Japan is increasingly focusing on Africa with the upcoming 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development in June 2013. In recent years of economic development, many African countries are changing from countries that receive donor aid to nations that can explore new types of partnerships with Japan.

In due consideration of this, the Japan Overseas Cooperation Association (JOCA), an organization chiefly formed of Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), planned an African youth volunteer programme in the disaster area of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The reasons were as following.

  1. To provide opportunities for African countries to contribute to the recovery of the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster area as partners rather than countries that receive donor aid.
  2. Japan has dispatched approx. 37,000 volunteers to 85 countries through the JOCV programme. One third of these volunteers 12,000 in number were dispatched to 26 African countries. *
    * Total numbers include volunteers currently in service as of January 2013. Data from Secretariat of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer, Japan Overseas Cooperation Agency (JICA).
  3. Japan has numerous youth exchange programmes accounting for several ten thousand youth of Asian and North Americans etc, but very few youth exchange programmes with the youth of Africa, including private and public programmes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries. 


volunteer members
Volunteers and Mr. Kaneko, President of JOCA

This time, 7 youths from Africa will come to Japan from the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps (2 from Kenya and Cameroon respectively and 1 from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mozambique respectively). Upon arrival they will have orientations and Japanese lessons. From April they will work with JOCA staff, former JOCVs, in disaster recovery programmes and international cultural exchange events over a period of three months. In June they will also participate in a side event of TICAD 5.

The former JOCV’s who volunteered in Africa now work to bridge the gap between Africa and Japan in a variety of sectors such as international cooperation and private enterprises. JOCA aims to develop the next generation of leaders to bridge the gap between Africa and Japan through this bidirectional volunteer programme. 

 JOCA-AU Youth Volunteer Corps. Collaboration Programme/ 1st bacth of volunteers

Programme Period March 17th to June 12th 2013
Nationalities of Volunteers Kenya 2, Cameroon 2, Ethiopian 1, Rwandan 1, Mozambique 1


7 volunteers of second group of this programme

In September 2013, 7 volunteers arrived in Japan as the 2nd batch of this programme. Having received training of Japanese language and studied about the region they work as volunteers, they are deployed  with former members of Japanese Overseas Volunteers who support recovery of Tsunami affected area and also the local revitalisation in Tohoku region, Iwate and Miyagi prefecture.

2nd batch of volunteers

Programme Period September 22 to December 11, 2013 
Nationalities of Volunteers Ethiopia 2, Kenya 2, Nigeria 2, Cameroon 1


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