UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Misako Konno visited Kenya this past week where she witnessed first-hand joint projects of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as well as development projects carried out by Japanese corporations and NGOs.
Her visit from 3 to 9 August, ahead of the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development to be held on 27 and 28 August, focused on the importance of building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation - aims of Goal 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by world leaders at the United Nations in 2015 to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
While in Kenya, she was warmly welcomed by a community which continues to benefit from clean water equipment installed in 2013 and co-funded by UNDP and Wellthy Corporation. Using slow sand filtration and drip irrigation, the system provides the residents convenient access to clean water, which they also use for agriculture and business.
Her first official trip to Kenya as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador included a visit to a kiosk business founded by a former Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer in Kenya, focused on providing employment opportunities for rural communities, as well as a visit to a Japanese NGO working to enhance people's access to social services through sandbag road construction.
Konno also visited Lake Nakuru, a World Heritage Site designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which had been a famous habitat for billions of flamingos and where environmental conditions have significantly deteriorated due to logging, climate change and the change in water quality.
She will talk about her mission to Kenya at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on 22 August.
About Misako Konnno
Misako Konno is an acclaimed actress in Japan. Since her debut in 1979, she has appeared in various television programmes, movies and stage productions. As a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, Misako has visited nine UNDP programme countries - Cambodia (twice), Bhutan, Ghana, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, Mongolia, Tanzania and Pakistan - as well as the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. She has delivered lectures on development issues nationwide, 30 times per year on average, and appeared in various media. Misako also supports UNDP global campaigns such as International Women's Day, COP 21 in 2015 and the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. In 2009, she was awarded the Foreign Minister's Commendations for her outstanding contributions as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.
Source: United Nations Development Programme