For 20 years Rwanda has been steadily rebuilding a country shattered by a catastrophic genocide in the early 1990s. For nearly a decade, the Japan International Cooperation Agency has been instrumental in bolstering that rehabilitation process.
After establishing an office in the capital, Kigali, JICA has provided financing, technical assistance, experts and volunteers in many sectors of the economy.
Education is key to the country's continued well-being and JICA has assisted at all levels, from primary school education to IT training and encouraging private industry and entrepreneurs.
It has encouraged the fuller participation of women in all areas of social and economic life.
Programs have strengthened water and sanitation facilities and have encouraged the safer use of water to improve health standards even in the remotest villages.
The agricultural sector, including rice and horticulture, has been strengthened, as has the country's electrical power supply and infrastructure, such as through the construction of a key bridge linking landlocked Rwanda with neighboring Tanzania.
Rwandans who have undergone JICA training in many fields also formed an alumni association with the aim of bolstering the economy.
Born in England in 1944.
Journalist. Former JICA public relations adviser (2005 to 2013).
Covered multiple conflicts including the Vietnam War as a United Press International correspondant and Newsweek reporter.
From 1992, as spokesman for the UNHCR, was engaged in editing and other aspects of its PR publication Refugees Magazine.
Education, from early primary school to IT and encouraging entrepreneurship, is key to Rwanda's future, and JICA is assisting in all fields.
There is a new saying in Rwanda: "The woman is the pillar of business." Women increasingly are playing an important role in all areas of the country's economy, from flower growing to tourism and coffee production.
JICA is assisting Rwanda in improving all aspects of its vital water and sanitation development. Projects range from developing basic infrastructure to providing secure and clean water and teaching young children the importance of washing their hands properly and cleaning their teeth to enable them to lead healthier lives.
A bridge linking Rwanda and Tanzania became notorious as an escape route for hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing the country's troubles 20 years ago. Japanese engineers have just completed a new bridge at Rusumo dedicated to improving the country's economy.
In the aftermath of Rwanda's troubled 1990s period, one of the most difficult tasks facing the country was to reintegrate into mainstream society both former combatants and large numbers of disabled persons. Japanese experts and volunteers have worked for several years in training centers around the country to assist these communities.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Rwanda's economy and rice production is playing an increasingly important part in the process. JICA has helped local cooperatives to both significantly improve yields and to involve women more closely in rice production.
Rwanda for several years has enjoyed robust economic expansion. Key to continued growth is improved power supplies. JICA has helped finance the rehabilitation of substations across the Central African nation and its distribution network.
Rwanda and the rest of Africa are in the middle of a communications revolution. One enterprising entrepreneur has developed a mobile solar kiosk he hopes will enable villagers in even the remotest areas to both charge their mobile phones and gain better access to the World Wide Web.
Japan for many years has helped train Rwandans in many fields. Some of those recipients formed a JICA Alumni Association of Rwanda that itself is now using the accumulated experience of its members to work in such areas as agriculture, IT, education and electrical power.