Jamaica Benefits from Expertise of Japanese Volunteers

Photo: Adrian Walker Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteer, Dr. Tsutomu Sakakiyama, points to a section of Port Royal Street, Kingston Waterfront, Ocean Boulevard, in need of rehabilitation during an Embassy of Japan press tour on Thursday, February 22. Journalists were taken on the tour to get a first-hand look at the work being undertaken by the JICA volunteer.

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica is benefitting from the expertise of Japanese personnel under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Volunteer Programme.
  • Established in 1974, JICA has been implementing Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) through cooperation, such as loan, grant and technical cooperation, which include JICA volunteer programme, training in Japan as well as technical cooperation projects.
  • The JICA volunteers are mainly involved in human resources development for the expansion of job opportunities, environmental conservation and disaster risk reduction.

Jamaica is benefitting from the expertise of Japanese personnel under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Volunteer Programme.

Established in 1974, JICA has been implementing Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) through cooperation, such as loan, grant and technical cooperation, which include JICA volunteer programme, training in Japan as well as technical cooperation projects.

Since establishing an office in Jamaica in 1989, a total of 425 JICA volunteers have worked in various areas of the island.

According to the Japanese Embassy, 36 volunteers are involved in activities throughout the island. They are assigned to public agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the Ministries of Education, Youth and Information; Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; Local Government and Community Development; Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports; Tourism; Economic Growth and Job Creation, and Transport and Mining.

The JICA volunteers are mainly involved in human resources development for the expansion of job opportunities, environmental conservation and disaster risk reduction.

Jamaican journalists were guided on an Embassy of Japan press tour of projects and activities receiving the attention of two JICA volunteers, Dr. Tsutomu Sakakiyama and Mio Akita, on February 22.

Senior Volunteer, Dr. Sakakiyama, who is assigned to the National Works Agency (NWA), has been assessing reports on coastal projects and coastal protection designs.

He previously worked at a research institute on the impact of waves and tsunami on coastal structures and has participated in field investigations on coastal erosion with officials of the NWA.

The design of a revetment wall along the Port Royal Street at the Kingston Waterfront (Ocean View Area) has also received his attention. Repair work which will be done at three critical areas will be completed in the 2018/19 fiscal year.

“This road is very important to Jamaica because the Port Royal Street connects with the international airport,” Dr. Sakakiyama told JIS News during an interview.

He is recommending that ditches be constructed on both sides of the roadway to improve the drainage system. He said the ditches will quickly drain off the sea water caused by high waves.

The senior volunteer, whose two-year tenure ends in October 2018, is preparing a textbook titled, ‘The introduction to water waves and beach erosion’.

Meanwhile, Miss Akita has been working at the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, as a Community Liaison Associate, since January 2017.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteer, Mio Akita, speaking at a sensitisation session on healthy and toxic masculinities, at Jamaica College in Kingston.

At the Bureau, she is responsible for creating public education materials on gender issues.

“I work in the communications area of the Bureau to enhance its visibility, so I create contents for Facebook and also update it with the new activities of the Bureau,” Miss Akita told JIS News.

She was one of two presenters of the BGA’s annual school education programme, which involves visits to schools, where issues such as gender, gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, are discussed.

Miss Akita also disseminates information on BGA’s policies and programmes as well as assists at community sensitisation activities, programme development and the processing of survey data.

Community Liaison Officer of the BGA, Kristal Tucker Clarke, in an interview with JIS, expressed appreciation for the work being done by Miss Akita.

“She has been a blessing to the Bureau, because at one point we were under-staffed, so it was Mia and I in the department. She was responsible for doing logistics, getting presenters, liaising with external partners, so she has really been a blessing and she works very hard,” she said, noting that the Bureau, which is mandated to ensure that women and men have equal access to resources and opportunities in Jamaica, serves the entire island.

“Mia has been to all parishes in Jamaica doing the work of the Bureau,” she added.

Prior to joining the BGA, Miss Akita served as the Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health Officer in the Global Health Policy Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.

JIS Social