Report by Kazuki Tsujimoto, Scout Association of Japan
Short term Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer for Rice Promoting Project
I have served as Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer from April to August 2013 in the Rice Promoting project in Uganda. The aim of this project was to develop paddy field to spread the use of it in the country. Uganda has very fertile land and unutilized water resources. However, it is not popular in Uganda to grow rice in paddy field, and this is where we saw a chance to bring a new method into the agriculture of the country.
At first, the local people were not keen with this idea, as it was laborious mission to exploit the land covered in the forest and develop paddy field and water pass without the help of modern machineries. I told them with patience that constructing a paddy field can be a hard and painful mission but once it is accomplished, you can expect for the steady harvest with help of constant water supply and bigger harvest compared with rice grown in bear land. I have worked closely with the local people and in the end accomplished the aim of building a paddy field.
The paddy field was planted with Koshihikari rice and NERICA rice (NERICA stands for New Rice for Africa), but my 4-month-term was not long enough and I retuned to Japan before the harvest. After my return to Japan, I do not know whether a new paddy field is developed, but other volunteers in Uganda told me that the rice was harvested and new rice is growing in the paddy field.
I have been a Scout since 5 years old and at the every crossroads of life, the Scouting experience guided me. I have learnt the beauty and danger of nature from trekking and hiking, and was so intrigued with nature that decided to learn agriculture in college. The volunteer service taught that it helps not only the one who receive the service but also the one who does the service. With this in my mind, I joined the Japan Oversea Cooperation Volunteer and was able to do my duty until the last day of my term. Camping taught me to find joy in the most inconvenient situation. With this spirit, I was able to live in Uganda where we encountered occasional cut off of water supply and electricity.
After my return to Japan, I moved on to postgraduate school, studying agricultural civil engineering. In future, I wish to become an engineer to build infrastructure in so called developing countries with the experience from Uganda.