Leadership Development of Persons with Disabilities

The Japanese Government extends official development assistance (ODA) to partner countries to support self-help efforts that will lead to economic progress and a better life for the citizens of those countries.

Since its foundation in 1974, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has implemented Japan’s technical cooperation under the ODA program. Currently, JICA conducts such activities as training, dispatch of experts, provision of equipment, project-type technical cooperation, development study, dispatch of cooperation volunteers (JOCV), survey and administration of capital grant aid programs.

The training program for overseas participants is one of JICA’s fundamental technical cooperation activities for partner countries. Participants come from overseas in order to obtain knowledge and technology in a wide variety of fields.

This course in “Leadership Development of Persons with Disabilities” first started in 1986. Up till today, the course has trained as many as 188 participants from 29 countries from Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America regions.

A unique characteristic of this course is that the participants have different disabilities. The cross disability helps to attain a holistic understanding of a wide range of disability issues. The participants are expected to proactively involve in lectures and workshops, and their self-reflection and their own experiences are considered to be valuable factors of this course.

Many of the former participants are now acting as strong community leaders and even as national leaders in the field of disability all over the world. Some have established new organizations for persons with disabilities, some have introduced the sports games of persons with disabilities, others have become leading figures in building a barrier free society, promoting education, employment, advocacy and human rights of persons with disabilities etc.

For more information of activities by former course participants, please visit our website “jicafriends” (URL: http://www.jicafriends.jp) This website aims to exchange ideas and to promote communication amongst former participants and strengthen global networks of persons with disabilities. It also provides the course information and other disability related information.

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