Implementing an annual training in leadership and sustainable agriculture skills for rural leaders
Describe the need affecting community
Participants in the ARI Rural Leaders Training Program, with the exception of Japanese participants, attend the program under full scholarship, because they are chosen from communities and local organizations that cannot afford to pay the full costs of travel and training. For over 40 years this has been made possible by donor funding, which is received from hundreds of individuals who are mostly Christian from across Japan and abroad, as well as from churches and other institutional givers of grants and scholarships. ARI is therefore in need of funding support, as well as donations in kind (materials, expertise, volunteer labor), to continue this program.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
We will continue the efforts described above, seek potential new financial supporters, and ideas/opportunities for income generation.
Describe the primary goal of the project
Human resource training for rural leaders from developing nations in Asia and Africa, and occasionally from the Pacific and Central and South America. Each year, ARI carries out a 9-month rural leaders training program to study sustainable agriculture through integrated organic farming, community development, and leadership. Upon completion of this training, the participant will return to work in his/her sending body in his/her community, utilizing what they have learned in ARI to work for the development of their own people. Our hope is that the long term impact of ARI’s training program will be seen in local communities where ARI graduates serve. By applying what they’ve learned at ARI, both agricultural knowledge, and leadership skills, graduates of the program can enable individuals and communities to move away from conventional, chemical-dependent, agriculture toward more organic methods that are more healthy for community members and their soil. Also, we hope that ARI’s open and respectful stance toward people of other faiths will be reflected in the leadership practices of graduates, such that they might be agents of peace and mutual respect among diverse community members.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project
In the communities of ARI graduates we would like to see the following changes: Growth of sustainable and organic agriculture, Increased use of previously underutilized local resources, Decrease of agrochemical usage, Increase of self-initiated collaborations in farming, marketing and financing, Increase of income-generating activities, Improved health of crops, livestocks and human residents, Increased confidence in one’s local community and economy, Greater inclusivity (age, gender, ethnicity, religion) in local decision making, Spread of healthy, sustainable agriculture knowledge to other communities.