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.
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.
First 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.
JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka (far right) and former JOCV Dr. Kenichi Kubota (second from right) at the Ramon Magsaysay Award ceremonies in Manila
(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.
JOCV Kaori Nemoto assists MSMEs in Negros Oriental in branding and designing their products to boost its marketability
Japanese 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.
A local farmer and JOCV Keisuke Miyakawa work together to promote local organic farming
JICA volunteer Shinnosuke Amano teaches PWDs in New Lucena, Iloilo how to make non-toxic crayons