Message from the Managing Director

Reflecting on the year 2013

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Upon the commencement of the fiscal year 2014, we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our sincere appreciation to all friends and donors who provide generous and continuous support to our overseas and domestic activities.

The last fiscal year was a milestone in many fronts. First, on the 24th of December 2013, the City of Okayama, an ordinance-designated city certified us as an Approved Specified Nonprofit Corporation. This means that part of your donation is eligible for tax credit when it is processed through a prescribed procedure. This will expand our opportunities and options to obtain fund for our initiatives. Projects will be more invigorated with increased donation revenue. Secondly, new modes of communication, such as Facebook and Twitter have become commoner, but powerful tools to reach out to younger generations to disseminate information on our projects.  Nonetheless, I tend to appreciate more through face-to-face interaction vs. via electronic media. Third, the projects in five countries, Myanmar, Nepal, Indonesia, Honduras, and Sierra Leone have attained expected outcomes in their respective phases fulfilling the objectives of each project.

The projects in three countries in Asia specifically target those communities and beneficiaries that had been left out from the economic development that is likely to benefit other socioeconomic strata. Our target communities suffer from a set of adversities and challenges due to various reasons and our projects are designed for their livelihood improvement and health promotion. The key to the successful project implementation is active participation of the beneficiaries in the planning and operation under the close collaboration with local authorities. In Honduras on the other hand, the project was designed to pacify the capital city of Tegucigalpa, the security of which is deteriorating day by day. Continuous engagement in mother and child health in a rural area, the district of El Paraiso is an additional asset to our portfolio. Both initiatives rely heavily on active participation of the youth who will in turn build a safer and healthier community. In Africa, the JICA-funding project in Sierra Leone supports the health ministries in the efforts of strengthening their systems so as to improve primary health care services in the very front line of unprivileged communities.

We honor the ownership of beneficiaries and stakeholders in these projects and assist their efforts of driving stakes that read “Today’s family life with hope for a better tomorrow” into colossal barriers that stand in their way. This is a common thread that runs through in our projects. Our effort in each community and activity might be only a drop in the ocean. But as a saying in Japan goes, “Constant dripping wears away the stone”, someday a hard wall will fall. Based on the collaboration with local governments, citizen-to-citizen joint efforts surely can do something significant against a vicious spiral of poverty and will someday make an enormous leap towards health improvement. We believe in this.

Currently, the Japanese government is in the midst of discussions that appear to reorient its direction for the framework of the ODA (Official Development Assistance). We are seeing a shift from the efforts of poverty mitigation in developing countries to support for Japanese private companies’ global business roll out and from strategic ODA to more armed-force-oriented ODA. While this may be regarded as effort to recapture missed opportunities, unswerving Japanese commitment to international peace and human security is afraid to be compromised. At this juncture, we find it important to remind ourselves of our mission that is to be an integral part of peace keeping efforts and produce outstanding results as a reliable player of ODA that make sense to taxpayers. We should also keep advocating viable options of international contribution to our government, by way of, for instance, demonstrating our firm commitment to Millennium Development Goals to international communities. At the same time we should take every possible opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned with communities both at home and abroad. AMDA-MINDS made a fresh start as an Approved Specified Nonprofit Corporation in 2014. We would like to solicit your understanding and support to make this year another one with significant progress. We will make every effort to help Japan to keep an honorable position in an international community.

Shunsuke Suzuki, Managing Director