REPORT ON OFFICIAL TRIP TO SOUTH AFRICA NO. 3: PREPARING FOR OUR ACTIVITIES AFTER THE FISCAL YEAR 2018

[Original by Naoko WATANABE, South Africa Project/Manager of the Community Development Group (February 28, 2018); Translated by Y. Nakamura/S. Altman]

In continuation of the previous report (No. 2).

JVC South Africa is preparing for expanding our experiences and outcomes of activities from our current operating places to neighboring areas after the fiscal year 2018. Based on our experiences up to now, we anticipate that many difficulties are sure to arise in new areas of our activities. We asked people around us and obtained their advice about how to overcome such difficulties. We will make good use of it in investigating and making our plans from now on.

An interview with Mr. Ketho

I interviewed Mr. Ketho yesterday, who, with volunteers at a childcare center, has been carrying out various training sessions for young people in our current operating area.

Mr. Ketho was brought up as an orphan since he lost his parents at an early age. When he was a child, he attended training sessions similar to what JVC and himself offers now. He was impressed by the training sessions so much, and therefore he decided to deliver his experiences to young people like him. He studied so hard that he could go to university with a scholarship. Now, he is trying to increase, even slightly, the number of young people like him, who will create their future by themselves instead of giving it up under difficult conditions.

Mr. Ketho is talking with young people living at the JVC project sites about their troubles and worries in their daily life. Children love him so much because he had the same experiences as them and is very sympathetic.

We asked him the following questions:
Suppose that JVC tries to expand current activities in neighboring villages. We try conveying our experiences and outcomes to the volunteers at a childcare center. People at the childcare center, however, would expect JVC to bring them money or things instead of giving training or skills. How do you approach a new area and expand activities to be conducted with young people? How do you make it effective? How do you manage to make it sustainable and expand it to neighboring areas?

It is absolutely normal that people say to “strangers” like JVC that, “You are expected to bring money or things to us.” This is not limited to South Africa. I would respond in the same manner, if I were in the same position.

Whenever and wherever JVC begins a new activity, we will have the same problem. At the same time, it makes our activities really pleasant, interesting, and delightful if we could overcome the problem by mutually communicating and practicing, and consequently see people change themselves. Through such processes, we conversely learn a lot and always discover something. We are grateful for these experiences.

How to overcome problems on activities

Mr. Ketho explained clearly and in detail about how to overcome problems on activities from a “recipient of NGO’s assistance” viewpoint, which he got during his training sessions. He also talked about his subsequent experiences of teaching and spreading his knowledge to others. Although we had been working in South Africa for more than thirty years, we found that his viewpoint and advice were quite new to us . . . He is more experienced and trustworthy, even though he is only twenty-eight. All JVC staff is older than him, yet we have learned a lot.

Presently, we cannot explain in detail what was Mr. Ketho’s advice like, because JVC has not started the new activities yet. We will definitely utilize it and inform you of it if the new activities begin.

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