New JICA programme to empower communities

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is set to launch a new programme; One Village One Product (OVOP) that will focus on utilizing specific locally produced materials to empower citizens.
Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary, MINICOM listens to OVOP presentations. Next to him is Hironobu Murakami, the OVOP Team Leader. (Photo by Ivan Mugisha)
Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary, MINICOM listens to OVOP presentations. Next to him is Hironobu Murakami, the OVOP Team Leader. (Photo by Ivan Mugisha)

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is set to launch a new programme; One Village One Product (OVOP) that will focus on utilizing specific locally produced materials to empower citizens.

In collaboration with RDB, JICA’s preparatory study team designed the project, with an objective of developing the capacity of individual villages and communities, by utilizing their own resources to produce value-added goods that can earn them income.

Speaking to stakeholders at a workshop yesterday, OVOP Regional Advisor, Aizono Kenji, said that the programme will empower communities to gain sales revenue by selling unique products, which will ultimately raise their standards of living.

“Through boosting local communities, OVOP will create employment as well as increase exports. This will ultimately earn the citizens income and also reduce rural-urban migration,” Aizono said.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Emmanuel Hategeka, told stakeholders that the programme will be an opportunity to foster a viable private sector as the key driver of economic growth, through innovation and self reliance, which will eventually, reduce poverty from the grassroots.

“We believe that OVOP can fit the Rwandan context, where similar initiatives such as One Cow per Poor Family and One Village One Industry, have all been prosperous innovative concepts to eradicate poverty,” Hategeka said.

He noted that unlike larger firms, SMEs often have limited abilities to develop the skills of their staff or take advantage of local economies of scale such as energy, transport and raw materials.

“The new SME policy in the pipeline, will seek to consolidate all SME support guarantee funds into one SME development fund to support their business initiatives,” Hategeka added.

According to JICA officials, the One Village One Product will be implemented towards the end of this year after an intensive survey and sensitization have been carried out.

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