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Name Hiroaki (QBE)
Employer Ace Insurance, Japan
Day job Junior Accountant
Assignment Khemara

Hiroaki (QBE)

Hiroaki Joto, from Japan, had been working within a finance department in an insurance company for over 3 years before he decided to do something different. He wanted to move into the field of micro-insurance, but found himself with some free time to do something REALLY different.
Hiroaki undertook a 4 week volunteer placement through AfID supporting Khemara in Cambodia. Khemara was the very first local NGO to be established in Cambodia, back in 1991, and they work for the advancement of women and children by working directly with communities.
During his time with Kermara, Hiroaki undertook an internal audit as well as creating a chart of accounts and reviewing some of their financial policies.
Upon Hiroaki’s return we caught up with him to hear more about his experience as an AfID volunteer.
“I wanted to work in the field of Micro-insurance which is a kind of insurance version of Micro-finance, so I decided to take an MBA for that purpose. That decision allowed me to quit my job a bit earlier and do some volunteering before the start of the course. I had always wanted to do something for people in developing countries.

“I’d travelled to Thailand and Vietnam before for a few weeks and that experience was useful for me in getting used to living in Cambodia, but I hadn’t done any more extensive travelling beyond that.

“Before volunteering overseas my two biggest concerns were my level of English and how I would cope with the different food. I used to have lunch with the HR manager and I tended to order what he did so I didn’t suffer at all. In Phnom Penh, there are so many western-style restaurants where I ate well in the evenings. As for my English, I was able to communicate with the local staff effectively, particularly with the Finance Officer who was so cooperative.

"During my placement I created an accounting rule and loan and saving controlling tools on a Micro-finance project which was newly launched this year. It was a good opportunity for me to get involved with Micro-finance.

"I undertook an internal audit, and was able to detect some points that can be resolved by following volunteers. This is an example of the long-haul commitment of AfID and their volunteers to NGOs.

“The most rewarding aspect of the placement was getting very close to the local staff. They are now my friends and I would like to work in Cambodia again. They invited me to some parties and kindly held a farewell for me and gave me a present. I also had the opportunity to visit provinces with them which tourists never get to see, and went to some places by bike by myself.

“My placement has strengthened my desire to work within international development, hopefully through Micro-insurance or through finance or accounting jobs. I really appreciate the opportunity AfID gave to me.

“Would I recommend AfID to others? Absolutely yes, especially to Japanese accountants. I am thinking of taking on a new placement and it would be my pleasure to do something for AfID or indeed Khemara again.”

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