Activity Report (1998) Part 2   III.Contributing to the Development of an Equitable and Open Society

Foundation for Development Cooperation (Australia)
Information Exchange among Asian Practitioners and Supporters of Microfinance:Bring Banking with the Poor' to Japan

¥ 2,471,000
In this the second phase, leaders of three NGOs active in microfinance from Indonesia, India and Bangladesh and an executive of a leading private commercial bank in Sri Lanka were assembled to visit Japan to take action to increase an awareness to and understanding of microfinance in Japan. The team exchanged ideas with government officials, researchers, Japanese ODA contractors and NGOs on specific microfinance issues including: principles of sustainability; importance of savings for the poor; overcoming conservative traditional financial institutions; and the roles of NGOs and external donors in support of microfinance. In turn, they learned a great deal about the operations of microfinance in Japan, in particular, the training and funding of female micro-entrepreneurs. Additionally, the team organized a half-day seminar to provide consultation for Japanese officials about projects that are currently in the planning phase.


Obor Foundation, Indonesia (Yayasan Obor Indonesia) (Indonesia)
Rebuilding the Publishing Industry in Indonesia

¥ 1,622,302
After the end of the Asian Currency Crisis the whole region but in particularly Indonesia was left with an uncertain political and economic future. With this as a backdrop, a symposium brought together a range of participants from different intellectual backgrounds to think together about the future of Indonesia. They also considered what should be done by the publishing industry to make quality books available all over Indonesia at reasonable prices. The symposium was able to create a network between publishers and intellectuals where for the first time publishing might be considered not only as a business activity but as an opportunity to help support the efforts to reform Indonesian Society. The proceedings of the symposium were published into a book under the title "Buku dalam Indonesia Baru" (Books and a New Indonesia).


Osaka Prefectural Government, Osaka Gender Equality Foundation (Japan)
1998 Osaka Prefecture's Project to Invite Overseas Women: Asia-Pacific Women's Network Forum

¥ 1,112,400
Aiming to enhance the status of women in the Asia Pacific region and to offer solutions to the ever diversifying and more complex problems now facing women, the Osaka Prefectural Government invited female guests from NGOs in South Korea and the Philippines. Both these countries are known to have women actively involved in advocacy and the policy making process. A public symposium entitled "To Empower Women: To Learn from Asian Women" was attended by many NGO members. Following this the organizer also held a twin panel discussion entitled "Korean Women, Korean Women Living in Japan, and Japanese Women,"and "Gender and Development." The proceedings of this event will be distributed to Japan's women's organizations and libraries as well as overseas NGOs.


Japan International Center for the Right of the Child (Japan)
India-Japan Joint Research and Exchange Program: Child Labor and Right of the Child

¥ 2,970,000
Indian and Japanese NGOs undertook a joint research projects on child labor to determine factors which prevent children from appropriate social participation and other possible violations of children's rights. Rounding up the research findings, street children themselves, including illegal laborers, and concerned NGO workers were invited to a symposium in Tokyo and Osaka. The symposium examined the current status of child labor in India, determined the cultural factors and social values behind it, and searched for possible solutions. Additionally, a special workshop was organized to give an opportunity for Japanese children to learn about the child labor situation in India and to promote the understanding about child labor and human rights.


Japanese NGO Center for International Cooperation (Japan)
Networking between Japanese NGOs and Key Asian NGOs: Toward a New Type of Partnership

¥ 3,070,000
Following the previous year's activities, the project continued to survey the opinion of NGOs in Laos, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to determine the role of Japanese NGOs. Accompanying this survey, country specific seminars regarding issues of information exchange among Asian NGOs, regional cooperation, and roles of foreign NGOs were held in the Philippines and Laos. In the end, a final report including an action plan was produced and a directory of NGOs in six Asian countries was completed.


Architectural Institute of Japan (Japan)
2nd International Symposium on Architectural Interchange in "Asia Asian Architecture in the 21st Century"

¥ 3,229,200
In cooperation with the Architectural Society of China and the Architectural Institute of Korea, the Institute organized a symposium, held in Kobe, to create a common understanding on qualifications and the education system of architects and architectural engineers in Asian countries. In the beginning, architects, engineers and urban planners were first introduced to the documentary video on the restoration of the city of Kobe after the Earthquake in 1995. This was followed by discussions covering sub themes of architectural history, architecture and engineering education in Asia, earthquake disasters and construction technology, preservation of the historical environment, and traditional technology in ecological architecture. In the end,a joint statement was ratified by the three institutions that contained, among others, a resolution to hold an International Symposium on Architectural Interchange in Asia every two years.


National Association of the Cooperative Community against Prejudice to the Disabled (NACAP)(Japan)
4th International Congress of the Disabled in Japan and Korea

¥ 800,000
This grant helped the NACAP hold its 5th congress that provided an opportunity for the disabled in Korea and Japan to discuss the two countries' welfare and handicapped policies and promote bilateral exchanges. Under the main theme of "Life, Work, and Livelihood: As the Disabled in the Asian Community," participants looked into issues of the social environment, welfare and labor policy, employment and the advocacy movement. An intensive discussion on legal rights of labor and policy for the handicapped pointed to the direction that the Community would seek the wellbeing of the disabled not only in Korea and Japan but for all of Asia, and to be rooted in the cultural values of Asia.


Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center (Hurights Osaka) (Japan)
Promotion of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education in the Asia-Pacific Region

¥ 3,344,000
This collaborative research among NGOs and the national human rights institutions in Asian countries is a concrete effort to implement the UN Decade for Human Rights Education. The project aims to promote human rights through a program to develop a human rights agenda in formal education through harmonization with Asian cultural values. Realizing an agreement that was signed in Bangkok in 1997, the Center used the grant to undertake a touring workshop regarding human rights education in schools. Starting in Indonesia in May, the workshop traveled to South Korea and then India. Each workshop was attended by local school teachers, teacher training institutes, government officials from Ministry of Education and NGOs; and gave the opportunity for participants to review the relationship between cultural values and human rights education as well as to share human right teaching experiences and materials.


Japan Society of Basic Design and Art (Japan)
Asian Conference for Society of Basic Design and Art, 1998

¥ 816,600
While developments in the field of basic design have made great materialistic and cultural contributions to the world, it also accelerated the abuse of natural resources, air and water pollution, and has increased industrial waste. Given the deep-seated western orientation in the world's basic design, members of the Society in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan met to discuss a new direction for basic design and art in Asia. They also tried to propose an alternative universal industry emphasizing the significance of indigenous living culture and design traditions in the region of Asia. In addition, their discussion also included the need for university-level design education in each country, and the imperative for collaborative endeavors to incorporate a barrier-free design to create societies that are accessible by the elderly and handicapped.


Japan Jurist League for Cambodia (Japan)
Establishment of Jurist System in Cambodia

¥ 2,420,000
With the aim of fostering lawyers in Cambodia, the grantee used the Asia Center's funds to support reconstruction of a judicial infrastructure in Cambodia. They translated and published a handbook on criminal law ("Introduction to Criminal Law" by Kenichi Nakayama) in the Khmer language and distributed copies free of charge to students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Ministry of Law and other related organizations in Cambodia. The grant also enabled them to hold a seminar for 30 law students at University of Phnom Penh and organize a trip to the state court.


Fairtrade Promoting Committee (Japan)
Establishment of Concept for Fairtrade

¥ 1,640,000
Fairtrade is trying to promote an equitable trade for the economically and socially disadvantaged in the Third World by promoting their products in industrial developed countries. Considering that the concept of 'fairtrade' has not fully been developed, the initial year's research focused on fairtrade in Nepal, especially that of household industries in the country, to set a unified definition and criteria for fairtrade and to pool information derived from past experiences. After several preparatory meetings in Japan, a research team conducted an interview survey of ten fairtrade groups in Nepal to examine the current state of their organizational structure, labor, products and markets in terms of three aspects: employment expansion and industry development; international cooperation; and preservation of traditional culture. The survey implied the possibility of involving commercial enterprises in the future, and the positive effect on the living condition of the poor and on the preservation and passing down of traditional culture.


Japan Relief for Cambodia (Japan)
Cambodia Journalism Workshop through Desktop Publishing

¥ 3,356,250
This is the second phase of the project to provide working journalists and aspiring students with the basic training in computer-based publishing accompanied by subjects on the theory of journalism, ethics, news reporting and writing in collaboration with the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Continuing this practical training, the grantee also set up a media library to collect and provide books on journalism, newspapers and magazines for journalists, scholars, government officials and the general public.


Criminal Law Society for the Study of Chinese Law (Japan)
6th Japan-China Symposium on Criminal Law

¥ 1,500,000
This is a Japan-China joint project to study the current status of criminal law and issues related thereto in both countries. Based on the papers presented by the panelists, professors, scholars, lawyers and students exchanged their views on lawful self-defense, drug crimes and juvenile delinquency. The project also organized a study tour for Chinese participants to inspect the Nagoya jail. The papers presented at the conference were edited and published in both Japanese and Chinese.


Organizing Committee for the 3rd LAWASIA Business Law Conference (Japan)
The 3rd LAWASIA Business Law Conference

¥ 1,000,000
The two-day 3rd international business law conference of LAWASIA gathered more than 300 lawyers and senior level business executives from India, Japan, the U.S.A., U.K. and ASEAN countries. Under the main theme of "Law, Reform and Society," the plenary part of the conference dealt with Japan's Big Bang and the future of the Japanese legal system. The issue was further elaborated in two sub-group sessions covering infrastructure development and finance in Asia, and business and the law arising out of electronic commerce. In the second part, corporate governance and structural changes in Asian society were the main topics. This was also supplemented by a sub-group discussion on business development in the Asia-Pacific and mechanisms for economic, political and legal disputes. Throughout the conference, there were numerous queries among Asian countries on the current status of legal society in Japan.


Center for Women's Studies, Ewha Women's University (Korea)
Systematization and Development of Women's Studies in Higher Education in Asia

¥ 2,631,396
The Asia Center's grant helped the Center to organize an international workshop aiming for the systematization and development of women's studies in higher education in Asia. Scholars from universities and research institutes in eight Asian countries were split into sub-groups by country and each group made a presentation on a conceptual frame work and curriculum building by referring to the history and development as well as the current state and issues of women's studies in Asia. Concurrently, the participants also discussed a plan for country-based workshops that would act as a follow up to this gathering. The country reports were collated and distributed to female scholars in Korea and were made accessible on the web-site of the Center.


Asian Institute for Civil Society Movement (Korea)
Research on the Regional Cooperation among Asian Civil Society Organizations

¥ 2,603,001
AICSM concentrated its research efforts on the need for cooperation among civil societies in the Asian region. From the programs' inception, they discussed Asian identity and Asian values and used this as a basis for research in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand in the form of case studies. By analyzing forms of international cooperation, its agenda and initiative procedures as well as its range and effectiveness, they were able to develop an ideal international cooperative model. The Asia Center's grant was used for the initial conceptual research portion of the study which eventually lead to an international workshop entitled "Empowering NGO's through International Networking."


Liberal Women's Brain Pool (Mongolia)
The 3rd East Asian Women's Forum

¥ 2,058,787
This was the 3rd conference of the Forum to review progress from the previous conference that was held in Korea in 1996 and to chart new plans for the future. About 320 delegates from women's NGOs in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Mongolia discussed the presented country papers and debated more specific issues in thematic form on globalization and women's work and lives, women's rights, and politics and empowerment. Recommendations were issued to governments to provide better women's protection and promotion, to political parties and voters to ensure women's rights, and to network members to implement specific joint activities. In the end, resolution and action plans were ratified and developed into a work plan where its implementation will be reviewed at the next conference that is scheduled to be held in Taiwan in 2000. The Asia Center's grant facilitated the multi-lingual interpretation and translation.


New Zealand Asia Institute, University of Auckland (New Zealand)
Policy Workshop: Indigenous Economic Participation, Rights and Identity in the Context of Globalization

¥ 3,106,512
Based on the outcome of Policy Consultation in 1996-97, the workshop discussed issues of Asia-Pacific economic integration, cultural identity and formulation of strategies. The 1998 policy workshop brought together ethnic minority and indigenous leaders, representatives, NGOs, academics and community leaders from the Asia-Pacific region to discuss economic participation, rights and the identity of ethnic minorities in the context of globalization. The participants made a report on the ethnic minorities in each country and agreed that indigenous and ethnic minorities in the region shared common concerns including self-determination, human rights abuses, and influences of trade liberalization. The participants resolved to convene an Asia-Pacific Indigenous and Ethnic Minorities Conference in New Zealand in August 1999 in parallel with the APEC meetings. The workshop also facilitated long-term networking among indigenous and ethnic minority organizations in the Asia-Pacific region.


Asian Institute of Management (AIM) (Philippines)
Asian Managerial Skills Development

¥ 3,233,912
This project is made up of two components: AIM and its collaborators in Japan and Vietnam undertook a feasibility study to establish a Master's degree program in Development Management at the National Economics University (NEU) especially targeted at potential managers from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (CLV). The second component was a joint research project between AIM and Nagoya University's Graduate School of International Development on how to develop managerial skills among Asian managers. The research output would be aimed at designing training programs that are tailored to meeting the human resource development needs of ASEAN countries, and especially CLV.


Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) (Philippines)
Conference on Strengthening Foundations / Civil Society Resource Organization in Southeast Asia

¥ 3,469,520
Against the backdrop of little information about civil society resource organizations in Southeast Asia, their origins, their operations, and even their strategies for mobilizing funds not available to local NGO's being known, PBSP convened a conference on the topic of strengthening foundations in Southeast Asia. They brought together 40 representatives of civil society organizations from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and representatives from international grant-making organizations. The purpose was to provide a venue for the participants to share information about the state of the CSRO sector in the region, learn from each other's experiences, and develop strategies for strengthening the sector within and across countries in the region. With the conclusion of the conference participants of the conference were able to share experiences and to formulate strategies through which a regional directory of grant-making organizations was compiled.


Highland People Education and Development Foundation (Thailand)
Hill Women and Youth Network Project (HWP Net)

¥ 1,865,781
With funds provided by the Asia Center, this project set out with an objective to encourage women of minority hill tribes such as the Akha and Karen to participate in the process of community development. The project also tried to develop a network of contacts for the women of the hill tribes; to make the hill women aware of fundamental rights and exchange information among hill tribes; and to support the hill women in the search to become active and vital members of the community. The foundation was able to complete its goals by: taking a survey of the hill tribes in Northern Thailand; developing a foundation committee and by making women organizations aware of the objects of the project; creating workshops and meetings for the women of the hill tribes; and finally by evaluating the meetings and activities for future initiatives to take place. The networks that were formed whether micro (community-based) or macro (women networks) enabled women of varied tribal backgrounds and cultures to trade experiences and information so that they might be able to participate in development schemes of the family and the community.

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