Japanese Workplace Philosophy Kaizen Being Used In Ethiopia

Written by Ann Brown

From BBC News

“Sorting, setting in order, shining, standardizing, sustaining,” proclaims a handwritten poster stuck to the wall of a shed where women gather twice a week to make craft items in the village of Faniekir.

Kaizen, the workplace philosophy that helped guide Japan’s recovery from the ruins of defeat in World War Two, has reached the rural uplands of southern Ethiopia.

Simple principles of tidiness and self-discipline are among the foundations of an approach that so impressed the late prime minister Meles Zenawi that he adopted it as national strategy.

Now it is helping women in southern highland villages develop businesses to supplement their farming work.

“We’ve got social recognition. Since we organized this, farmers come and sell to us and local government administrators respect us,” says Amelewerk Haile, who chairs the Faniekir women’s craft group.

“As women we cover many domestic expenses, plus we get more recognition from our husbands because we have got more skills.”

Mr Zenawi learned of kaizen at a 2008 Tokyo conference on African development – and its themes now feature in numerous Ethiopian projects supported by Japanese aid.

Written by Paul Melly/Read more at BBC News

About Ann Brown

Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire.com, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.