Member News: Japanese Grassroots Academy in Iwate, Japan
Our partners in Japan have begun implementing a series of peer exchanges following up on the International Grassroots Women’s Academy hosted by the Huairou Commission and NPO Women’s Eye in advance of the UNISDR-led Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (Sendai, March 2015). This pre-conference event had welcomed 15 grassroots women leaders from Asia and Latin America for workshops and exchanges with 40 young women leaders from the disaster-affected Tohoku region of Japan. The next iteration of the Academy was held in Iwate on 12-13 February 2016, serving as a meeting ground for the next generation of female leaders from the Tohoku prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima. The participants not only shared experiences that deepened their mutual understanding of grassroots activities, but they also learned from each other and invited guests, an especially important aspect for the younger generation of women. Some specific highlights were learning about the town of Sumita’s approach to reconstruction through community engagement, the importance of social capital when building back communities, and teach-in activities featuring grassroots resilience projects.
The program ended with commitments to further strengthen the exchange program. With a subsequent domestic Academy scheduled for August 2016 in Fukushima, the women can then look forward to a leadership training course held in Seattle in February 2017, an Academy in Miyagi, and the next International Academy in Los Angeles in 2018.
Photo above: The 19 Participants in the Grassroots Academy hailed from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima.
Photo credit: NPO Women’s Eye