From August 29 to 30, the Department of Women and Development Studies hosted 11 Japanese graduate students and their supervisor in an immersion into the intersectional and gendered social development perspectives and practice as part of the decades-long partnership between the UP College of Social Work and Community Development (UP CSWCD) and the Graduate School of International Social Development of Nihon Fukushi University (NFU) in Japan. The UP organizing team was led by Associate Prof. Roselle Leah K. Rivera, while the NFU delegation was led by Prof. Naoto Noda.
The week-long seminar promoted people-centered development that is gender-responsive and sustainable. Its aims were to present the different socio-economic conditions that contributed to marginalized communities’ vulnerabilities; investigate the roles of people’s organizations, government, and non-government institutions in the empowerment of communities at the margins; and draw parallelisms along the various socio-economic conditions experienced by marginalized communities across the Philippines and in the developing world.
The program was a combination of cultural exposure to historical sites across the metro and an evening of music with Kontra Gapi; academic seminars on the principles and practices of social development with UP CSWCD’s top professors and WD graduates in the development sector; and a field visit to Manila for a dialogue with health practitioners and community organizers of Likhaan Center for Women’s Health and urban poor communities affected by the North South Commuter Railway Project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The Japanese graduate students were professionals that have volunteered or worked for charities, non-government institutions, education institutions and Japanese development institutions and local government. Their areas of work included civil engineering, environment education, and education, disability services and protection of children.