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About the JICA Volunteer Program

What is the JICA Volunteer Program

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Volunteer Program involves Japanese citizens in supporting socio-economic development in Japan's partner countries. Its mission is to contribute to inclusive development and to promote good will, and international understanding.

The Volunteer Programs have two types:

Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV)

Young professionals are assigned to developing countries for two years to live with local communities. The volunteers focus on as many as 120 development areas, while fostering self-reliance and international solidarity through their volunteer work. Depending on local requests, a short-term volunteer may be dispatched for less than one year.

Senior Volunteers

Participants to this program want to contribute to international cooperation through their specialized knowledge and skills. Established in 1990 as Senior Cooperation Specialist Program then, the Senior Volunteers Program has involved retirees who want to continue to enrich their lives by offering their skills to help others.

History of the JICA Volunteer Program

Established in 1965, the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) is one of the programs of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aimed at providing technical assistance to developing countries at the grassroots level.

PhotoFirst batch of JOCVs who arrived in the Philippines on 22 February 1966

The first volunteers were dispatched in February 1966 and in the past 51 years, around 1,639 Japanese volunteers have been deployed here, making the Philippines one of the largest recipient countries in the world. This cumulative total includes the Volunteers who were deployed as Senior Cooperation Specialist/ Senior Volunteers.

In line with the Foreign Deployment Framework, the JICA Volunteers' community development programs and activities cover all the sectors in the country needing technical skills to make available livelihood opportunities for community members. Besides providing support in a variety of fields such as agriculture, trade and industry, governance, community development, education and health, the JICA Volunteer Program has likewise expanded its activities to include programs on artificial insemination, enhancement of practical works in science and mathematics, coastal resource management and education for children with special needs.

The JICA Volunteers believe that assistance at the local level deepens the understanding of cultures and traditions in building genuine friendships between volunteers and local people. Their experience benefits not only the local community but also the volunteers themselves as they strive to overcome the various difficulties they face in their work and personal relations.

Recognitions Received

  • The JICA Volunteers received the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia's Nobel Prize equivalent for promoting mutual understanding and solidarity, and in giving voice to the needs of grassroots communities.
  • A Special Citation on Volunteerism was also conferred to the JICA volunteers in the Philippines by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), for their contribution to human resource development in the country.

PhotoJICA President Shinichi Kitaoka (far right) and former JOCV Dr. Kenichi Kubota (second from right) at the Ramon Magsaysay Award ceremonies in Manila

Priority Areas

(1) Achieving Sustainable Economic Growth through Further Promotion of Investment

JICA Volunteers work with the community to enhance their administrative capacity and to develop the human resource for industries. They provide technical assistance to develop the trade skills of local people, improve product quality, develop new products/alternative industries, utilize available raw materials, establish networks and market products.

PhotoJOCV Kaori Nemoto assists MSMEs in Negros Oriental in branding and designing their products to boost its marketability

PhotoJapanese volunteer Akiko Nagata in Bohol Tourism Office

(2) Overcoming Vulnerability and Stabilizing bases for Human Life and Production Activity

JICA Volunteers deployed to various areas in the country assist in enhancing basic social service. They provide technical assistance in the field of education, health, environment, agriculture and social work. Likewise, they extend support to promote a more responsive environment to the socially vulnerable members of the community.

PhotoA local farmer and JOCV Keisuke Miyakawa work together to promote local organic farming

PhotoJICA volunteer Shinnosuke Amano teaches PWDs in New Lucena, Iloilo how to make non-toxic crayons

JICA Volunteer Dispatch Categories

  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries
  • Mining and Manufacturing
  • Human Resources
  • Health/Healthcare
  • Planning/Government
  • Public Works/ Utilities
  • Social Welfare Services
  • Business/Tourism

Dispatch of JICA Volunteers in the Philippines as of July 2017


Fast Facts

  • 51 number of years JICA's Volunteer program has been implemented in the Philippines since the first batch in 1966
  • 1,639 number of Japanese volunteers dispatched under the program as of July 2017
  • 20-39 age range of JOCVs dispatched to partner countries
  • 40-69 age range of Senior Volunteers dispatched to partner countries
  • 2 regular length of years a volunteer is assigned to a developing country


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