July 23, 2019
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) celebrates the 40th anniversary of the dispatching of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) to the Solomon Islands this year. As part of celebration, some stories of past JOCVs will be shared in Solomon Star. The fifth author is Mr. Kenji Ito who has worked at the National Museum from 1993 to 1995 as a JOCV and currently works as a representative of the NGO Asia Pacific Sustainable Development (APSD).
* The public event for celebrating 40th anniversary of JOCV dispatchment will be conducted on 20th July at the National Art Gallery. The detailed information will be announced.
Author Profile No.5
Kenji has worked at the Solomon Islands National Museum from 1993 to 1995 as JOCV for a field of Audiovisual Education, mainly for recording and preserving intangible cultural images. Currently, as a representative of the NGO Asia Pacific Sustainable Development (APSD), while providing RTC operation support in Malaita Province, he has been supporting the Solomon Islands and Japan Network through exchange programs and disaster rehabilitation assistance.
"From a bond that was almost broken—Development to JOCV Solomon Islands"
As a former member, I would like to offer my congratulations for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of JOCV's dispatch to the Solomon Islands.
It has been a while (about 25 years) since I first visited the Solomon Islands as a JOCV. I can only say that I am fortunate to be involved in Solomon Islands as an NGO, but the cause goes back to the Ethnic conflict that occurred in the late 1990s.
At that time, the appearance of the Solomon Islands, which were formerly called the Happy Islands, changed due to the conflict and became exhausted, and JOCV was forced to temporarily evacuate due to the worsening security situation. As the means of support was cut off from Japan, I think that the start of volunteer support activities as a former JOCV member at the time was due to feeling of gratitude to the people in the Solomon Island who treated me like family.
NGO APSD, to which I belong, was established as a result. Starting from maintain law and order improvement program, I am currently helping to operate the Rural Training Center (RTC) in Malaita, but that time, I called for the resumption of JOCV dispatch, and it feels like yesterday that I was involved in activities with the desire to cover the absence of JOCV in the Solomon Islands.
There is no doubt that Japan and the Solomon Islands have deepened friendship through JOCV over long period of 40 years, but I feel that it is unfortunate that the relationship may become weaker upon return to Japan. While praying that there will never be a crisis such as a conflict again, I wish the best for the future of the Solomon Islands, which is like a second home for many volunteers, the construction of a new bond to connect the next generation, and the further development of friendship between the Solomon Islands and JOCV Solomon Islands.