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July 20, 2017

JICA Volunteers Mark One Year into their Service in Ethiopia

PhotoMr. Shinchi is instructing students on swimming techniques

Using a vibrant display of clothing, music and hairstyles, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteers held their mid-term presentations on July 20th at Kenenisa Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 16 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) and one Senior Volunteer are currently serving in various regions in Ethiopia in the areas of: early-childhood education, primary education, science education, tourism and physical education.

Mr. Kotaro Shinchi, from Miyazaki prefecture in Japan, is a physical education instructor who joined Arba Minch University in Arba Minch city to: train lifeguards, give coaching seminars and organize sporting events in the city. Mr. Shinchi is a certified lifeguard, who received his education in Australia. His hope upon coming to Ethiopia was to pass on his skills and his love for swimming.

Within his first year Mr. Shinchi has been able to appropriately set up the Universities' swimming pool according to the swimmers skill levels; install safety measures around the pool, train three lifeguards in rescue techniques and has also developed methods for controlling the quality of the swimming pool water.

For the remainder of his time in Ethiopia, Mr. Shinchi would like to help get the lifeguards that he has trained achieve international lifesaver levels so that they can get certified. He is also working on a plan to make a filter system that will help clean the pool water. Mr. Shinchi ended his presentation by expressing a personal goal that he has for the remaining 12 months, "I would like to teach students how to swim, so that they too can then pass on what I have taught them".

Another JICA volunteer, serving in the same region as Mr. Shinchi, is Ms. Atsuko Kamihama, from Kanagawa, Japan. She is based in the Gamo Gofa Zone Culture, Tourism and Government Communication Affairs Department. In her first year, Ms. Kamihama was tasked with developing tourist attractions, developing information about the culture and heritage of the region and monitoring media and public opinion about Gamo Gofa Zone.

Among many achievements, Ms. Kamihama was able to develop tourist brochures for the department, get tourist attractions registered on Google Maps, visit various travel agencies in Addis Ababa to increase their awareness about tourist activities in Gamo Gofa Zone and produced souvenir items for the region. Using traditional scarfs, Ms. Kamihama was able to make multiple traditional pouches that would also hold roasted coffee beans from the region. The proceeds from the sale of these pouches would go towards developing the tourism sector in Gamo Gofa Zone.

PhotoMs. Kamihama presenting her hand-made souvenir pouches

PhotoMs. Kamihama presenting her hand-made souvenir pouches

Present on the occasion, Mr. Ken Yamada, Chief Representative of JICA Ethiopia, expressed how proud he was of the work that the volunteers are doing in Ethiopia and said he is looking forward to increasing the participation areas of the volunteers moving forward. Mr. Yamada also touched upon how this August will mark the 45th anniversary of Japanese volunteers in Ethiopia and that JICA will continue to support volunteer activities in the country. Over 700 Japanese volunteers have served in Ethiopia since 1972.

On July 5th, JICA was happy to receive 16 additional volunteers who will spend the next two years serving in: Addis Ababa, Arba Minch, Axum, Dire Dawa, Korem and Wkuro. The volunteers are currently undergoing an intensive one-month language and cultural sensitivity training program in Addis Ababa. They will be dispatched to their respective areas of service in mid-August.

PhotoJapan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) Batch 2016-1, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


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