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May 12, 2017

[Scholarship Graduates] ABE Initiative (2): ABE Graduates and companies benefit from unique opportunity (Private Sector)

This series introduces scholarship graduates who keep striving towards a better future even after the completion of the program.

This time we focus on Mr. Abednego Osindi (MSc. Agricultural Science; Forestry, Kochi University) and Mr. Martin Alube (MBA, Innovation and Operations Management, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University), who got practical work experience at LIXIL Corporation, taking advantage of ‘Local Internship Program' which JICA Kenya office started uniquely.

* ABE Initiative: Master's Degree and Internship Program of African Business Education Initiative for Youth, launched by Japanese Prime Minister ABE in TICADV in 2013. Participants are from private sector, government officials and educators broadly.

When Abednego Osindi and Martin Alube returned to Kenya after their Master's and Internship program in Japan, they did not anticipate that they would have a second chance at an internship program in Kenya. Having successfully completed the African Business Education (ABE) Initiative program, they were raring to apply what they learnt in Japan.

The coordinated internship by JICA Kenya office in cooperation with LIXIL Corporation was a great opportunity for them. LIXIL is engaged in promotion of an Ecological Sanitation Waterless Toilet System, "Green Toilet System/GTS." This unique system does not use precious water for the transportation of human waste and therefore does not pollute ground water, rivers, lakes, seas and other water resources. As a result, the system, which LIXIL researched and developed in Japan, treats human waste safely for recycling – producing fertilizer.

PhotoMr. Martin, Ms. Yamakami and Mr. Osindi at the new waterless toilet under the GTS system

PhotoMr. Martin shows the former pit latrine, being converted into a new toilet under the LIXIL system

PhotoMr. Osindi shows tree seed nurseries that utilize the treated waste product as manure

PhotoThe interns discussing their experience with JICA’s Mr. Aizono

As an environmentalist, Osindi was very interested in promotion of Water and Sanitation initiatives. "I had misgivings at first, on hearing about the ‘waterless toilet,'" he says, "but later saw that it was very hygienic and cannot compare to a pit latrine." LIXIL is implementing activities in a collaborative project with the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) in Thika.

Ms. Yu Yamakami, LIXIL's Deputy Manager in Kenya, shares the objectives she had for the internship program. "Japanese business culture is unique, and the ABE Initiative graduates already understand it after working in Japanese companies," she says. "They have both given us very useful input that will help to improve our system."

She adds that she has encountered many people who gave their views about the project, but the candid feedback from the ABE graduates has been very useful. From the internship program, she also wanted to meet good personnel who can be potential staff in future.

On his part, Osindi wanted to learn how Kenyans are getting along with Japanese, and whether they adopt Japanese practices such as punctuality and way of work. Martin also noted that he is already seeing influence of Japan in Kenya, including from the local LIXIL staff who are thorough with their work and always on time, a trait that the graduates quickly picked up in Japan.

LIXIL is also conducting research on the use of the solid waste by-product in afforestation and reforestation. "We have learnt a lot about different types of trees and areas best suited for their growth," says Osindi. "We have also noted that the fertilizer is very good and safe, with laboratory tests proving that after treatment, there are no harmful organisms left in the waste. This is a big boost for promotion of agriculture, particularly planting of trees."

Osindi and Martin both note that during their short internship period, they have learned a lot that will help them in their future careers, including ideas of how they can contribute to benefit their communities. Ms. Yamakami is also happy she took the chance and offered them the opportunity, as they have proved to be good workers and offered invaluable advice to the company. The internship program is indeed a great initiative that will further promote a major goal of ABE Initiative, which is for participants to act as a bridge between Japan and their countries.


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