Development as pedagogy

On becoming good models in Japan and Myanmar


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A key approach to development aid in Japan has been hitozukuri (making persons), which refers not only to the transfer of skills but also to the holistic cultivation of people. The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA), which emerged from a Shinto-based religious group, has been one of the leading NGOs in hitozukuri aid, training people in sustainable agriculture around the Asia-Pacific region. A central aspect of OISCA's activities consists of imitative practices such as “leading by example.” Aid workers’ efforts to become and adapt “good models” show how modeling practices are not standardizing but can, rather, be a lens through which to understand development work as a process of learning and making ethical subjects, a process that transforms both aid workers and aid recipients.