日本語   JCIE Japanese Language Site



Issue 2
July 2, 2002

Africa Global Link Project

by Tomone Kozen, Program Assistant, JCIE

The Africa Global Link Project (AGLP) is a program that is creating ties between the citizens of Japan and Africa. It is designed to bridge the gap in understanding between youths in the two countries through person-to-person exchanges. The Africa Global Link Project Japan Working Group, which supports the project in Japan, is composed of 30 members, most of whom have spent time in Africa as participants of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers program run by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

These members, located all across the country, launched this project with the goal of increasing global awareness in local communities and encouraging their contributions to global society, specifically with concern to Africa. This Japan Working Group, formed in April 1993, prompted the creation of counterpart groups in both Ghana and Kenya, consisting of about 10 people including some who have studied abroad in Japan. The Japan, Ghana, and Kenya groups work together to carry out the Africa Global Link Project, which is essentially a "school network" among the two African countries and Japan. This network links schools that emphasize industry-focused education, such as commercial and agricultural high schools. After choosing common themes that have a direct bearing on practical matters in life, the school network conducts "issue-based learning" as a coordinated effort in each of the three countries. Although many of the participating schools in Japan are concentrated in Kanagawa Prefecture, the participants also include schools in other prefectures such as Iwate, bringing regional variety to the program.

AGLP's Activities

Every summer, representatives from the participating schools in the three countries gather for the International Exchange Program, where they discuss the results of their research studies as well as their innovative research methods. By having these high school students exchange their research findings, this program gives them the opportunity to engage in practical learning and gain understanding of foreign cultures. It is hoped that the program will help to foster a generation that will strengthen the relationship between Japan and Africa in the future.

Forty high school students and teachers from both Kenya and Japan attended the seventh International Exchange Program, which took place in Kenya from August 1 to August 8, 2002. Certain conditions are imposed on the participants in the task of selecting their research projects: 1) they must use materials that are available locally; 2) they must conduct the project within a feasible budget; and 3) they must ensure that the results can be applied in the agricultural communities of Africa. As a result, the students' research projects included ones such as the manufacturing of paper from peanuts and the development of fuel using raw materials such as banana skins and used paper. All of the students made their presentations in English. In addition, each year, the program includes site visits to local technical facilities and factories related to the students' research tasks, as well as various exchange activities designed to enhance their understanding of foreign cultures, such as homestays and song and dance performances. The eighth program, to take place this year, will be held in Japan, and the participants will include high school students from Africa.

AGLP has been able to invite students and teachers from Ghana and Kenya to Japan for these activities due to its continuous fundraising efforts. In addition to these efforts, it is building a core network of human resources, for example in the form of program alumni who provide support for the activities in each country. Also, in Japan, AGLP is working to expand its organizational base, for example through efforts to generate its own income by selling crafts from Africa. Through AGLP's activities, it is expected that the sphere of grassroots-level understanding and cooperation between Japan and Africa will continue to expand and grow.


Please send comments/inquiries to grassnet@jcie.or.jp.