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Network Magazine

Feature: Supporting South-South Cooperation

Case Study 1
A Demand-Driven Approach: Asia-Africa Knowledge Co-Creation Program

The year 2005 is an opportunity for Asia and Africa to reaffirm their solidarity, for the year marks the 50th anniversary of the Asia-Africa Summit held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. In this momentous year, JICA's support for South-South cooperation between Asia and Africa also took a new turn.

From Supply-Driven Approach to Demand-Driven Approach

Processing place for local food products.
Processing place for local food products.

The promotion of Asia-Africa cooperation has been one of the main pillars of JICA's support for South-South Cooperation ever since the Japanese government pointed out and reaffirmed the importance of promoting it at the time of the third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in 2003. From 1998 to 2003, for example, JICA, in collaboration with its Asian partners, provided training to more than 400 African participants.

In November 2004, JICA moved a step forward to seek ways that would reflect the needs of the African countries more directly into the development cooperation projects. Both Africans and Asians were invited for a three-day workshop held at the African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD) under the slogan "from supply-driven approach to demand-driven approach."

The workshop, Asia-Africa Partnership Workshop (AAPW), provided an opportunity for Asian partners, Malaysia and Thailand, to learn about the development needs of ten African countries, which are Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. As for the African partners, it served as an opportunity to learn about Asia's experiences that may be helpful and appropriate for Africa's development.

Asia-Africa Knowledge Co-Creation Program

At the conclusion of this workshop, JICA proposed a new initiative, the Asia-Africa Knowledge Co-Creation Program (AKKC program).

The program's aim is to provide an indepth sharing and exchange of knowledge and experiences with the goal of generating new knowledge, ideas, perspectives or approaches that would be appropriate and valuable to the development efforts in Africa. With the AKKC program as an umbrella program, several subprograms will be conducted covering different development themes such as rural community development, private sector development, health, education, etc. These yearlong sub-programs include a six-month Policy Research Project and seminars with presentations, discussions, and field visits that are designed to facilitate to the African participants formulate their own policy product through the Policy Research Project (See Chart 1 for the description of the process).

Sub-Program on Rural Community Development

Adding extra values to locally grown vegetable and fruit allow farmers increase their cash income.
Adding extra values to locally grown vegetable and fruit allow farmers increase their cash income.

This March, a sub-program on rural community development (RCD) kicked off in response to the broad potential of collaboration between Asia and Africa in this area, as found in the AAPW. The program has its focus on the institutional development of an enabling environment for rural communities and organizational capacity development of the multiple actors.

Fourteen participants from nine African countries - Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe - came together with Asian resource persons from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in Tokyo for the initial seminar.

The first half of the 18-day seminar was held in Japan. General concepts of RCD and various methods that had been employed in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia were introduced, following the presentations from African participants of their problems and issues on the subject.

After presentations on Japanese RCD methods such as KAIZEN approach (Livelihoods Improvement approach) and Jimoto-Gaku (A practice to learn and understand about our own local communities with fun), the field visits in Southern Japan helped the participants deepen their insights into each method by providing a chance to examine both what was successful and what might not have gone too well. Many of the participants showed particular interest in a particular community development method, where the idea is to add extra values to the local products and turn them into local specialties so that they'd bring in more money.

Participants exchanged ideas with a Thai farmer at his successful sufficient economy farm.
Participants exchanged ideas with a Thai farmer at his successful sufficient economy farm.

Then the group flew to Thailand for more field visits in Thailand's northern province of Chang Mai. The tour received full support from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DOAE) of Thailand, which is responsible for implementing RCD projects in the country. Destinations included Huay Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Center (a living natural museum for agricultural development), a successful sufficient economy farm, and promotional sites of the Thai version of the One Village One Product movement, exposing the participants to the local input.

JICA's Role, JICA's Hope

Each one of the JICA officials involved in this program hopes that this program serves as an opportunity for mutual learning, not only for African participants but also for Asian partners to make new and valuable discoveries. JICA appreciates the keen interest from the African participants and the support given by Asian partners, and feels confident that the African participants' enthusiasm in formulating their own projects will turn out beautifully. JICA will continue to serve as a mediator as well as a coordinator, seeing to it that the program will be carried out as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Time Table for the Sub-Program on Rural Community Development (RCD)

Phase I

1. Preliminary Analysis on Problems and Issues on RCD (Individual activity in each country)

Participants from Africa compile the Preliminary Report, which has the objective of facilitating to organize their ideas of RCD in each country and sharpen analytical points required for the initial seminar in Japan and Thailand.

2. Initial Seminar in Japan and Thailand: Knowledge Sharing on RCD

Participants share knowledge and experience on various methods on RCD through group work, case studies and field visits. Participants from Africa submit the Action Plan at the end of the seminar.

Phase II

1. Formulation of a Proposal as an Inception Report for a Policy Research Project (Individual activity in each country)

Participating organizations from Africa analyze key issues and problems of RDC in their countries, based on the Action Plan submitted at the end of the initial seminar, to formulate the Inception Report for a Policy Research Project, which shall be implemented with an Asian Partner organization.

2. Mid-term Seminar in an Asian Country: Identification of Asian Partner Organization for the Project

Participating organizations from Africa identify the Asian Partner organization for their Policy Research Project, which shall be implemented in order to come up with Policy Product through more knowledge sharing on each issue of RCD with the Asian Partner organization, which shall be implemented in order to come up with Policy Product through more knowledge sharing on each issue of RCD with the organization Asian Partner organization.

3. Finalization of the Implementation Plan as the Project Document (Joint Activity with an Asian Partner organization and JICA)

Phase III

1. Implementation of the Project (Joint activity with an Asian Partner organization)

Participating organizations from Africa implement the project in collaboration with their Asian Partner organization according to the Project Document.

2. Review based on the Result of the Project and Formulation of a Policy Product (Individual activity in each country)

Participating organizations from Africa formulate Policy Product based on the result of the project, and compile the Final Report of the entire subprogram.

Phase IV

1. Final Seminar in an African Country: Sharing of Created Policy Products among Participating Organizations

Participating organizations share policy products created through the process of the sub-program.


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