It began with a thought that was held by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) staff members working in developing countries:

  "Our world is facing poverty, issues about global environment, and many other challenges. But people in developing countries never lose their energy to keep working hard to make things better for their countries. Working directly with these people in developing countries, shouldn't we as JICA staff tell something about them to other people, especially to our children who are going to support our earth in the future?" To bring this idea into shape, JICA started running a series of columns in Asahi Shogakusei Shimbun, a newspaper for elementary school children, under a title "Atsumare! Chikyu-no Kyoshitsu " (Join us! Class Planet). Its articles introduced children to different topics about the world and the international cooperation. This year-long series continued to receive great feedback from educators and overseas readers after its completion, which eventually led JICA to publish a book that contains all the columns featured in the paper. Throughout this 56-page book, over 50 JICA staff members tell young readers about different parts of the world (Africa, Middle East, Asia, South Pacific, Central and South America) and various global issues (education, environment, energy conservation, international emergency rescue teams, healthcare, JICA volunteers). The book uses quizzes and worksheets to explain these topics to children in a fun and easy-to-understand format. Plenty of information from local sources along with data also make this book suitable as a supplementary reading for a general education class. Copies are available free of charge. The agency hopes that the book will be shared among many children at homes and in classrooms.
Target age: students from elementary school through high school
Format: A4 booklet; 56 pages
Publisher: JICA
In cooperation with: Asahi Shogakusei Shimbun
Contact: JICA Chikyu Hiroba Citizen Participation & Cooperation Promotion Department
(TEL: 03-3400-7254)
To receive a copy: Available free of charge at JICA's regional offices in Japan (copies may be mailed; postage is recipient's responsibility)
In addition to " Atsumare! Chikyu-no Kyoshitsu, " a variety of educational materials for children are available from JICA. To view the list, visit "A list of JICA educational materials" at: http://www.jica.go.jp/hiroba/educator/kyozai/index.html#atsumare (Japanese only)
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