September 30, 2001



Training Course on the Role of Agricultural Cooperatives to be Played in Activation of Rural Economy 2001

Twenty-four people applied for participation in IDACA's training course for 2001 on agricultural cooperatives' role in activating rural economy. Through the screening of applicants, IDACA admitted 14 persons from 13 countries, including two individuals. They were from Bolivia, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia (two persons), Mongolia, Paraguay, the Philippines, Romania, Thailand, Vietnam, Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania.

The course was administered nearly in the same manner as it was last year and ended with a success. In retrospect, the success of the year 2001 course may be attributed to the following factors:

1. The participants were cooperative with one another.

2. IDACA and JICA coordinators maintained close coordination and collaboration in on-site operations.

3. The way the course is administered has been improved on the basis of comments and suggestions from ex-IDACA participants, who, for example, hoped that a larger number of better-quality personal computers would be installed, etc.

4. Objectives of the training course, and the way the course is administered have been clarified in orientations given by IDACA.

The IDACA course emphasizes improvement in the quality of participants, as well as the learning of theories related to the development of agricultural cooperatives. Accordingly, a variety of ways have been devised to promote the collaboration, participation and disciplinary awareness of participants.

For example, IDACA lets the trainees voluntarily pick their leader every day, bow thanks to the instructors, clean blackboards, prepare moist hand towels for lecturers, and do other routines on their own initiative.

Moreover, IDACA has obliged the trainees to present daily reports on the evaluation of lectures this year, in addition to what have been practiced through past courses-preparation of a country report and a meeting on interim evaluation reports.

In response to requests filed from participants for improvement in training course administration, IDACA has significantly increased the number of English-speaking lecturers and increased lectures, the contents of which match the conditions of developing countries.

IDACA was impressed by the fact that a number of participants prepared country reports and action plans by drawing on online information available through the personal computers. Many participants were seen working nightly to study the conditions of their home countries through the Internet.

These have been made possible owing to the rapid dissemination of IT among developing nations, and lectures on the Internet are likely to become a common practice worldwide.

The participants went on study visits to Iwate Prefecture and Fukuoka Prefecture, spending one week in each prefecture. In Fukuoka, the participants visited the JA Training Center, where they saw an interesting workshopムone on personal reform. It perhaps gave the visitors an inkling of the curricula prepared for JA executives.

In Iwate, the group visited a kindergarten and a day-care center, both operated by a JA to learn the activities of Japanese multi-purpose agricultural cooperative societies. They enjoyed an overnight stay at farmers' homes as did all the participants in the past courses.