ON Tuesday 26th February 2019, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Saint Lucia Office was pleased to welcome a group of nine University Volunteers from the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, the Hokkaido University and the Kagoshima University.
The group of students are currently attached to the Department of Fisheries within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-Operatives and will spend a total of 4 weeks on St Lucia where they will engage in a number of activities including workshops and cooking demonstrations.
During presentations to the National Trust and the Department of Fisheries, the volunteers outlined their mission while in Saint Lucia.
Glen Lake who serves as the Officer responsible for Communication at the JICA Saint Lucia Office boasted the long standing relationship between Saint Lucia and Japan as it would relate to volunteers: “The Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) was inaugurated in 1965, and is a principal programme of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Saint Lucia actually received the first Japanese volunteer in 1995 and that person was stationed at the Ministry of Education, meaning that this year would make it 24 years of service and friendship.”
Lake continued: “As usual our volunteers are “together with the local community” working closing with the southern extension of the National Trust and the Fisheries Division.”
Highlighting the importance of the projects to be undertaken by the volunteers, the communications officer referenced the “Sargassum issue” that has been plaguing the region and stated: “We as a single island nation cannot move forward and overcome difficulties without looking at best practices of others and applying it to our society and reality.”
The Japanese volunteers are expected to engage students from various schools during their stay in Saint Lucia as part of the sensitisation aspect of their projects.