May 15, 2018
Four JICA experts who returned to Japan after working in various countries were granted an audience with Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Princess Mako on March 30 at Akishino Residence in Moto-Akasaka, Tokyo. During the meeting, they reported on their activities abroad.
Returned JICA experts have been granted audiences with Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino in groups of four to five since May 2004. On this 16th such occasion, JICA experts who had worked in Africa and Asia were granted an audience.
Koji Tanaka (formerly of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University) worked as chief adviser for the Project for Capacity Development of Yezin Agricultural University at Yezin Agricultural University, Myanmar's only agricultural university.
The project works to improve educational systems and research activities. Though agriculture is a key industry in Myanmar, there were challenges relating to research and education. The project supported new curriculum development and interdisciplinary research activities, and it drove improvements at the university.
Shinji Ogawa (of IC Net Limited) was team leader for the extension of "farm forestry " in Ethiopia. Farm forestry refers to farmers planting trees on agricultural land to expand forests.
The project, which was carried out from June 2013 until March 2018, implemented through group learning a combination of planting cereals, horticultural crops,and fruit trees, and small-scale afforestation. The project produced a variety of results, including the firm establishment of farm forestry as a practice and expanded tree seeding production by the farmers themselves.
Kiminari Takahashi (International Development Center of Japan Incorporated) has overall responsibility for a project to strengthen the maintenance of roads in Laos. He took on that role in September 2011, and will continue through May 2018.
As part of the project outcome, the Government of Laos took the initiative for the maintenance of main trunk roads and rehabilitated an entire section of National Road No.9 (a total length of 240 kilometers), as part of ASEAN Highway. As a result, the travel time along National Road No.9 was cut in half. Engaging research institutes and other donors, the project also contributes to rolling out the project activities and outcome to all of Laos.
From 2012 to 2018, Miho Goto (National Center for Global Health and Medicine) supported the nationwide scaling up of a model of the "Project for Reinforcement for Maternal and Newborn Health Care" developed by Senegal's Ministry of Health and Social Action as the chief adviser.
By training health care providers in humanized childbirth and raising awareness among local residents, the project achieved results including improving the quality of maternal and child care services, improving the satisfaction of healthcare providers and women, and increasing the use of health care facilities' services.
Looking back on the meeting, the four JICA experts said Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Princess Mako created a calm atmosphere that allowed them to report on their work without nervousness, and that their Highnesses listened with great interest.
The experts' comments included the following: "They talked about specific examples related to our work, and I was impressed by the breadth and depth of their views." "There were many questions that could only come from a woman and showed great concern for maternal and child health and gender issues." "It gave me motivation for my future work."
*Link to JICA full-featured website