Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers Programme Hailed

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith. (File)

Story Highlights

  • Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has hailed the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) programme’s contribution to Jamaica’s development over the past 30 years.
  • She noted that under the initiative, administered through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Jamaica has benefitted from the expertise of over 412 volunteers in various fields since it commenced in 1987.
  • Senator Johnson Smith noted that the various volunteers participating have also pledged their continued support for Jamaica’s socio-economic development through the transfer of specialised skills and knowledge to their local counterparts, particularly at the grass roots level.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has hailed the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) programme’s contribution to Jamaica’s development over the past 30 years.

She noted that under the initiative, administered through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Jamaica has benefitted from the expertise of over 412 volunteers in various fields since it commenced in 1987.

These include: education, the environment and disaster risk management, health, music, language, and gymnastics, the Minister said.

“The Government of Jamaica wishes to express its profound gratitude to the Japanese Government, (and) especially to the scores of volunteers who are dedicated to transforming the lives of Jamaicans, particularly those in vulnerable and at-risk communities,” Senator Johnson Smith said.

She was speaking at a recent reception held at the Paddington Terrace residence of Japan’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Masanori Nakano, in St. Andrew, to commemorate the programme’s milestone.

Senator Johnson Smith noted that the various volunteers participating have also pledged their continued support for Jamaica’s socio-economic development through the transfer of specialised skills and knowledge to their local counterparts, particularly at the grass roots level.

Additionally, she said the dynamic partnership and cooperation between both countries continues to be strengthened by ongoing bilateral exchanges at the highest level, citing Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe’s visit to Jamaica in 2015, and her sojourn to Japan in December 2016.

The Minister also praised JICA Representative in Jamaica, Kenji Tobita and the agency’s staff for their commitment and tremendous contribution, through the programme, to improving the quality of life of the people of Jamaica.

For his part, Ambassador Nakano said the celebration was a way of thanking the Government and people of Jamaica for fostering the friendship with Japan and extending support to the JICA volunteers over the years.

“The main aspect of the programme is that each volunteer lives among the people to whom they are dispatched. Currently, there are 31 senior and junior volunteers islandwide. They are actively and willingly working with the people in their assigned areas and are producing tangible results in their areas of specialisation,” he noted.

Ambassador Nakano emphasised that the Japanese Embassy was committed to enhancing the Jamaica-Japan partnership through: co-operation towards sustainable development; deepening bonds of friendship; and cooperation in the international community.

For his part, Senior Deputy Director General of the JOCV Secretariat, Kazuhisa Ari, who travelled from Japan for the ceremony, also expressed gratitude for the stakeholder support extended to the volunteers.

He noted that volunteers have been serving in diverse organisations to which they were assigned.

These include: the National Water Commission; Planning Institute of Jamaica; National Works Agency; Jamaica Business Development Corporation; Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management; Caribbean Maritime Institute; Jamaica 4-H Clubs; Municipal Corporations; Geo-Informatics Institute, University of the West Indies; and the Bureau of Gender Affairs, among others.

“Without your support, the volunteers, who have been credited with doing so much, would not be able to carry out their activities,” Mr. Ari said.

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