In March this year, four development experts from Forum member JICA returned to Japan after their various in-country assignments and were granted the rare privilege of an audience with Their Imperial Highnesses Prince, Princess Akishino and Princess Mako. During the meeting each were given the opportunity to speak about their achievements on placements in Africa and Asia, which included:
- Specialised human resource training in agriculture in Myanmar – Koji Tanaka (formerly of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University) worked as Chief Adviser for a capacity development initiative at Yezin Agricultural University, Myanmar’s only agricultural university. His project supported new curriculum materials and interdisciplinary research activities, and drove teaching improvements at the University.
- Scaling up ‘forest farming’ in Ethiopia – Shinji Ogawa (of IC Net Limited) was team leader for a project that involved small group training in planting cereals, horticultural crops and fruit trees.
- Improving the national highway in Laos – Kiminari Takahashi (International Development Center of Japan Incorporated) was responsible for a project to improve road maintenance in Laos. A key outcome was the rehabilitation of an entire section (240 kilometres) of National Road No.9, cutting travel time in half.
- Raising standards of maternal and newborn healthcare in Senegal – Miho Goto (National Center for Global Health and Medicine) served as Chief Adviser to the Senegal Ministry of Health’s nationwide scale up of the “Project for Reinforcement for Maternal and Newborn Health Care” which involved training health care providers and raising awareness among local residents.