Cooperation in Education: History and Prospects
Since its inception in the 1950s, Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) has emphasized education as an enabler to achieve various development goals. This study examines trends and features of Japan’s international cooperation in basic education, TVET and higher education from the 1950s, investigating how cooperation has been shaped and administered by various stakeholders such as the Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), researchers and other actors.
Disability and Education
In the field of disability and education, there are many studies on disability policy comparisons, concepts ideological discussions and case studies of educational projects, but there are few that have managed to gather significant data for analysis and empirical studies. It is also the case that empirical studies in developing countries are usually not used for policy formulation due to the lack of credible data.
The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of various forms of education provision on children both with and without disabilities. It also seeks to draw attention to the perspectives of teachers, parents/guardians and students, from the viewpoints of human rights, cost-effectiveness and education. Eventually, the focus of this study is to call for the implementation of educational policies that are highly suitable to the respective country contexts.
EMBRACE Implementation Research in Ghana
“Reduce Child Mortality” and “Improve Maternal Health” had been set forth as the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and also incorporated as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted in 2015. While some improvements have been made in the infant mortality rate and the maternal health, there remains high in some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. There has also been an imbalance in terms of the progress of these improvements between urban and rural areas within developing countries. Against this backdrop, the Japanese government announced a new Global Health Policy 2011-2015 in September 2010 comprising a new model assistance program called EMBRACE (Ensure Mothers and Babies Regular Access to Care) that focuses on protecting the lives of mothers and babies.