(Yasuko OSE)

Welcome to the Economic Empowerment Network (EEN)!

EEN is pronounced “ee (ii)-en.” In Japanese, “ee (ii)” means “good,” and “en” has two meanings: the first is “human relationships or a bond decided by fate” and the second is “circle.” Through my life, I have met countless people, all of whom have given me great learning opportunities in one way or another. As I become older, I have come to realize that a huge number of people have supported me, and how much I have been given by society. During the second half of my life, I would like to “pay back my social debt” – That is why I launched EEN.

As an international development practitioner, I have visited a lot of rural areas in Japan and developing countries. I have met a lot of energetic people, and have observed many different things made from local resources. Communicating with local people, I have learned a lot about how to revitalize a village and how to produce and sell competitive products. Through my professional experience, I have seen a large number of successes in rural development, agribusiness and entrepreneurship development from all over the world.

One day I asked myself, “Who needs this tremendous amount of information that I have collected?” It’s not me! It should be those in developing countries who provide support to economic empowerment activities or who are involved in or planning to start income-generating activities. I want to wholeheartedly pass all of my professional experience and expertise on to those who can use it. While I live and breathe, I want to make sure that I do so.

On the earth today, there are approximately 7.7 billion people. Out of those 7.7 billion, how many people can we meet in our lifetime? Having met you, either virtually or in person, is a miracle because you are one of the 7.7 billion. So, I would like to cherish this precious encounter. I believe that all of you who are reading this message must be interested in economic empowerment and also must have asked what “empowerment” is all about and how it could be achieved. Shall we look for the answer together? I hope that your access to the EEN website is a beginning of an ee(ii)-en with EEN, and that it will continue for a long time.

Be Empowered with Available Resources. Let’s BEAR!


Yasuko Ose: International development practitioner. Has worked in more than 30 countries with international organizations since earning a master’s degree of public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. Focus fields are agribusiness and value chain development, youth and women’s entrepreneurship development, and social inclusion.