Message from JICA

n_director-4743283 Uncategorized

n_director-4743283 Mr. Kimiaki YAMAGUCHI Director General JICA Tokyo International Center

Japan International Cooperation Agency

For more than 20 years, Japan International Cooperation Agency has organized two training courses, “Leaders of Persons with Disabilities” and “Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Promotion of Persons with Disabilities” to promote the creation of a society in which persons with disabilities can take part. To date nearly 400 people have attended the two courses.

During this same period of time, global society has undergone a rapid transformation. However, according to a UN report, only a limited number of persons with disabilities enjoy the same rights as citizens without disabilities in schooling, employment, and other realms, even though more than two decades have passed since the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981.

Various trends have taken shape that can be expected to influence the status of persons with disabilities in the future. People have come to emphasize the importance of information and communication technologies as a means of improving the lives of people in developing countries as well as enabling the creation of networks among persons with disabilities and breaking down the barriers to information they have faced until now. In the United Nations, a draft convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities is now being deliberated by an ad hoc committee. JICA’s training courses have also evolved in response to the changing times, with the countries targeted for participation expanding from the Asia-Pacific to include Africa, the Middle East, and South America

The United Nations, other international organizations, and institutions in specific countries working for the good of persons with disabilities have undertaken a variety of programs, but their efforts have not succeeded to effect sufficient improvement in the status of individuals with disabilities. JICA has likewise made many efforts, but its achievements have not been adequate.

In response to this situation, JICA teamed up with the Japanese Society for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities in April 2004 to implement a follow-up program for participants in the two courses. As part of the program, a questionnaire was sent to ex-participants on what kind of support they need back home. The findings reveal that information and a venue for exchanging views are considered a priority.

On the basis of the survey results, a decision was made to create this Web site and promote exchanges among ex-participants. Frequent updates will be made to ensure that participants have access to the latest news on issues affecting persons with disabilities in Japan and overseas, details of the training courses, and other information.

The site, however, is designed not just to provide a one-way delivery of information but to be an interactive venue where the voices of ex-participants can be heard. The views expressed here will help shape future training programs. But they can also serve another, equally important purpose.

Among 400 ex-participants, a few have undoubtedly experienced great success implementing programs after returning home. But many more have likely encountered difficulties in their attempts and continue to struggle even today. It is our hope that this Web site will be used as a place where ex-participants can exchange views, offer advice, and build a network to facilitate the implementation of their projects back home.

Today, South-South cooperation is receiving growing recognition as an important configuration in the world of international cooperation. JICA believes that ex-participants and their organizational expertise constitute an important human resource, and it is now seeking to uncover a new model for international cooperation based on an enduring and vital alliance between ex-participants and its technical project. This Web site, it is hoped, will not only strengthen the bonds between JICA and ex-participants but become the springboard for collaborations between ex-participants and other countries that hope to receive cooperation.

Copied title and URL