The International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) development arm, the Agitos Foundation, and the Japan Sport Council (JSC) are set to roll out the second phase of a new programme aimed at growing Para-sports in South East Asia before Tokyo 2020.
The programme is part of Sport for Tomorrow, a Japanese Government-led initiative to make international contributions through sport.
After partnering earlier this year and launching the Para-sport management programme in February, the two organisations are holding a series of workshops - entitled "Training Workshops of Programme Leads" - from tomorrow until Monday (October 24) in Tokyo.
The workshops will aim to train leaders from nine National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) in Asia with a view to improving the overall organisational capacities of the NPCs in preparation for Tokyo 2020.
"We expect the training workshop to make a change to the participants to create an inclusive society through Para-sport," said Takumi Kawahara, director of the Secretariat of the Sport for Tomorrow Consortium within the JSC.
"The participants will build a new network through the workshop."
A pair of representatives from each NPC - Singapore, Vietnam, The Philippines, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Timor-Leste - are due to take part.
The representatives will consist of a senior NPC manager and a young leader, who it is hoped will learn new, interactive workshop facilitation skills and gain more knowledge of key NPC working areas: marketing and communication, governance and planning, and athlete development.
"The workshop is a useful way to form a common decision-making process among the NPCs, since NPCs sometimes have different cultural backgrounds," said Naoe Yasuoka, international liaison manager at the Japan Paralympic Committee (JPC).
"I hope the skills learned would boost the lateral communication in the South East Asian region.
"Networking between NPCs is particularly expected at the workshops.
"There are many NPCs that do not have the capacity to support their athletes.
"But NPCs could co-operate together to support their athletes and each other.
"Even we have long history to co-operate together in the region."
Participants will get to learn from the JPC’s experience of developing Para-sport in Japan, while Japanese representatives will present case studies on each NPC working area and share their experience and knowledge working with the region.
The NPC and workshop participants are supported to achieve the 16 intended tangible outcomes in each NPC working area.
The training will include elements of the Agitos Foundation’s Organisational Capacity Programme, which is currently supporting NPCs around the world with their development.
Partners of the Agitos Foundation also include the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Centre (NFPSC), JPC and the IPC Academy through World Academy of Sport trainers.
"It will be a very steep learning curve for some participants, but it is a great opportunity to learn from each other, to help each other, and then to reach a tangible goal at the end of the training," said NFPSC representative Miki Matheson, a three-time Paralympic gold medallist in ice sledge speed racing.
"Although we are not far from each other geographically, we have never had an opportunity to build a strong network.
"So this will be our first step of our collaboration for future success.
"Heading forward to Pyeongchang 2018, Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, the next few Games will be held in Asia, which will help to fuel action to propel the Paralympic Movement within this region."
The programme’s launch took place in February in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, with aims of empowering NPCs in South East Asia to strengthen their structures through collaborative working and training.
Each NPC nominated two young leaders and managers or directors responsible for Para-sport to take part in the upcoming training workshop.