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Report on the 19th SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Seminar "From the Field of Making a Place for Young People” (June 2022)


Vision of “Katariba”

In this seminar, I gained insight into the relationship between societal issues and the characteristics of nonprofit organizations (NPOs), as well as the influence that NPOs have on society. The goal of “Katariba”, one of the Japanese NPOs, is to instill drive and creativity in young teens and foster a community where individuals can cultivate the capacity to shape their own futures. Two topics in particular piqued my interest during the seminar.

“Katariba” promotes the mutual growth model of diagonal relationships (“naname no kankei"), which refers to connections with various individuals for young people. This model is the focal point of the activities of “Katariba”. “Katariba”’s approach differs from that of teachers and parents (vertical) or classmates and friends (horizontal). Instead, seniors who are "one step ahead" can establish diagonal relationships that inspire and motivate teenagers internally. In recent years, the impact of nuclearization of the family and the lack of social opportunities caused by the coronavirus pandemic have made the decline in relationships more pronounced. Therefore, it is necessary to grow together and nurture our hearts through the ways of connection that transform into all kinds of relationships. I would like to think more deeply about the significance of building this relationship and what to keep in mind by reconsidering the relationship between myself and the people around me.

The second point pertains to how NPOs view social issues. “Katariba”’s support facility for afterschool teens came about by identifying societal challenges. At “Katariba”, multiple social issues are sorted out with an awareness of mutual relationships resulting in the unwavering vision to “creating a place to stay”. We believe this problem-solving approach empowers NPOs to serve as an option for individuals with diverse backgrounds and needs. Furthermore, I felt that the NPO’s approach of "fostering motivation" rather than relying on a "place to stay" demonstrates their medium to long-term perspective on things and their people-oriented approach to service, which sets them apart from for-profit companies.

Additionally, it is noteworthy that NPOs are not solely responsible for addressing these challenges, but are collaborating with local communities, governments, and schools, to encourage each other. I believe it is essential for NPOs and other stakeholders to form partnerships that address the same social issues by leveraging their respective strengths, while complementing each other. Moreover, I agree with views of Ms. Sasama, the lecturer, on social partnerships being formed beyond a narrow self-interest approach of viewing social issues and the current situation as solely one’s own concern. By rethinking one’s relationship with society from various perspectives, identifying social challenges, and determining how one intends to interact and find solutions, we can discover ways to engage with a diverse range of actors. As suggested by Ms. Sasama, I would like to start actions by verbalizing and considering what I want to achieve in the future.

By learning about initiatives addressing these issues and societal changes from the field’s perspective, I gained deeper understanding of NPOs’ function. It also allowed me to reflect on my relationship to society. Thank you very much for giving us the lecture.

(Kotone Otsu, junior, Global Studies for Intercultural Cooperation Course, Department of Languages and Culture, Faculty of Letters and Education)

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