May 11, 2010
From April 4-23, a total of 18 public officials from nine African countries including Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria came to APU for JICA-commissioned three-week training program entitled "Community Capacity and Rural Development – Focusing on One Village One Product – for African Countries".
As the third installment of training that began last year, this training program was based on the concept of "capacity development"* and aimed to help participants stimulate rural development by propagating the One Village One Product programs around Africa. In addition to lectures covering theory, evaluation, and case studies of community development, trainees participated in lectures and on-site visits to Oyama-Machi and other locations around Oita Prefecture. They were also able to hear about Beppu Hatto Onpaku**, after which they experienced the program first hand. In Oyama-Machi, the trainees were able to stay overnight in family lodges and interact with the locals.
CHIKADEWA Rodson, Head of the Department of Trade at Malawi's Ministry of Industry and Trade, spoke about his experience at the training, "I was impressed by how people love their community very much. People knew what they want, and it was great to see that people were willing to help each other. I would like to utilize the knowledge that I gained here when I get back to my country, and also to implement the action plan that we made here. Although we still have many challenges in Malawi such as product quality, opening up new markets, and developing leaders, I see a bright future for the OVOP initiative and I hope that our goods will soon be available throughout the country".
Since being commissioned by JICA in 2006, APU has received program trainees from all over the world. Due to Oita's international reputation as being the origin of the One Village One Product movement, in 2009 APU received JICA training groups from Africa, ASEAN, Chile, Asia, Indochina and Pacific regions. Eight programs are already being planned for AY 2010.
*Community Capacity Development
This process involves the improvement of local community skills to deal with regional issues at the individual, organizational and social level.
**Beppu Hatto Onpaku
An abbreviation of "Beppu Hatto Hot Spring Expo," Onpaku is a community-level urban development project held since 2001 by Beppu City residents and is engaged in regional development centering on hot-springs.