September 17, 2015
After about four decades of Zambia receiving Japan Overseas Cooperation volunteers (JOCV's), a good number of our local people, both in rural and urban areas have come into contact with JICA volunteering youths. However, the same cannot be said about senior volunteers.
The first senior volunteer was dispatched in 1990, by then referred to as Senior Cooperation experts, a term which was later revised and shortened to Senior Volunteer in 1996. In Zambia, however, the first Senior Volunteer was only received in April 2001.
Senior volunteers bring uniqueness to volunteerism; going by the words of Ralph W. Emerson, "The years teach much which the days never know". Several years of experience in a particular field is an invaluable tool to volunteers' contribution.
It is unfortunate that in the past 14years, only 69 senior volunteers have been dispatched to Zambia, but, the past two years have shown an increase in number of senior volunteers requested and consequently dispatched to us. Some of the fields that senior volunteers are currently dispatched in include Nursing and Public Health, Business Administration, Veterinary, Medical Instruments, and Automobile Maintenance.
As insight into what kind personalities and professional experiences are attached to senior volunteers, a brief account of personal history has been made by Mr. Yasushi Sawamura, a senior volunteer at Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) who came to Zambia earlier this year:
"I used to work at IBM HQ in NY and IBM Asia Pacific in Tokyo for 30 years after worked for SONY in late 1970s. I had led the jobs on the Corporate Strategy, Business Transformation and M&A, Consulting, Sales and Marketing. I supported key sectors including Manufacturing, Distribution, Finance and Enterprise Business.
I like Zambia and the people who are very kind, polite and respective. I have met with 72 Zambian companies for two months as a Business Advisor. They are in 18 industries including Agriculture, Food Process, Textile, Trade, ICT, Equipment, Auto, Distribution, Tourism and others. I have visited the key client offices and factories to understand their environment and provide business advises to develop their strategy for their success even small companies. I have been finding that Zambia has lots of growing opportunities and is safe and politically stable.
I have visited over 60 countries and this is the first time to live in Africa, so that I am looking forward to working with people in Zambia for two years. I really appreciate the JICA volunteer programs and hope I could deliver my value to make better relationships and expand business between Zambia and Japan."
Volunteerism is not an easy thing but, more special and ever more challenging is doing it much later in one's life. I think the uniqueness of senior volunteers is not only their experience but their dedication and drive to still contribute to the wellbeing of others. For Zambia, our hope is to continue to receive like other volunteers, more senior volunteers.
With this, I end by welcoming our new batch of fifteen (15) volunteer's batch 27-1, to Zambia. I am glad to say that three are senior volunteers in this group; another step in our strides to have an experienced pool of volunteers, bringing a different set of eyes in seeing what we need to do in various fields of development.
If you need further information please ask JICA Zambia Office.
JICA Zambia Office Programme Officer