Marvin Parvez ｜Reginal Director, Community World Service Asia
1. How did you first get in contact with CWS Japan？
Komino san (CWS Japan Secretary General) and I have been working for a very long time in the whole region from the Pacific to Europe, implementing programs, building networks, developing partnerships and relationships. It has been great opportunity to work together, and in fact, when Earthquake and the Tsunami in Tohoku happened, he was actually visiting Pakistan/Afghanistan program areas. And it was on the news, we saw it in the evening and we decided that Komino san will take a trip back to his home country to look at the situation.
I still remember, one of the first videos he sent was total homes destroyed, boats, and livelihoods people in desperate need of food and clean water and shelter. You don’t expect something like that from the first world country. We expect something like that from the third world, underdeveloped country, but the destruction was so huge. And it was not just Earthquake and Tsunami, but also a disaster in Fukushima. It was decided in the meeting that he will then stay there, and start a program to assist the communities in distress and in need. As a first step, we worked with communications colleague Matt, back in New York to to produce and to edit the video, and there was tremendous support from North America and Europe, and from other colleagues in out networks and partnerships.
That was the beginning and it was then decided to have CWS Japan because of the strategic location, has the fundraising opportunity, and programming needs to start its own office and organization. The Board was selected in partnership with the local members, whether it was National Council, YMCA, and other friends like Seeds Asia. And new organization was born with its strong governing body and very dedicated team.
2. What was the good thing about working with CWS Japan?
When I talk about and think about CWS Japan, as a whole, the team, the governance, and its friends in Japan and around the world, the team and the governing body have been strategic, have been able to prioritize and act at the right time, and helped develop strategic relationships and the niche programs that would be helpful not only to them, but also for partners and networks. And that’s one of the greatest things about them.
If you go back to the first few years, one of the largest Q&A (Quality and Accountability) conference was organized by CWS Japan in Tokyo. And since then, the Q&A movement has become independent movement in its sole organization, and that’s the strategic direction the governing board and the team state that they don’t control, but the priority becomes being sustainable. That applies to DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction), work they are doing around Asia. And another very strong thing about CWS Japan is the way how it promotes collaboration in the region, and around the globe. With organization that are like-minded brings organizations together. Bangkok week where CWS Asia, CWS Japan, ICVA, ADRRN, UNOCHA Regional Office come together
it’s an amazing way of showing how they promote collaboration and cooperation. In our sector which is dominated by very few, CWS Japan is one Asian organization that is taking a lead of being one of the leaders in the sector.
3. What advice do you have for CWS Japan and what do you expect from CWS Japan in the future?
My advice to everybody at CWS Japan, whether at the governing level or the team, is just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing it very well. And I think a lot of us are learning from you. Continue to be a role model, continue to be strategic, and promote humbleness, empowering approach, and dignity in partnership and programming, and quality programs.
4. What are approaches and/or perspectives that you uphold as utmost importance in humanitarian and disaster risk reduction work?
One of my greatest privilege in life was when I was able to serve on its board as its first chairperson. And that was a privilege and a great learning. The second privilege is that the work we do now as colleague agency as sister organization, as partners. Obviously the credit goes to the culture and the team in CWS Japan, and it is dignified and empowering partnership. That’s what we are heading for, and that’s what we want. A dignified sector with everybody sits as equal on the table.
Once again, congratulations on your happy birthday.