ラオス発展の目撃者~29年間を顧みて~

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日本は長きにわたり、私の国、ラオスの発展を後押しする最大のドナーとなっています。私はJICAラオス事務所で29年間、青年海外協力隊部門とプロジェクト部門を担当し、プライベートを含めて、数多くのすばらしい出来事を経験しました。

1980年代後半~1990年代半ばを振り返ると、交通や通信手段の面で、多くの困難を伴いました。これは北部の僻地や山間部に限らず、国全体について言えることでした。例えば当時、事務所にはコンピューターもなければ、電話もファクスもありませんでした。東京のJICA本部とタイムリーに連絡をとる唯一の手段は、電報でした。

数多くのプロジェクトにおいて、計画と実施の両面に積極的に関わることができました。例えば河川港、バスターミナル、空港、小学校の校舎、県立病院、通信設備といったものの整備や、村落部開発プロジェクト、人材育成プロジェクトなどが含まれます。さらに農業振興、文化振興および保存、そして知名度も評価も高いJICAボランティア事業などによる支援も行われました。

この29年間、JICAで仕事をしてきたことで自分自身も成長し、海外での研修に参加するなど、キャリアを形成するこの上ない機会にもなりました。JICAラオス事務所でのさまざまな業務を通じていただいた温かなご支援、ご協力に深く感謝するとともに、ラオスと世界中にいる同僚たちや仕事の関係者の皆さまの幸せをお祈りしています。

コープ・チャイ・ラーイ・ラーイ(ありがとうございました)。

(Original text written by Sophonh KOUSONSAVATH)

Like many working folks of a certain age, the steady march of time has me looking back upon my career as I prepare for new adventures to come. In my case, the personal and professional highlights have been plentiful over a not-too-insignificant period of some twenty-nine (29) years’ working with Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Laos office. As you may know, Japan via JICA has long been the top donor for development in my country, the Lao PDR. During this period I have served the JOCV section (from 1989 to 1995; 2011 to present), and implementation (1996 to 2010).

Looking back on the period 1989 to 1996 when the then-Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) office was commissioned, it was indeed a more challenging time in terms of transportation and communication, not only for the nation’s remote and mountainous Northern parts, but also for the country at large. It might be difficult for younger colleagues to imagine today, but at that time, there were no computers in the office, any telephone or even fax machines. Timely communication with JICA Headquarters in Tokyo was only possible by telegraph. Travel to remote parts from North to South of the country was no easy feat, with transport limited to hardy yet basic old Russian-built helicopters & trucks, and overland travelers faced very poor road conditions. These were among the challenges to the improvement in implementing JICA activities from 1996 to 2000. A limited number of National staff have provided support to various schemes of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Lao PDR.

Via a myriad of projects, working with JICA has allowed me to be actively involved in both planning and implementation. During my time at JICA Laos Office, ODA programs have been implemented to develop social and economic infrastructure including river ports, bus terminals, airports, primary school buildings, district hospitals, health centers, irrigation systems, bridges, roads, water supplies, sewage systems, telecommunications, rural development projects as well as the development of human resources. Moreover, support has also been provided to improve food security, agricultural promotion through KR-I & KR-II(*), cultural promotion and preservation and the well-known and highly-regarded JOCV volunteer program.

Together, the Lao PDR & Japan are continually contributing shared efforts to achieve common objectives of peace and prosperity at home, in the region and wider world.
Like my compatriots in Laos and so many more folks elsewhere, I appreciate the continuing support from Japan and cooperation for the benefit of people of both countries and beyond. On a personal note, I am so pleased to tell all that working with JICA over the past 29 years has provided such an extraordinary chance to grow up and develop my own career under the umbrella of JICA.

Thanks to JICA, I have had the chance to benefit from several training courses. These have included the following: a) Regional Staff Training in Indonesia (certified on March 22nd, 1995); b) National Staff Training in Japan (certified on October 28th, 1999); c) Third Country Training Program in Thailand (certified on October 12th, 2007); and d) Project Management in Public Investment in Asian Institute of Management, Philippines (certified on September 8th, 2010). Now, as I look ahead to my own future steps with more time to spend with family and friends, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and profound gratitude for all the kind support and cooperation extended to me during my various assignments with JICA Laos Office. With this in mind, I would like to sign off on this occasion by wishing all colleagues and counterparts in Laos and worldwide all the very best now and in the future. Arigatou Gozaimashita! Khobjai lai lai!

(*)Food security project KR-I = JICA provided rice to the Lao PDR under Kennedy Round-I project.
Agricultural promotion project KR-II = JICA provided construction machinery (tractors, bulldozers..) under Kennedy Round-II project.



(関連リンク)

各国における取り組み ラオス

【写真】

ラオスにおけるボランティア事業開始50周年を祝うイベントでJICA事務所のみんなと(右端が筆者)

【写真】

首都ビエンチャンで毎年開かれるイベントで、ボランティア事業で作成した地元産品を販売する様子

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