Two Japanese education experts, namely Mr. Kiichi Oyasa, Program Officer of UNESCO Dhaka Office, and Mr. Mitsutoshi Uchida, Coordinator for World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Promotion Bureau of Okayama City, Japan, visited SEAMEO BIOTROP on 19 August 2013. The purpose of their visit was to learn about the Centre’s lifelong learning and community development activities and, at the same time, explore possible collaboration on the same subject matters. They were accompanied by Mr. Khairullah, MSi from the Directorate General for Early Childhood, Non-Formal and Informal Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) of Indonesia.
Dr. Jess C. Fernandez, SEAMEO BIOTROP Deputy Director for Program, welcomed and briefed the visitors on BIOTROP’s community development activities and accomplishments with Karawang International Industrial City (KIIC), and Youth Environmental Outreach (YEO) Grants Program aimed at heightening the role of the youth in solving environmental related problems in their respective communities. BIOTROP’s YEO Grants Program is one of its special initiatives under its 9th Five-Year Development Plan (2012-2017).
The visitors were also oriented on past and future activities of the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Bogor by Dr. Sari Hartrisari, BIOTROP’s Senior Scientist and designated coordinator of RCE Bogor. BIOTROP serves as host institution for RCE Bogor.
On the other hand, Mr. Kiichi informed BIOTROP officials and staff about the International Policy Forum on Literacy and Lifelong Education for Vulnerable Youth through Community Learning Centres jointly organized by UNESCO Life Skills Institute and MEC Indonesia on 20-22 August 2013 in Jakarta in which he and Mr. Mitsutoshi will take part in. Mr. Mitsutoshi also invited BIOTROP and RCE Bogor to participate in UNESCO’s International Conference on ESD with the theme “Community Based Human Development for Sustainable Society” to be held at Okayama Convention Center, Okayama City, Japan on 9 – 12 October 2014. The conference is being co-organized by Okayama Community Learning Centre and RCE.
Recognizing BIOTROP’s expertise and experiences in community development and capacity building, the possibility of expert exchange between RCE Bogor and RCE Okayama was explored during the discussions. The Centre was also invited by Mr. Khairullah to consider the opportunity of providing technical assistance in building capacities of the various community learning centers in Indonesia that are beneficiaries of the Life Skills Development Program of MEC Indonesia.
The visitors also toured BIOTROP campus particularly its community development-related facilities such waste composting peats, catfish ponds, mushroom culture laboratory and production house, and seedling nursery.