ARI Graduate Impact Study report
A grant from the Fetzer Institute in the United States allowed researchers to conduct a two-year study, on campus and abroad, through questionnaires and interviews with graduates, participants, staff and volunteers at ARI. In the 40-year history of ARI’s training this objective assessment by a third party was the first of its kind, though it had been a long-held wish for which there had been no opportunity in the past. We greatly appreciate that through the recommendation of Prof. Richard Gardener (Sophia University), ARI was chosen as the subject of the Fetzer Institute’s study, and that Ms. Sarajean Rossitto, a Tokyo-based NGO / NPO consultant with rich practical and research experience, was available to coordinate the implementation.
On April 28, the results were presented at a public presentation at Sophia University’s Yotsuya Campus. Despite the lateness of the hour about 60 listeners among whom were ARI supporters, university students, and individuals related to NGOs and Christian organizations took part. From ARI, director Arakawa, as well as missionary Timothy B. Appau and meal service coordinator Zacivolu Rhakho (who are also both ARI graduates) joined to present information about ARI and their experience as graduates.
The main finding from this study showed that the majority of the surveyed graduates continue their activities related to the philosophy and practice of sustainable agriculture, servant leadership and community building – the three main pillars of ARI’s training. Further, many graduates confirmed that they were personally transformed by the values expressed in the motto, “That We May Live Together.” Graduates who sustain a deep influence on local communities believe that the reason for their success is ARI’s “value-based learning,” represented by the servant leader model, is being utilized.
We are happy that this assessment was realized as an external study. However, it has also produced some homework for ARI, by bringing into focus a number of issues that we need to tackle to improve of the quality of our training and the institute’s management.