2022.06.30 1 0
Breaking the cycle of poverty by addressing adolescent pregnancy issue
The Dominican Republic is an island country in the Caribbean with a population of approximately 11 million. The country s adolescents take up a particularly large portion, accounting for 25% of the total population. While a high number of youths portends great potential for growth, the adolescent pregnancy rate poses a serious issue -- adolescent deliveries take up 26% of the total number of births -- threatening both individual quality of life and societal development. Adolescent pregnancy incurs tremendous social and economic losses due to discontinuation in education, subsequent decline in income, and increased medical expenses. Accordingly, the Dominican Republic has recognized adolescent pregnancy and sexual and reproductive health as major challenges and established a national strategy to address them. In 2020, the newly launched government selected prevention of adolescent pregnancy as a major national agenda. KOICA has been a consistent partner on this issue, helping the government in its endeavors by implementing three projects for adolescent pregnancy prevention and the improvement of women s healthcare since 2006. Preventing adolescent pregnancy, making early diagnoses through medical support Because pregnant adolescents have a higher risk of debilitating health and complications due to premature deliveries compared to pregnant adults, a significant number of teenage girls are exposed to maternal death. In addition, due to premature deliveries, their babies are prone to low birth weight and a high infant mortality rate. KOICA therefore embarked on its first project on preventing adolescent pregnancy and improving women s healthcare environment in the Dominican Republic from 2006 to 2008. Through a budget of 400,000 USD, KOICA provided medical equipment for six hospitals in four areas including the capital, Santo Domingo. Surgical equipment and basic medical testing equipment such as ultrasonic instruments provided through the project helped enhance the quality of healthcare services, which in turn led to early diagnoses and lower maternal mortality rate. In addition, KOICA provided sexuality education for adolescents and conducted training on general adolescent healthcare to strengthen the capacity of healthcare workers. KOICA also nurtured adolescent healthcare leaders, conducted workshops on topics including sexually transmitted diseases and the management of HIV/AIDS, and offered capacity-building for professionals counseling adolescents. Establishment of first youth and sexual reproduction health Center in Latin AmericaWhile KOICA s first project focused on healthcare, the second project engaged in education to raise awareness on the prevention of teenage pregnancy and bring about behavioral changes. The second project was carried out from 2008 to 2015 with a budget of 1.3 million USD and focused on the establishment of a youth and sexual reproduction health center, the first of its kind in the Dominican Republic. As the country had yet to introduce compulsory sex education in schools and students had low awareness on sexual and reproductive health due to social norms, there was a pressing need to provide a physical space where more teenagers could participate in sexuality education. Accordingly, in February 2015, KOICA established the Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center with a total area of 330 square meters in the capital of Santo Domingo. To create activity zones and a tour program in the center, KOICA benchmarked the facilities of the Youth Sexuality Education Center in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, Korea as a reference. Education was provided for policymakers and healthcare professionals in the Dominican Republic for the sustainable operation of the center. In 2008 and 2009, KOICA invited working-level members and those in charge of relevant policies in the Dominican Republic s Ministry of Women and Ministry of Health to Korea and provided training. The agency also dispatched medical professionals to the country to provide capacity-building education for healthcare workers there.Large-scale campaigns were held to promote awareness on topics related to women s sexual and reproductive health including pregnancy, maternal and child health, and sexually transmitted diseases. Due to dominant social norms, pregnant adolescents were often forfeited the right to choose. During the project period, campaigns were held via mass media such as TV and radio to raise awareness on underage pregnancies, causing small but significant shifts in perspective in the pervasive social norms of the country. KOICA and the government of the Dominican Republic, jointly spreading adolescent pregnancy prevention policies The country s high adolescent pregnancy rate did not fall easily despite government-led efforts. The government thus established the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Strategy 2011-2016 and set a drastic decline in adolescent pregnancy as the country s highest policy priority. To encourage the nationwide spread of the adolescent pregnancy prevention policy, the country s Ministry of Women called on KOICA to build an additional Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center. In response, in 2018, KOICA started its third project for adolescent pregnancy prevention and the improvement of women s healthcare environment. The focus of the third project is to ensure follow-up support for the Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center in Santo Domingo and to establish a new Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center in San Juan through 2023.In its follow-up support for Santo Domingo s Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center, KOICA is striving to fully reflect the country s adolescent pregnancy prevention strategy, which emphasizes a holistic approach including the prevention of pregnancy, care of pregnant adolescents, and empowerment of women s rights. At the Santo Domingo Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center, sexuality education tailored to age groups will be provided, including programs on rights to sexual reproduction, the importance of contraception, etc., in addition to pregnancy prevention education. The Santo Domingo Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center will also provide information on programs supported by the country. In addition, KOICA is encouraging adolescents to take the lead in social campaigns and enabling them to proactively participate in the problem-solving process. Peer keepers refer to adolescent leaders for teenage pregnancy prevention who engage in campaigns targeting peer adolescents in their areas. In response to COVID-19, remote support was provided for peer keepers and sexuality education, including educational videos produced by KOICA, digital equipment necessary for remote education, and coupons for participating in online education. The agency also provided education for the digital capacity-building of lecturers. The San Juan area, where the second Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center will be located, is the second-largest city in the country in terms of population and economy. This area is also socially and economically vulnerable, with its adolescent pregnancy rate rising continuously over the past 10 years. The construction of the Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center with a total area of approximately 800 square meters that includes eight exhibition spaces and educational facilities began in March 2021 after finalization of the site location. Its completion is scheduled for the early half of 2024. In addition to building the Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center, KOICA is providing support for exhibition planning and installations, vehicles and necessary equipment, educational program development, center operation manual development, and the capacity-building of center operating staff, etc. Once opened, the Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center will be operated and managed by the Ministry of Women, which has accumulated experience at the Santo Domingo Youth and Sexual Reproduction Health Center. Together with KOICA, the Dominican Republic Is Leading Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention in Latin AmericaThe project for adolescent pregnancy prevention and improvement of women s healthcare environment has been recognized as a best practice in successfully applying Korea s advanced adolescent sexual health policy and programs to another country by tailoring them to local conditions. An evaluation by the Dominican Republic s Ministry of Women on the sexuality education provided through KOICA projects found that adolescents level of knowledge regarding the related topics increased; parent-adolescent conversations about sex improved, which had been considered taboo throughout the society; the age of first sexual intercourse was delayed; and knowledge on the correct use of contraception was attained.The government of the Dominican Republic hopes that the success achieved in these projects will spread to neighboring Latin American countries that are also experiencing serious adolescent pregnancy issues. To this end, an international seminar will be held in October 2022. KOICA will continue to closely cooperate with the Dominican Republic to establish adolescent pregnancy prevention project models that can be applied to Latin American countries and actively work on improving this area s deep-rooted social issue of high adolescent pregnancy rates.
KOICA project supports Nepalese workers resettle in home country
Before COVID-19, about 7,000 Nepalese migrant workers had entered Korea each year. Of the 16 countries that have entered into an Employment Permit System (EPS)1) agreement with Korea, Nepal had dispatched the largest number of workers to Korea. Such Nepalese migrant workers who ventured overseas for work have become a fundamental pillar of Nepal s economy. Following the pandemic-imposed slump in the global economy, however, Nepalese migrant workers had been forced to return home en masse. Creating jobs for those who returned home before the end of their contracts, especially amid the structural weakness of Nepal s GDP, has proved an urgent and challenging task for the Nepalese government. In response to this situation, KOICA has made plans to invest 8 million USD starting in 2022 for a project to strengthen Nepal s step-by-step support system for the stable resettlement of returnee Nepalese migrant workers. Existing returnee worker support programs had mainly focused on the most vulnerable groups in Nepal, making it difficult for migrant workers returning to Nepal from Korea to receive benefits. This project is distinct in that it has been tailored to Nepalese migrant workers who had previously received relatively higher wages while working in Korea. Establishing resettlement and start-up policies for returning workersThis project will be implemented in sync with the employment life cycle of returning workers (before migration - migration - after migration). It includes various elements such as the provision of services and education, and the operation of a start-up fund. As a preliminary condition, KOICA has deemed it essential to first accurately understand the current status of returnee migrant Nepalese workers in order to enhance the Nepalese government s policy-making capacity and render the project efficient and sustainable. Currently, as there is a lack of reliable data on the resettlement conditions of returnee migrant workers, KOICA plans to conduct through its project a survey regarding the current status and conditions of workers resettlement in Nepal. The survey will gather basic information, such as gender and age, area of residence, and income earned during employment in Korea, which will be analyzed to established relevant and suitable future policies in Nepal. Furthermore, KOICA plans to operate a capacity-strengthening and training program for officials of Nepal s labor ministry in order to enhance their understanding of returnee Nepalese migrant workers and heighten their expertise in establishing start-up support policies. Such efforts are expected to help create more practical, systematic policies to support returning workers. Technical and financial education support, integrated app development for successful resettlementFor workers returning from long-term overseas stays, the process of resettling in their home country presents many tangible challenges. Compared to life in Korea, lower wages and poor treatment often lead to dissatisfaction with their new jobs, meandering, or migrating to other countries for work. In this respect, KOICA seeks to support such returnee workers in establishing their own resettlement plans as early as the pre-migration stage, allowing workers to be motivated to return to their home country and fully utilize the knowledge and technical proficiency gained in Korea upon returning to Nepal. Before and after entering Korea, financial education is provided to encourage the systematic management of salary and finances, and to allow workers to prepare funds for resettlement in Nepal in the future. In particular, financial education has also been planned for workers families, considering that the majority of migrant workers salaries are managed by their families who remain in Nepal. Online mentoring is provided for six months for highly skilled technicians who have returned to Nepal.Because the first obstacle that returnee workers face after a long period of overseas migrant labor is lack of information, KOICA is developing an application that provides the information necessary for a smooth resettlement. The app will be developed as a platform that not only provides information but also connects the services of related organizations in a one-stop hub. For this project, KOICA is cooperating with the Human Resources Development Service of Korea, an agency in charge of the employment permit system. Based on the long-standing expertise of HRD Korea, this project aims to provide basic information relevant to migrant workers in Korea, vocational training for employment and start-up, and technical education.Entrepreneurial dreams nurtured through competency-strengthening programAccording to a survey by the Korean Repatriated Nepalese Workers Association, more than 70 percent of workers returning to Nepal from Korea attempt to start a business upon returning home. However, existing start-up programs provided by international organizations and the Nepalese government focus on small-scale self-employment for the underprivileged, and are thus less suitable for workers returning from Korea.Accordingly, KOICA is in the process of developing and operating entrepreneurship education courses, offered during workers stay in Korea, to prepare Nepalese workers for starting businesses when they return. The goal is to discover potential entrepreneurs with excellent capabilities and support their sustainable growth. In the introductory course on entrepreneurship, basic theoretical education such as entrepreneurship and business model development is provided both on and offline. In addition, excelling graduates will be given the opportunity to participate in the preliminaries of the start-up contest as well as receive start-up consulting for two weeks.After returning to their home country, participants can receive coaching on various subjects for six months through advanced start-up courses and incubator courses in Nepal. The finalists of the start-up contest are given benefits such as the opportunity to pitch a start-up model, win awards, accelerate their start-up, and connect with investors. It is expected that these entrepreneurship competency-strengthening programs will not only allow returning workers to successfully resettle but also create jobs in the local community.Creating a $5 million start-up fund to make starting a business easier The most important and difficult aspect when starting a business is to secure start-up funds. In the case of start-up fund loans from general commercial banks in Nepal, the ratio of final loans to applicants is only 2 percent. Accordingly, KOICA and the Nepal Agricultural Development Bank will establish a $5 million start-up support fund as a matching fund. KOICA plans to actively review the implementation of medium-to-long-term loans and large-scale loans that did not exist previously, and lower the threshold for access to start-up funds for returning female workers through policy adjustments.The partnering organization Nepal Agricultural Development Bank has extensive experience in attracting foreign aid funds and operates five regional centers. This allows the bank to play an active role as a geographical base for resettlement education, start-up education, and loan fund application. KOICA plans to establish a fund management team within the Nepal Agricultural Development Bank for the effective operation of the start-up fund. KOICA also plans to secure an independent operating system so that the start-up fund can continue to operate even after the completion of the project.This project focuses on supporting Nepalese migrant workers and their families to stably resettle in Nepali society and grow as a central axis of Nepalese economic growth through information, education, and fund support. In addition, by contributing to the establishment of a virtuous cycle for employment and economic and social development in Nepal, KOICA hopes to contribute to SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries) and SDG 16 (Peace, justice, and strong institutions). Throughout its history, Korea too accumulated capital and technology in the Middle East through overseas migrant labor in the 1970s, experiences which gave way to the economic development dubbed the miracle on the Han River. KOICA believes that returnee workers in Nepal will grow not only as beneficiaries but as the main agents of Nepal s economic development, and hopes that this project will become an opportunity for solidarity and co-prosperity between Nepal and Korea.1) Employment Permit System (EPS): A system that allows the Korean government (Ministry of Employment and Labor) to legally hire foreign workers to short-staffed Korean companies. This system has been in effect since August 2004 to promote the steady supply and demand of labor and balanced development of the national economy.
2022.06.30 1 0
Narrowing the gap in health inequality
According to data released by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) in April 2022, Korea s total official development assistance (ODA) in 2021 was USD 2.86 billion, marking a 600 million USD (26.9%) increase compared to the previous year. This is the biggest increase in volume since 2010 when Korea first joined the OECD DAC. Early 2021, the government of the Republic of Korea established its Five-Year International Development Plan (2021-2025) and announced that its ODA would more than double by 2030. In particular, the government planned to expand its ODA in health by 2022, including strengthened capability in its response to infectious diseases. As Korea s representative development cooperation agency, KOICA has gathered and organized the following statistics which reflect KOICA s ODA in health for the year 2021.Access to the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health program (RMNCAH) increased by 1.5 timesAs most of the international community s support was driven toward COVID-19 response and damage relief, projects related to Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH)1) have gained relatively less attention in recent years; studies showed a 6.8% decrease in RMNCAH support in 2020 compared to 2019. A continued downward trend could severely threaten the health and welfare of the vulnerable including pregnant women and children, and a surge in the mortality rate of mothers and infants.In this regard, KOICA made diverse efforts in 2021 to continue support for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent medical services and allocated 24.3 million USD to the sector. Amid the COVID-19 situation, KOICA sought to steadily support essential medical services such as delivery care, and in some countries, such as Ethiopia, expanded related projects to a nation-wide scale. As a result, access to RMNCAH services was enhanced by 1.5 times in partner countries compared to the previous year. KOICA is enhancing access to its RMNCAH program through 45 projects in 19 countries with a budget of 150 million USD, to be implemented from 2020 to 2040. Partner countries include seven countries in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, C te d Ivoire, and Tanzania), seven countries in Asia (Nepal, Timor-Leste, Laos, Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines), and five countries in Central and South America (Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, and Peru). The program encompasses a wide range of areas including: expert training on safe delivery, establishment of local health centers and hospitals, equipment and other materials, education and raising awareness, capacity-building for maternal and infant care staff, and more.These range of projects have successfully contributed to a decrease in maternal mortality. In 2021, some 7.3 million people in developing countries benefited directly from KOICA s RMNCAH program, while 4.22 million of those received services related to family planning (an area that is highly related to maternal mortality prevention), pre- and post-natal care, and delivery through professionals. In particular, a total of 1,072,114 pregnant women received over four rounds of pre-natal care in 2021, up 226% from the previous year. Those who received post-natal care within 48 hours of giving birth were 950,784 in 2021, a figure that is 181% higher than that of the previous year. The number of women who adopted modern methods of birth control rose 132% from 2020 in 2021. Meanwhile, a total of 579 facilities were renovated or newly built in 2021, while 13,334 local health personnel received necessary training. Some 2,534,927 people participated in campaigns or education programs regarding adolescent sexuality awareness; 4,231 health and medical workers completed capacity-building training; 531,005 local residents participated in related campaigns and education programs. Efforts to eradicate other infectious diseases while tackling COVID-19Tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and HIV (the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS) are major fatal diseases that have long been threatening lives in developing countries. The problem is that an increasing number of people in developing countries received less or no support for such diseases since the outbreak of the pandemic, due to an intensive focus of resources, budget, and workforce on COVID-19 response. While awareness on COVID-19 has risen drastically, responses to other infectious diseases have, somewhat inevitably, deteriorated. Accordingly, in order to lower mortality rates resulting from infectious diseases in developing countries, KOICA has been operating a 30-million-USD program for major communicable diseases and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)1) for the 2020-2024 period (5.09 million USD of this budget has been implemented in 2021). Through this program, KOICA has focused on maintaining the steady provision of essential medical services such as diagnosis and treatment for communicable diseases and neglected tropical diseases, while minimizing dispersion of resources. As a result, the program was able to limit the reduction in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of major communicable diseases and neglected tropical diseases to 3.7% in 2021 compared to 2020. Amid declining responses to non-COVID-19 diseases, KOICA was able to attain outcomes through efforts to maintain the level of essential medical services.KOICA s program on combatting communicable diseases was carried out through 11 projects in Asia (Timor-Leste) and Africa (Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania). The projects aimed to strengthen developing countries self-sustainable capabilities in responding to communicable diseases and crisis management even after the end of the projects. To this end, KOICA implemented a wide range of activities, including: establishment and maintenance of local health centers, hospitals and labs; provision of equipment, medicine and medical devices; capacity-building for medical staff and healthcare workers; and awareness campaigns for local residents in prevention and eradication of infectious diseases. The number of direct and indirect recipients of the KOICA program was about 1.49 million in 2021, 1.46 million of whom were first-hand recipients regarding the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases. These numbers indicate that KOICA s program contributed to lowering the mortality rate caused by communicable diseases. In addition, a total of 115 health and medical facilities including 61 hospitals, 52 local health clinics, and 2 public health centers were able to improve and strengthen their capabilities in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment through this program. According to statistics, 2,143 health workers received training to enhance their capabilities regarding infectious diseases. 82 workers in research labs underwent training regarding screening and diagnosis, while 26,369 took training for prevention and disease eradication.It is crucial to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of essential medical services including emergency care, infection care, child delivery and other cases that fundamentally impact human life. In developing countries with insufficient health infrastructure, however, it is common for clinics that are in charge of communicable diseases to shut down, or maternity ward staff to be relocated to other areas. It is for this reason that the fight against COVID-19 is parallel to the struggle against broadening health inequality. KOICA will continue in its efforts to devise ways to resolve the health gap laid bare globally through the pandemic, and provide basic medical and healthcare services to all people, including the most vulnerable. 1) Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of 20 conditions that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas, where they mostly affect more than 1 billion people who live mostly impoverished communities. They are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins. These diseases cause devastating health, social and economic consequences to more than one billion people. (WHO)
2022.06.30 2 0
Drawing hope in Abidjan through safe water
C te d Ivoire is a country located adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean in the Western coast of Africa, drenched in golden sun. Since its independence from France in 1960, the country has achieved annual economic growth of 8% and emerged as an exemplary state to overcome colonial rule. However, C te d Ivoire experienced severe economic recession since the 1980s; in 2002, a civil war broke out that lasted 10 years. The war destroyed basic social infrastructure in such areas as education and healthcare and ravaged most of the key urban infrastructure including roads, water and sewage facilities.Following the end of the war in 2011, the government of C te d Ivoire devoted much energy to recovering the nation s devastated economy and social infrastructure. During the same year, the country established the National Development Program (PND 2012-2015) followed by PND 2016-2020, which focused on reinforcing key infrastructure development in the fields of education, healthcare, basic hygiene, etc.Of particular importance in the infrastructure development drive was the provision of a water supply distribution network in order to enhance management of the drinking water system. The government established a plan to provide a stable source of drinking water for the entire country by securing water supply sources through the installation of large-scale purification plants along three major rivers. It also planned to provide safe drinking water for impoverished households through continuous extension of water supply pipes and connection to the water distribution network.Underprivileged households in Abidjan receive clean water supply through connection to national water networkIn line with the national strategy of C te d Ivoire, KOICA embarked on a project to extend the drinking water distribution network in Abidjan. KOICA s first project was carried out from 2014 to 2016 with a budget of about 3 million USD targeting poor communities in Abidjan. Abidjan, which means falling leaves , had been the capital of C te d Ivoire until Yamoussoukro was designated as the capital in 1983. Abidjan remains the country s center of administration and economy, serving as the de facto capital. In particular, as of 2011, Abidjan accounted for 70% of the country s water production. However, its daily water production of 400,000㎥ only reached two-third of the necessary water quantity of 600,000㎥.From September 2015, KOICA embarked on a project to make 8,810 connections to the national water distribution network for households in the underprivileged communities of Abobo, Yopougon, and Koumassi in Abidjan. First, the project s beneficiary households were selected based on household size, occupation and income of the head of household, and number of rooms, etc. Then, the state-run water distribution company SODECI (Soci t de distribution d'eau de la C te d'Ivoire) implemented the project at a rapid pace. The project did encounter difficulties as some households did not have any water pipes to be linked to the network of water distribution facilities, leading to the reselection of some households. Nevertheless, this first project was successfully completed at the end of 2017. Installing water supply pipes in addition to connection to national water networkFollowing the first project for connection to the drinking water distribution network, the government of C te d Ivoire showed strong willingness to implement a follow-up project. The second project was planned to focus on the Grand Campement area of Koumassi in Abidjan. Approximately 70,000 residents of 30,000 disadvantaged households that have been unable to benefit from urban development lived in this community with poor quality of living. In particular, many households initially did not have any water supply pipes installed, not to mention linkage to the water distribution network, making access to safe drinking water nearly impossible.Without a proper water supply, most inhabitants procured their drinking water by illegally installing water hydrants within the collective housing space or buying water from illegal sellers, 20 liters at a time. The price of a bottle of water is 50 West African CFA franc (equivalent to about 100 KRW or 0.08 USD), more than 10 times the cost of water from the national water network. If all these methods proved difficult, residents took to wells. However, since the wells (underground water level of 10m) lie adjacent to latrines (5 meters underground), people frequently suffered from waterborne diseases caused by contamination. According to a study, 35% of the patients of the community health center were found to have contracted waterborne diseases. As such, this area was designated by the health authorities as a cholera danger zone, a representative waterborne disease.Accordingly, KOICA began its second water supply project from 2018 with a budget of 6.07 million USD. The project continued to link water pipes to the national water network facilities while simultaneously installing 35km of new water supply pipes, ensuring wider access to clean and safe water. In particular, KOICA made efforts in its selection process of the construction company by carefully verifying the candidates construction capabilities to ensure the successful design and installation of the water supply pipes. Through this pipe installation and connection project, approximately 13,000 connections were made for households. The project also provided education on health and hygiene and the payment of water bills. One common misconception among residents dispelled by the education program was that if water was stored for a long time, the precipitates would settle on the bottom of the water container, thus making the water cleaner. For the residents to participate in these education sessions, they needed to get the permission of the traditional chiefs. Accordingly, a health and hygiene committee was created, composed of traditional chiefs by tribe, to ensure extensive communication with residents. The committee members, who know the requirements and needs of their communities well, received the training first. They then spread the knowledge to their residents, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the education project. The second project is slated to be finished by October 2022.Quality of life significantly improved through access to safe drinking waterAccess to safe and clean water is a basic condition for living and directly linked to human life. KOICA s projects on connecting households to the national water network enabled residents in the communes of Abidjan to gain easy and convenient access to clean drinking water. Residents quality of life and basic living conditions improved tremendously as a result. The people no longer have to buy water from illegal sellers at exorbitant prices, reducing their cost of buying water by at least 50-70%. Relative to the income of recipient households, this reduction in costs has had a significant net impact on income growth. In addition to cost reduction, there has been a decrease in waterborne illnesses such as diarrhea caused by contaminated water, due to behavioral changes in inhabitants who received education on health care and the importance of hygiene through KOICA s teaching program. Moreover, as women and children spend less time procuring drinking water, they have been able to engage in other economic activities or go to school.Upon witnessing the impact of the projects in Abidjan, KOICA decided to implement a third project on connection to the water distribution network from 2023 to 2026 by closely collaborating with the government of C te d Ivoire. Accordingly, KOICA will inject 6 million USD into the project, connecting water supply pipes in 13 underprivileged communities (approximately 6,000 households) in Abidjan s Abobo commune to the water distribution network to improve residents access to drinking water and their living conditions.The two KOICA projects enhanced accessibility to clean water and encouraged behavioral changes in residents, allowing them to maintain clean water in the household and create sanitary environments. The projects also resulted in reduced time spent in acquiring clean water, thereby addressing inequality experienced by the socially marginalized such as women and children and contributing to achieving SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). As can be seen in the example in Abidjan, gaining access to clean water can lead to enhanced quality of life through the synergy of improved health, income, education, etc. KOICA will continue to support residents in their journey toward improved livelihood and happiness. KOICA hopes that these projects will serve as a foundation for continued growth in C te d Ivoire, once again emerging as a beacon of hope in West Africa.
2022.06.29 1 0
Efforts to overcome the pandemic and prepare for post-pandemic era
In recent months, Korea and other advanced countries have begun the progressive easing of their disease control measures in preparation of the post-pandemic era. The situation remains quite different in developing countries; according to Oxford University s global statistics OWID, less than 20% of Africa s total population has been vaccinated at least once. Significant support is therefore still necessary for developing countries to emerge from the pandemic. Implemented under the Korean government s ODA Korea: Building Trust initiative for a safer world, KOICA s ABC Program seeks to strengthen COVID-19 resilience through development cooperation. Since 2020, KOICA has operated this program to support developing countries to overcome the severe damages and threats to society caused by the pandemic. The program aims at strengthening the capabilities of developing countries through a holistic approach that includes humanitarian aid, material support for disease control and prevention, and the establishment of systematic disease control processes. The following is a detailed introduction of KOICA s ABC program.Seeking to contribute to global disease control through ABC programKOICA s ABC program simultaneously stands for Agenda for Building resilience against COVID-19 through development cooperation and Action and Fragility, Building Capacity, and Comprehensive Cooperation, which are the program s three pillars of implementation to allow successful responses to COVID-19 and sustainable development in partner countries. Action on Fragility includes support for healthcare services such as the provision of diagnostic kits and vaccines, the provision of humanitarian emergency relief such as food and daily necessities, and social and economic support for marginalized groups such as the creation of job opportunities. Building Capacity is a mid- and long-term support measure to enhance capacity for the prevention and control of infectious diseases including COVID-19. This includes support for vaccination infrastructure; capacity-building of human resources involved in diagnosis, point-of-entry screening, and medical treatment; and expansion of relevant facilities. Comprehensive Cooperation includes the sharing of Korea s successful experiences in preventing and controlling infectious diseases, the provision of world citizen education for solidarity among global citizens, the provision of Korean medical equipment, and the spreading of innovative technologies.The ABC Program consists of two phases for effective implementation: the short-term phase (2020-2021) and the mid-term phase (after 2022). During the short-term phase, the program focused on the emergency prevention and control of COVID-19. During the mid-term phase, the program shifted its focus to strengthening capacity for better healthcare services and infectious disease management. During 2020, the first year of the ABC Program operation, 644 projects were implemented with a budget of 158.63 million USD. Through the ABC Program, approximately 38.02 million people in 116 countries benefited in terms of health care, society, and economy.Number of beneficiaries increased by 71.6% in 2021In 2021, KOICA continued to operate the ABC Program with a focus on emergency responses to COVID-19. The program s budget grew to 171.65 million USD, marking an 8.2% increase compared to the previous year. In addition, KOICA operated 317 projects in 68 countries, seeing a decrease of 327 projects compared to the 2020 figure. While the number of projects declined by more than half of that of the previous year, the reach of each project grew to result in a total of 65.24 million people benefiting from the program, an increase of approximately 71.6% compared to 2020.KOICA first implemented Action on Fragility, cooperating with international agencies to develop and provide vaccines to developing countries. Accordingly, the agency provided more than 100 million USD to ACT-A1)and COVAX2), international collaboration mechanisms to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines. Furthermore, as part of its emergency relief, KOICA provided food and daily necessities of 880,000 USD for 880,000 people whose livelihoods were affected by COVID-19, and items related to disease prevention such as face masks and sanitizers worth 6.6 million USD. KOICA also provided opportunities for employment and economic activities for 6,500 people from underprivileged families.In 2021, the ABC Program s main achievements were realized under the Building Capacity pillar. KOICA operated programs to nurture workers to respond to infectious disease crises, producing 1,246 epidemic intelligence service officers and placing them at 32 points of entry. These epidemic intelligence service officers conducted border screenings on 220,000 people, playing a critical role in crisis response. In addition, KOICA established a total of 25 vaccine centers in five African countries to build the region s vaccination infrastructure. The agency also provided items needed for the vaccine cold chain and vaccine injection. Moreover, KOICA took measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. To improve the basic sanitary environment, KOICA installed 5,641 bathrooms, hand-washing stations, and drinking water fountains in 31 countries. It also provided education on the prevention of infectious disease for 2.08 million people.On Comprehensive Cooperation, KOICA transferred Korea s outstanding capabilities in infectious diseases response as well as its infectious disease response system by training healthcare and medical professionals. In particular, in Uzbekistan, where Korea s experts in infectious disease prevention and control were dispatched, COVID-19 Control Headquarters were created by benchmarking KCDC (Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Consequently, Uzbekistan s infection rate remained at only 18% of that of neighboring countries.In 2022, preparing for post-pandemic timesIn 2022, KOICA is shifting its ABC Program toward projects aimed at COVID-19 recovery. The focus of support is moving from emergency response to capacity-strengthening for infectious disease management and healthcare. Considering the current COVID-19 situation and needs of each country, however, KOICA will continue to implement emergency response projects involving humanitarian aid, strengthening economic and social resilience, etc., although on a limited scale. To this end, KOICA will strive to ensure developing countries equal access to vaccines and support programs to create basic sanitary environments and to raise awareness for preventing infectious diseases, among other issues. At the G7 Summit in June 2021, Korea promised to support 100 million USD to provide vaccines to developing countries in 2022. To realize this, KOICA will endeavor to ensure equitable access to vaccines by cooperating with the international community, while also contributing to safe vaccine distribution and improved vaccination rates by providing syringes and refrigerated vehicles for transporting vaccines. KOICA is also working to create proper environments for preventing infectious diseases by installing bathrooms, drinking water fountains, etc.In addition, the agency will actively implement projects for improving related infrastructure and developing human resources to raise response capabilities for infectious diseases. It also plans to enhance the capabilities of contact tracing through projects to nurture epidemic intelligence service officers. At the same time, KOICA plans to additionally provide ultra-low temperature freezers, nucleic acid extraction equipment for virus detection, and laboratory material for diagnosis of infectious diseases, etc. Despite the easing of measures in various countries, COVID-19 still poses a serious threat to underdeveloped countries due to limited resources. While immediate humanitarian assistance is still essential, it is all the more important to equip developing countries with sustainable capabilities to enable them to take initiative and proactively respond to infectious diseases on their own. For this reason, KOICA seeks to contribute to the international community through its ABC Program, in which Korea transfers its disease control and prevention system, capabilities, and technologies to partner countries. Seeing that one of the ultimate objectives of development cooperation is to ensure that all of mankind can enjoy lives of good health and human dignity, KOICA will continue to develop innovative and creative programs that respond to and support the needs of developing countries in infectious diseases. 1) ACT-A: Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, global collaboration to accelerate the development and production of and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines2)COVAX: A globally-pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines supported by forming a fund using ODA finances. Donor countries collectively procure vaccines in advance by making contracts with vaccine manufacturers and allocate the vaccines to developing countries.
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Latest news from KOICA : KOICA NEWS
KOICA is carrying out various development cooperation projects for the sustainable development of developing countries and the common prosperity of the global community. KOICA recently held a Digital Innovation Day event to discuss ways to maximize the performance of its development cooperation projects through digital innovation. Amid worldwide digital transformation, the agency is also supporting the establishment of digital governance in partner countries by carrying out projects in countries including Mongolia and Nigeria. KOICA has also been expanding the scope of its activities through an MOU with the Korea Foundation and resumption of its overseas volunteer program, previously suspended due to COVID-19.  KOICA launches Digital Innovation DayIn the age of accelerated digital transformation, KOICA has been implementing tasks and strategies for digital innovation to maximize its project outcomes and enable the public to access development cooperation data with ease. In this regard, the agency celebrated Digital Innovation Day and held an event at its headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province on May 17, where it discussed and shared the outcomes of its projects and announced the direction of its organization-wide digital innovation process, set to be launched throughout the year. Executives and employees also participated in a hackathon1) to brainstorm and share ideas for effective digital innovation strategies to enhance the agency s work process. KOICA has additionally gathered ideas for digital innovation from different departments and plans to select outstanding tasks to carry out by the end of June.  KOICA signs MOU with Korea FoundationKOICA and the Korea Foundation (KF) joined hands to collaborate in the fields of international development cooperation and public diplomacy. On May 12, the two organizations signed an MOU for cooperation on international development and public diplomacy at the KF headquarters in Seogwipo, Jeju Island. The MOU highlights the two organizations pledges to cooperate in (a) discovering, implementing, and evaluating grant development cooperation projects (b) identifying a public diplomacy agenda in the field of development cooperation (c) exchanging knowledge to stimulate education and research, and so on. KOICA looks forward to the MOU creating synergy between two organizations that possess expertise in the respective areas of international development cooperation and public diplomacy.  KOICA supports digital governance in partner countries A launching ceremony for the state registration system in Mongolia, successfully built as a part of KOICA s project (Delivery of public service to citizens through digital type by developing state registration infrastructure, 2020-2022), was held on May 10. This project was a follow-up to a prior project implemented in 2011-2012 to set up Mongolia s state registration system and enhance the administrative efficiency of the Mongolian government. The recent project bridged the gap in quality among various state registration services offered throughout regions, thereby improving the provision of public services for Mongolian nationals. A kick-off event was also held in Nigeria on May 19 for the project for building foundations towards digital governance in Nigeria (2020-2026). This project aims to create necessary infrastructure to build Nigeria's resident registration system and provide one-stop e-government services, in connection with previous e-government capacity-building projects carried out in Nigeria from 2013 to 2019. These are the most recent in a series of projects that KOICA has long implemented to support developing countries in establishing e-governance systems. KOICA receives 2022 Korea ESG Excellence AwardKOICA won an award for excellence at the 2022 Korea ESG Management Awards held at the Korea Economic Daily in Jungnim-dong, Seoul on June 15. The awards are given to Korea s public sector institutions (local public enterprises, state run public enterprises, quasi-governmental institutions) that excel in ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) management based on comprehensive criteria. Among the four institutions that received the award for excellence in the quasi-governmental institution category, KOICA earned the highest score with an overall score level of 84.7%. KOICA was recognized for its achievements in various fields, such as earning the Green Climate Fund (GCF) accreditation, contributing to job growth, providing public safety services, and providing public data. KOICA s efforts in creating jobs in the private sector (about 7,800) were particularly applauded. Also highly noted was KOICA s utilization of some wings at its headquarters as quarantine facilities and live-in treatment centers during hospital bed shortages amid the pandemic, resulting in provision of urgent care to patients.  KOICA resumes overseas volunteer program suspended during COVID-19 pandemic KOICA recently recruited its 149th team of volunteers and resumed its overseas volunteers program, which had been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been 26 months since all 1437 volunteers, who were active in 45 countries, returned to Korea in March of 2020. Going forward, KOICA plans to send a total of 39 members sequentially to 10 countries, including Ghana, Paraguay, and Fiji, starting with Bolivia on May 25. In the meantime, KOICA has introduced an e-volunteering program to allow volunteer activity from Korea, which has been able to fill the lack in support for developing countries due to pandemic restrictions. A total of 234 members participated in this program and volunteered remotely in 28 countries and 177 organizations, resulting in 43,889 beneficiaries. 1) Hackathon: An event where employees come together to collaborate intensively to design a program or system
2022.06.28 1 0
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