About the Muscat Fund
Since its founding in 1984, Appropriate Agriculture International Co., Ltd. (AAI) has been working in arid regions especially focusing on the Middle East and African countries. We have participated in technical cooperation projects in the fields of agriculture, forestry, rural development, regional planning, and environmental conservation in developing countries of these regions. Through these activities, we have been strongly aware that sustained and proactive participation of local residents is essential in the project activities, in order to improve their livelihood and welfare in developing countries. Particularly, it has been also realized that appropriate scale of the project is crucially important for sustainable and successful project implementation. We believe that it could destroy system of local communities if we provide impatient implementation of project, and/or financial/in kind support with ignoring local economic situation. Therefore, we consider that conducting "grassroots level" project with local communities could be an alternative solution to avoid such destruction, which also would be meaningful to identify problems and countermeasures of international cooperation activities. Consequently, in 1997, we voluntary gathered in Muscat, the capital of Oman, and decided to establish the "Muscat Fund" to implement technical cooperation at the grassroots level within our capacity. The fund works directly with NPOs/NGOs and other community-based organizations to implement sustainable activities on a small scale, in line with serious demands of local residents.
The fund aims to support developing countries and create better communities mainly in line with keywords such as "resident participation", "appropriate technology", "small scale (or appropriate scale)", "sustainability", "independence" and "regional characteristics". In addition, this fund also contains the strong desire of the investors who have already retired from AAI to fulfill the wishes of the people they met during their active careers. The main activities are shown as below.
- Identifying and nurturing local NGOs and NPOs that carry out local activities: We will discover and nurture local NGOs and NPOs that carry out community activities, while making the most of our experience in local activities and exchange relationships. We will exchange opinions with these organizations based on local needs and explore ways to provide more effective assistance according to the local situation.
- Collaborative projects and technical cooperation with various organizations: Collaborate in projects aimed at improving the livelihoods of residents and preserving the local environment implemented by NGOs and NPOs with which we have established cooperative relationships. We will provide technology and funds for such projects. At the same time, we also provide support for obtaining funds from overseas aid agencies.
- Nurturing Japanese successors who will play an active role in international cooperation: We will discover and train young human resources who can play an active role in the field of international cooperation. In addition, we will introduce promising human resources to acquaintances and friends who are active overseas and have them participate in exchanges with residents and practical work on site.
- Disclosure of information obtained through the activities of the fund and proposal of effective support methods: We will disclose the details of the activities of the fund and the information obtained. In addition, while considering the ideal form of international cooperation in the future, we will propose methods that can provide effective support that is truly useful to local residents even with limited funds.
The fund is mainly operated by the former employees of AAI, who are the investors, and the members are as follows.