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Training Programs for International Government Officials

Gender Mainstreaming Policies for Government Officers – Summer 2017

KFAW offers training programs twice a year for government officers who are in charge of gender mainstreaming in the central or local governments of developing countries. This program is commissioned by the Kyushu International Center (JICA Kyushu), Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The first program (Group “A”) in FY 2017 was conducted from May 31st (Wednesday) to June 30th (Friday) for eight government officers from seven countries: Bhutan, Fiji, Ghana, Kosovo, Laos, Myanmar and Palestine.

The program consists of lectures, workshops, observations and presentations and helps the participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the concepts, methods and theories related to gender mainstreaming.

During the one-month training period, an exchange program with the residents of Kitakyushu City is organized for the participants to deepen their understanding of a different culture and share gender issues. This time, the participants visited the University of Kitakyushu and enjoyed the program with the students.


After arriving at the university, the participants were invited by Mr. Masato Ninomiya, the Vice President of the university, to a tea ceremony where they enjoyed the taste of matcha (powdered green tea). Next, they paid a courtesy call to Mr. Takashi Matsuo, the President of the university, and were briefed on the features of the university, such as its contribution to the community and promotion of research in the fields of the environment and international exchange. The participants also asked many questions about the campus and the number of foreign students. Then they had a discussion with the students at the university.

At the beginning of the discussion, some students shared their experiences with gender issues at elementary and junior high schools. They also talked about their first experience of living alone away from home and cooking for themselves and their future dreams from a gender perspective. One of the female students talked about an experience where she was once asked, “Why do you read manga (comics) for boys?” That made her think that she might be different from other girls. Another female student said that girls were not allowed to join the baseball club in junior high school. An active discussion also took place on the issue that some parents in Japan do not want male nursery teachers to help girls to change their clothes or use the bathroom at nursery schools.


Some students expressed appreciation for the efforts of parents who prepare well-balanced meals every day. They were able to understand how much they owed to their parents only after they had to cook for themselves. In response to this, the participant from Kosovo said, “I have two children, a son and a daughter, but I only ask my daughter to help me with housekeeping. Now I think both boys and girls should be able to cook when they are independent and have their own family, regardless of gender.” Also, a Bhutanese participant responded to a student who has a part-time job, saying “Students rarely have part-time jobs in Bhutan. They are only exposed to real society after getting a job. Japanese students are able to acquire social experiences earlier than Bhutanese students through part-time jobs.”

The exchange of opinions and ideas with Japanese students offered the JICA participants a meaningful opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and gain an understanding of differences in cultures and social systems. During the training period, the JICA participants also visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, a nursery school, elementary school, agricultural facility, farmers in
Kitakyushu and many other places.

In this one-month training program, the participants respected each other and established good relationships by understanding the differences of each country, including Japan. At the end of the training, each participant presented an action plan to promote gender mainstreaming policies in their own countries. They said that they would like to make the best use of the outcomes of the training for their future endeavors.

Discussion with university students