THE Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) volunteer programme has been hailed for transforming the education and lives of youths in Zimbabwe.
The JICA Volunteer Programme involves Japanese citizens in supporting socio-economic development in Japan's partner countries with a mission to contribute to inclusive development and to promote goodwill, and international understanding.
Addressing journalists on a tour of the institution where the programme is being implemented in the Midlands and Bulawayo provinces recently, Mkoba Teachers College principal Martin Mukwazhe said the programme had upgraded their information communication technology department after two volunteers were seconded to the institution over the past two years.
“The programme has been of great importance, we were lacking in many areas at the institutions but thanks to the two volunteers that are here, we have made advancements.
“For example, we were lagging behind in technological advancements but with the help of our volunteer in the ICT department, we are now competing with current global trends. Our students have also received training and can also compete globally as a result,” he said.
Acting principal of Bulawayo Polytechnic Chiedza Masanganise said the programme had become a game-changer at the institution.
Government official Arnold Makonese said the programme had strengthened relations between the two countries.
“We are elated with the kind of co-operation between Zimbabwe and Japan in terms of the exchange programme. From what they have demonstrated, there is much progress on the work being done and as government, we pledge to continue with the good relations,” he said.
JICA country representative Shigeki Furuta pledged continued support, not only on the volunteer programme but in all aspects.
“We currently have 10 grantees (volunteers) here for the programme but we expect the number to double in the future. Besides the volunteers we have various programmes and we would like to continue our support to the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.