Participants’ thoughts: JICA

Photo: Victoria Grove

Wednesday 16. December, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) welcomed MIRAI program participants to learn more about their work for vision for a fruitful, inclusive and dynamic development for all . Maarja, Thor and Jana reports from the visit:

We arrived at JICA headquarters around 3.30 pm and started with at short introductory video about the organization and their work in general followed by a presentation by the chief economist Mr. Koki Hiroka. He talked about different recent missions around Asia and Africa. For example, we heard about a project in Tuvalu (2009-2014) – a sinking island state of 5000 people – aimed at stopping the deterioration of the land masses disappearing to the sea as a result of climate change. He also briefly introduced the official development assistance, i.e. Samoa-Okinawa partnership of technical exchange to provide the people with clean water. Finally, Mr. Hiroka mentioned JICAs approaches for the future, which are cooperation enhancement, poverty reduction through sustainable growth, combating disparity and enhancing international community to address global challenges. Mr. Hiroka also briefly answered three questions about internal financing of JICA, conditions needed to fulfil to participate in loan programs and cooperation with other international agencies. Unfortunately, there was no time to go into details.

After Mr. Hirokas presentation, we had the opportunity to meet previous volunteers and have a look at the interactive exhibition about JICA`s projects. The exhibition helped the visitors to put themselves in the shoes of people living in developing countries by showing their everyday challenges. It also promoted active participation in the helping process, and showed how volunteers contribute to the development process. We heard many interesting personal stories from the volunteers who were present at the exhibition and willing to share their experiences.

The presentation gave us an idea of how Japan is an internationally important actor in the area of developmental aid. The solidarity of JICA was very striking and stemmed from the help Japan received in the first half of the 20th century.

Victoria sums up the visit with the following comment:

The JICA visit was brilliant as we got to hear about how JICA invests its development funds, the types of projects it focuses on and also speak directly to people who have already volunteered, for example in Ethiopia teaching Physical Education. The JICA programme is evidently very prestigious and a tough but fulfilling 2 years voluntary experience for those who have the opportunity to take part.“.

You can learn more about JICA’s work here!

On this day, MIRAI program participants very happy to learn more and visit these companies:


Edo-Tokyo Museum

Haneda Chronogate

Fuji Manufacturing

Thank you all for the hospitality and Victoria, Maarja, Thor and Jana for the report and pictures.

Photos: Victoria Grove & Jana Stehlíková

Photo: Victoria Grove
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