From October 4 - October 15, a total of 10 public officials from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru participated in a two-week training course held at APU. The training course was titled "One Village One Product Movement for the Andes Region" and was commissioned to APU by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Last year similar training was held for provincial governors and officials from central and provincial governments of the same countries, but this is the first year of a substantive 3-year plan for training.
The training consisted of theory and discussions about community capacity development, planning and evaluation, and the "Onpaku Approach." Additionally, trainees were able to attend a lecture at Oyama-machi's local Agricultural Cooperative, stay overnight with a Japanese family, and visit Souja City in Okayama Prefecture for a field visit to learn about the development of the Onpaku Model.
Ms. Cecilia Alvarez Salomon, who is National Coordinator for the OVOP Movement in Peru (Vice-Ministry of Tourism-Handicraft National Office, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR)), spoke about her experience at the training. "Through this training I was able to share a lot with my peers from South America – knowledge, experience, and examples of successful and unsuccessful initiatives. I learned that a focus on strengthening \'community capacity\' is more important than product development, and that we need to identify valuable resources within communities that can be used for their development. When I return to Peru, I want to explore new methods for developing agricultural communities in rural Andes that place high value on local culture and customs."
Since being commissioned by JICA in 2006, APU has received JICA trainees from many countries around the world. Another training program is scheduled for this December, with trainees from the Republic of Guatemala coming to APU.