Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers
Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (青年海外協力隊 seinen kaigai kyōryokutai?)  is a system of dispatching Japanese volunteers overseas operated by JICA. The offers include wide range of fields as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, education, health, etc. and more than 120 technical fields. More than 30,000 volunteers have ever been dispatched to more than 80 countries in Asia, Middle East, Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Oceania. The recruitment is held on April to May, and October to November every year. Japanese citizens aged from 20 to 39 are eligible for the application. It is commonly known by the acronym "JOCV".
The plan was started in 1957 after Japan joined Colombo Plan in 1954. After the Peace Corps was established by United States in 1961, the JOCV was established in 1965. The first volunteers dispatched to Laos in Southeast Asia.
After while, some related project was started. The Senior Volunteers (シニア海外ボランティア senior kaigai volunteer?) who are consisted elder citizens was established in 1990, the Youth Volunteers for Nikkei Communities (日系社会青年ボランティア nikkei syakai seinen volunteer?) and the Senior Volunteers for Nikkei Communities (日系社会シニア・ボランティア nikkei syakai senior volunteer?) who target Japanese emigrants in Latin America was established in 1996. As of 2000, the total number of JOCV was over 20,000. As of July 2013, the total number of JOCV was 38,300 and the number of countries was 88.
The JOCV work with a local organization such as a government office, a town office, a school. The JOCV's term is 2 years. But they can extend 1 year if they need.
As of July 2013, the JOCV were working in 71 countries and they used to work in 88 countries. The number of JOCV has a high percentage of working in Asia and Africa. And also they used to work in Europe where old Eastern Bloc and Turkey, but it has a low percentage of.
|Asia||Middle East||Africa||Latin America||Oceania||Europe|
|1st||Philippines||1,526||Morocco||927||Malawi||1,599||Honduras||1,140||Papua New Guinea||592||Bulgaria||250|
|5st||Sri Lanka||868||Egypt||220||Ghana||1,183||Dominican Republic||563||Solomon Islands||344||Turkey||2|
|Total||19 countries||11,156||6 countries||2,628||26 countries||12,404||22 countries||8,244||10 countries||3,262||5 countries||606|
There are more than 120 technical fields in 8 sectors. As of July 2013, the Education, Culture & Sports sector constitute about half of JOCVs who are working. And also, the sector constitute 39% of a cumulative total of JOCVs. The Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries sector and the Manufacturing & Mechanical Training sector constituted a large share of JOCVs, but now they constitute less than 10%.
|Public Administration||Public Works & Public Utilities||Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries||Manufacturing & Mechanical Training|
|1st||Community development||2,595||Telecommunication||558||Vegetable farming||1,379||Auto maintenance||1,316|
|2nd||Computer technology||1,380||Construction||555||Rice growing||681||Electronics||758|
|3rd||Statistics||74||Civil engineering||519||Animal husbandry||652||Machine tool||234|
|4th||Administrative service||36||Surveying||384||Animal health||404||Pottery||222|
|Business Management & Tourism||Education, Culture & Sports||Health & Medicine||Social Welfare|
|1st||Marketing research||162||Science & Mathematics education||2,584||Nursing||1,587||Special education||575|
|2nd||Tourism||135||Japanese language education||1,807||Infection & HIV/AIDS control||576||Social work||164|
|3rd||Quality control||34||Primary education||1,288||Midwifery||506||Industrial health & safety||117|
|4th||Business management||4||Youth activity||1,063||Public health nursing||452||Welfare equipment||22|
Japanese citizens aged from 20 to 39 are eligible for the application. The number of applicants peaked at 11,832 each year in 1994. However, as of April 2011, the number of applicants reached a nadir at only 1,351 each half year because Tōhoku earthquake and Arab Spring effected and the government cut benefits last year.
- First screening
The screening run the following areas on paper exam.
- Technological skills
- Language skills
- Second screening
- Interview - It include a practical exam if it is required.
- Health - If it is required.
Even if one passes the required technical examination, he or she can sometimes be rejected, because his or her technical backgrounds might be judged not to match for any requests from the countries of any choices. Therefore, there are some cases of being hired after some repeated examinations. There are also some other cases of hiring applicants of low technical capabilities, or rejecting those of high technical capabilies.
In terms of health check, the required medical standard is strict because serious health problems can occur in developing countries to even one who can live a healthy life in Japan. The required medical standard depends on what country they are dispatched to, because the medical levels vary from country to country.
The second screening result has 3 status 'passed', 'rejected', and 'registered'. As previously explained, some of applicants with high technical capability and without matching for requests can be 'registered'. They can be promoted to be 'passed' when some successful applicants turn the requests down to leave a hole, or some countries make more requests out of the recruitment period.
If applicants passes the second screening, they will start to spend 65 days training as JOCV members in either of 2 training centers: one in Komagane City, Nagano Prefecture and another in Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture. Which training center they are assigned to depends on what country they are going to be dispatched to. If they join JOCV after leaving their own offices, the period of unemployment benefit payments can be expanded of the day when they start training.
- Radio Calisthenics and Hoisting of the National Flags in the Early Morning
- Before Lunch: Learning each languages of the countries where they are going to be dispatched to
- Afternoon: Lecture of country studies, cross-cultural understandings, health managements, and emergency procedures
(vaccination times - once a week)
Food costs and lodging expenses are free while training. As charges of courses, 50,000 yen for one month is also supplied. The trainers are allowed to go out of the training centers after evening of Mon-Sat and on Sunday, but staying out overnight is allowed only on Sat-Sun. The volunteers are divided into 4 groups by the timing of dispatch. 1st group members are dispatched on June, 2nd group on September, 3rd group on December, and 4th group on March.
After return home
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2014)|
If the volunteer members have their own tenures in offices or are enrolled at colleges or universities, they return to their offices, colleges, or universities just after the flight back. In cases of joining JOCV just after graduating colleges or universities, or after leaving their offices and without job tenures, JICA provides them with career counseling services. Nevertheless, not so many Japanese private companies recognize their careers as JOCV members, thus it is not so easy for them to get their desired jobs. But some public offices or special governmental corporations tend to recognize the careers. Living in developing countries often makes them change in their senses of values or conceptions of lives, thus some get unadaptable to Japanese corporate cultures and the others take advantage of their new senses in international companies or organizations. If trying to join JOCV without a guarantee of employment, they should be mentally prepared to carve their own paths. Some people start working as volunteer-control workers, specialists, or contract workers of JICA.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2013)|
Essentially JOCV should be operated under requests from governments of developing countries, and aim to provide contributions in personnel. Nonetheless, the volunteers are sometimes dispatched as assistance projects in JICA's regional offices. In that case, they are often faced with disagreements among government officials , regional officials, and headquarters officials of JICA. So they have often difficulty getting along with them. On the other hand, they are often unable to do their good enough jobs and sometimes complain about their activities to shorten their terms, because of inefficient acceptance or handover mechanisms, which are very common in developing countries. Consequently, JOCV members are expected to be flexible enough to work around unexpected circumstances.
While some people who possess high knowledge and skills are dispatched for 2 years, their offices make vacancies, thus many companies or offices are not cooperative to let their employees join JOCV. However, the returned JOCV members can assist foreign students or apprentices and make connections with the countries of dispatch, which is also expected to help to promote international exchanges.
- http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/oda/white/2007/ODA2007/html/column/cl01001.htm JOCV activities
- "JICAボランティアの歩み". JICAボランティア事業について (in Japanese). JICA. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- "青年海外協力隊派遣実績". JICAボランティア事業について (in Japanese). JICA. 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- "JOCV activities in Timor-Leste". Embassy of Japan in Timor-Leste. February 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- "国際貢献、人材足りない 被災地に殺到 青年海外協力隊の応募激減" (in Japanese). Sankei Shimbun. 2011-10-10. Archived from the original on 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- "応募から選考までのプロセス". JOCV (in Japanese). JICA. Retrieved 2013-09-03.