Sawako has worked in the international cooperation sector for over 20 years, starting from a governmental function (Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japanese Delegation to OECD ) to an NGO network, Japan NGO Centre for International Cooperation (JANIC). She has been working on NGO accountability since 2008. She developed and provided “Accountability Self Check (ASC)”, an accountability assessment and capacity building tool by JANIC, now used by over 100 Japanese NGOs. After the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, she has been promoting Quality and Accountability initiatives in Japan with humanitarian actors.
She took a leading role in setting up Quality and Accountability Network in Japan (JQAN) in July 2015 and served as Secretary General. She also participated in various social activities from educational support to immigrant children to social startups. She has a B.A. in Humanities (Journalism) from Sophia University, Tokyo and a MSc in Management of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), London.
I am a Director of the Board and Chair of the HQAI Facilitation Fund Management Committee. I joined HQAI in 2015.
I have been engaged in encouraging the Japanese nonprofit sector to raise its accountability over a decade. After experiencing the 2011 Great Japan Earthquake, the sector realised the need to work harder on the quality aspect, by incorporating humanitarian principles and a rights-based approach. As I took part in the training and discussion on Q&A at a global level, I got specially interested in certification as a useful and practical means to ensure quality services allowing people to live with dignity.
HQAI is unique in that it provides an opportunity for all organisations wishing to be champions of qualified and accountable humanitarian and development responses, regardless of where they are based or the scale at which they operate.