Post: Chief Urban Planner, Department of Human Settlement,Ministry of Works and Human Settlement
Name: Mr. Ugyen M TENZIN
Name of the Training Program: Strategy for Resilient Societies to Natural Disasters
Duration: January 12-March 7, 2015
Fourteen participants from eight countries attended the course of “Strategy for Resilient Societies to Natural Disasters” left Japan one day after the Closing Ceremony held on March 6th (Friday). Ugyen-san delivered a Thank you speech at the ceremony on behalf of all the fellow participants. Ugyen-san also sent message from Bhutan after returning home.
My name is Ugyen Tenzin and I am a participant from Bhutan.
Today, I have the honour of making this speech on behalf of my friends, fellow participants from Brazil, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey and Bhutan.
It is nearly two months since our arrival here at the JICA Centre, 8 weeks of intensive learning, almost 60 days of observations and many hours of reflection. It’s easy to count the number of months, weeks, days and even hours we spent here, but we cannot put a figure on the lessons we learnt, the skills we acquired and the friendships and experiences we shared. Our lives have been touched and ours views have been altered for the better. All these have been made possible because JICA felt the pulse in our countries, understood our needs, committed its support and invited us here. Words are not enough, but still I will say thank you JICA, thank you very much.
We participated in the solemn yet inspiring events of the 17th of January - the Light of Hope ceremony, Memorial Walk and Offering of Flowers and Silent Prayers, and many more. We had the privilege of meeting the Honourable Mayor of the City of Kobe. We had the opportunity to interact with and learn from the professionals, experts and local residents. We now understand not only the meaning but also the special significance of words like Bokomi and Machizukuri.
We kept ourselves busy at other times too. We participated in the colourful One World Festival. We visited temples and shrines, castles and parks and made many trips to the shopping streets. We enjoyed Udon, Soba, Sashimi and some of us, occasionally, Sake too. We watched the stars from Nishi-Harima Astronomical Observatory and we enjoyed the million dollar view of the City of Kobe from Mt. Rokko. We listened to the advice of the elderly and we heard the aspirations of the young Japanese.
For all these we are grateful to the JICA Kansai, the KIC, the Kobe Institute of Urban Research, our advisors and the coordination team. You work with diligence and commitment, and seeing you work gave us a new understanding of the value of the opportunity given to us, the goodwill of Government of Japan and the generosity of the people of Japan.
We were humbled by the kindness of officials of various agencies, members of NPOs and volunteer groups, local communities, resource persons and individuals. They opened their doors to us, they trusted us with their personal stories and they shared their experiences and expertise. We assure you that your kindness will not be wasted. We will carry on in the same spirit. We will work to promote the wellbeing and safety of our communities. We will share what we have learnt. And we will strengthen the networks and friendships we developed here. It has indeed been a life changing experience, which we will always remember and cherish!
Thank you very much!
Domo Arigato Gozaimus!
Returning home, I realized how sorely I have missed my family left behind. But the JICA training programme has been an enriching experience. At work I am now able to see things a little differently, and sometimes in a different light. Even as I take a casual walk, I often find myself assessing my surrounding in terms of disaster vulnerability and the mitigation measures that exist or needs to be considered. It has indeed opened my eyes to alternative and multiple views.
A big concern for me, as my training neared completion, was the preparation and implementation of my individual Action Plan. As advised by our coordinators, I tried to propose a realistic and implementable plan. How successful its implementation will be is yet to be seen but I am convinced that a good start has been made. Using the skills acquired during my training, I managed to avoid saying ‘it was fine’ in response to queries on the training programme. The plan is relevant and still of interest to my colleagues.
I understand that the programme in Japan was scheduled to coincide with the events around the anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake on 17 January. Fortunately, this timing is also convenient for my Action Plan. Returning to office, I found my colleagues busy preparing projects for the next Financial Year starting in July. With the support of my supervisor and my colleagues, I managed to incorporate implementation of my Action Plan in my work plan. I am quite excited about its implementation. Hopefully, I will have a good story to share.
The article is edited by:
ARITA Miyuki, Training Management Division, JICA Kansai