On 23rd June, 2017, the Embassy of Japan in Timor-Leste, in cooperation with JICA Timor-Leste, held a reception at the Ambassador’s residence to introduce their grass-roots level activities and achievements of the Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs). At the reception, two representatives of the JOCVs made presentations to share their experiences.
On the occasion of the reception, the JOCVs had an opportunity to make a courtesy call on H.E. Mrs. Cidalia Nobre Guterres, spouse of the President of Timor-Leste, at the Presidential Palace before the reception.
Currently, a total of 28 JOCVs are working as experts in government institutions, hospitals, schools and NGOs in Aileu, Baucau, Dili and Liquica. At the presentation, Mr. Shota Tokunaga, who is assigned to Football Federation of Timor-Leste, to coach U12 and U14 team, gave a presentation in Tetum, sharing with the participants his hands-on experiences and the challenges he faced during his two years of service. Another Tetum speaker, Ms. Ai Chikayuki, who has been working at the National Rehabilitation Center as a Physical Therapist, presented her activities on impartation of her skills and development of guideline regarding physical therapy.
Other JOCVs have been contributing to the human resources development in Timor-Leste in the fields of community development, assistive products for physically challenged, nutrition, nursing, physical education, tourism, TV program production, vegetable growing, cooking and etc.
The JOCV program has a long history. It started in 1965, and it marked the 50th year in 2015. In Timor-Leste, two JOCVs were first assigned to the national NGO “Ba Futuru” for youth education as short-term volunteers in 2010. With the outstanding results making a positive impact on the youth of Timor-Leste, JICA, the JOCV’s detachment agency, decided to send full-term volunteers to Timor-Leste in 2011. So far a cumulative total of 49 JOCVs have been dispatched to Timor-Leste since 2010.
JOCV’s motto is “Together with Local Community”, indicating that they are eager to work together with local people and contribute to the social and economic development of Timor-Leste. Because of their expertise, locally-committed activities and fluency in Tetum, their performances are highly appreciated by a number of institutions in Timor-Leste, and the Timorese Government’s requests for the dispatch of JOCVs continue increasing to date.
In his remarks, Ambassador Eiji Yamamoto said, “JOCVs are not just normal youths, but they are youth with experience and expertise as professionals in the area of Health, Cooking, Hospitality, Education, TV Program, and etc”
Besides JOCVs, the presentation and reception were attended by a large number of guests from government institutions, development agencies, NGOs, and JOCV’s counterparts/partners.