For many years, JICA has considered the importance of gender issues and developed a basic strategy for implementing gender-responsive projects. JICA has also established an organizational framework for gender mainstreaming.
Actual assistance includes strengthening organizational capacity and creating policies and systems for gender equality in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Nepal by supporting national machinery such as the Ministry of Women's Affairs. To promote the empowerment of women, JICA provides support in wide-ranging areas. JICA works to invigorate women's centers in Nigeria, nurture entrepreneurs, particularly women, in poverty-stricken areas of Mexico and Honduras, and improve education for women in Yemen. Rather than focus solely on women, JICA conducts activities that will take root in society such as encouraging more women to go to women's centers by advertising on the radio in order to gain the understanding of husbands and other family members, and getting religious leaders to convey the importance of education for females to their fathers.
In this way, instead of projects in which women are the sole beneficiaries, efforts are made to ensure that the perspective of women is reflected in results and actions. In the forestry industry in India, in addition to simply employing women, additional support was provided to generate income so that they don't have to cut young trees to get wood; they can purchase alternative fuel instead. A plan to develop tourism in El Salvador is being formulated that will benefit both men and women by identifying their differing roles.
In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the need to address new issues in gender and development, such as trafficking in persons and other forms of gender-based violence. Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights that inflicts severe emotional and physical suffering on the victims, who are mainly women and children, but include men as well. It calls for prompt and appropriate response from a humanitarian perspective, as well as from the perspective of putting a stop to international organized crime. The Japanese government is taking measures to address the issue, and formulated Japan's 2009 Action Plan of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons originally established in 2004. Trafficking in persons is a complex and broad-ranging issue, and JICA is providing assistance focused on "prevention of trafficking in persons" and "protection and reintegration of trafficked persons" in Thailand, Viet Nam and Myanmar. It is critical to create a regional framework because trafficked persons move across borders. Regional seminars are held in Thailand and video conferences are conducted regularly that connect JICA headquarters with the three countries in order to share information on the situation as well as the measures being taken in each country.