The Japanese Overseas Volunteers.

JICA Volunteer Program in Rwanda

1. Introduction:

JICA's volunteer programs are implemented with the participation of Japanese citizens who wish to cooperate in the economic and social development as well as the reconstruction of developing countries. Through these cooperation activities, volunteers cannot only contribute to the development of partner countries but also gain valuable experience in terms of international goodwill, mutual understanding, and an expansion in their international perspectives.

In close coordination with the Government of Rwanda and local authorities, JICA has placed more than 350 Japanese dedicated volunteers in various parts of Rwanda since 1987. Of them, 35 are currently in place in different areas in the East, West, North and South Provinces (as of August 2023). Collaborating with local authorities and communities, JICA volunteers are actively engaging in cooperative development activities at all levels through innovative and strategic approaches.


2. Main Intervention Areas in Rwanda:

Agricultural Development: Boosting agricultural productivity and food security by sharing best practices in farming, crop management and sustainable agriculture techniques, also empowering local communities through income-generating activities. In addition, several JICA volunteers have been dispatched on coffee industry with collaboration with technical cooperation project for Strengthening and Promoting Coffee Value Chain.

Water and Sanitation: Supporting Districts in Eastern Province to avail clean water to the residents, on management of hand pumps and sanitation promotion. Using the experience and knowledge of JICA Grant aid Rural Water Supply Project completed in 2018, volunteers work in a good collaboration with JICA experts and staff in the sector for WASH.

Human Resource Development: JICA volunteers have been contributing to improve the quality of education in Rwanda for more than 10 years, by assisting primary and secondary schools, Technical and Vocational Education and training and Teacher Training Colleges. That is done with a special focus on Science and Mathematics Education.

Sport Development: Volunteers help coach and train sports teams in Rwanda. We recognize that sports can also be utilized to promote better health and social skills for children as well. Volunteers provide technical advice and training know-how to teams and players in fields of Track and Field, Football, Basketball, Karate, and Volleyball.

New Areas: It is expected that JICA volunteers will be dispatched in Areas of Nutrition, Support for People with Disabilities, and combating sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), following a new request by Rwandan government.

3. Successful Practices:

  • One volunteer of Water Security Action Team (W-SAT) successfully established handpump management system and provided training to the local authorities and communities in Rwabutazi cell, Kirehe District, on how to use the system. The volunteer installed QR codes on handpumps. If a handpump becomes damaged, anyone can now quickly share information through the QR codes, notifying the responsible person within the cell and requesting prompt repairs. This hundpump management system has significantly reduced the downtime for its repairs, which used to take a long time.
  • One volunteer in KABARONDO Sector supported Akagera coffee in boosting coffee tourism in their area, leading to an increase in tourists visiting their Coffee Washing Station and engaging in other coffee-related activities. He also supported Akagera coffee agronomist in writing a guidebook that contains lessons on farming methods, which was then distributed to local farmers with comprehensive trainings. These initiatives resulted in a significant increase in coffee production and quality, 130% from 151,091 kg in 2022 to 198,894 kg as of May 2023. This, in turn, improved the living conditions of coffee farmers in the sector.

Each volunteer spends valuable time in Rwanda, usually for two years (minimum of one month). The JICA Volunteer Program in Rwanda aims to contribute to Rwanda's development goals, promote cultural exchange, and strengthen the bond between Japan and Rwanda. Through this initiative, JICA seeks to make a lasting impact on the lives of Rwandans while fostering global cooperation and friendship.