We are actively looking for organizations that can benefit from our Rural Leaders Training Program: grassroots organizations in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Near East, and the Pacific that work directly with rural communities and who are willing to invest in valuable training for their key staff.
We also welcome inquiries and applications from such organizations and communities themselves. We are waiting to hear from you!
On this page, you can find out how your organization/community can partner with ARI and what the steps are to send a Rural Leader for the ARI Training.
The organization may be an international, national or local NGO, religious organization, or other organization based in a rural area, with a clear history of working for at least 3 years with marginalized people in the local community, and a commitment toward self-sustainability.
Anyone interested in taking part in the ARI Rural Leaders Training Program must be employed or actively involved in an organization that will serve as her/his Sending Body (SB). Private persons cannot apply.
Apply for Sending Body (SB) Registration
ARI views grassroots organizations as partners toward a common mission: to build an environmentally healthy, just, and peaceful world.
In order to form a productive partnership, it is essential to begin with a mutual understanding of each other’s work and mission. This is why we carefully review each organization’s work and goals to determine whether they are compatible. Upon approval of your application, your organization will be registered as a potential Sending Body.
The organization may be an international, national, local NGO, religious organization, or other organization based in a rural area.
A clear history of working for at least 3 years with marginalized people in the local community.
A commitment toward sustainability.
Single church organizations should apply through their regional association or Diocesan authority.
Government offices or departments are normally not considered as Sending Bodies. Exceptions are made for countries without NGOs or church organizations.
ARI does not promote church planting evangelism, large-scale agriculture, and industrial development, and will not consider organizations with these goals.
Apply for the Training
Upon approval of your Sending Body registration, we will send you an official ARI Individual Application form for the nominated individual from your organization.
(1) The Applicant should be a woman or a man dedicated to serving people at the grassroots level in rural areas.
(2) ARI places high priority on the training of women, that they may participate more fully and equally in all aspects of society. We strongly encourage the SB to select qualified women leaders to apply for this training program.
(3) The Applicant must have at least 3 years of experience as a leader in her/his rural community.
(4) ARI accepts overseas applicants between the ages of 25 to 45. The Applicant must be prepared to live a simple and demanding life. Daily manual labor on the farm and campus is a requirement for all community members, therefore the applicant must be of good physical fitness and health.
(5) The Applicant must be nominated by a Sending Body—a specific organization within which she/he is carrying out her/his work. The Applicant together with the SB must be able to provide a clear objective or plan for use of this training and the SB must pledge to receive the applicant upon completion of this program.
(6) Preference is placed on field staff who are working directly with the people. Those working primarily in administration or in the directorship position will not be considered.
(7) The Applicant should have a motivation and conviction which is grounded in spirituality. We welcome people of all faiths as well as those without any particular religion.
(8) English is used for all program events as well as in daily life. The Applicant should have sufficient ability to communicate in English. There is no need to learn Japanese.
Prepare for the Training
Once an applicant has been officially accepted as a participant of the training program, they must coordinate with ARI through several steps. The Admissions team will guide them throughout the process until they arrive at ARI.
Every training year begins in April and ends in December. Participants are scheduled to arrive in Japan in late March so that they have time to adjust, and return to their home countries before Christmas (25th Dec).
Once an applicant has been officially accepted as a participant of the training program, we will assist you in acquiring the necessary documents (visa) for your study at ARI. Make sure you have a valid passport for the duration of your stay in Japan.
Our admissions team supports the visa application and international travel processes from start to finish. However, the candidate is responsible for making the visit to the embassy in order to obtain their visa.
This visa can only be utilized for the purpose of training at ARI. Additional or part-time work is not permitted with this visa.
Contact & Download
You can find the above instructions and further details in our Admissions Brochure.
Potential Sending Bodies can download and fill out the application form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ARI an agricultural training institute?
ARI is first and foremost a Rural Leaders Training Institute. In order to equip Rural Leaders, we use agriculture as a method for learning.
Is ARI a Christian institution? Is it only for Christians?
ARI is an ecumenical Christian institution. It is a member of the United Church of Christ in Japan’s Mission School Council. Participants are expected to attend Christian worship and ceremonies during the training, but we welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds. We strive for a diverse community in which we learn to respect other faiths and learn from them.
Does ARI give diplomas or academic degrees?
No. We offer a certificate of completion for the training upon graduation. Our training is about community benefit, not individual prestige.
Qualifications for the Training
Do I need to be the head of my organization to be a Rural Leader?
No. When using the term “Rural Leaders” we do not mean they have to be village chiefs, or directors of organizations. To us, Rural Leaders are those who live and work in grassroots rural areas. They know the needs of their communities and are dedicated and experienced in those areas.
Do I need to have an advanced educational degree?
No. Our participants come from various educational backgrounds. We hope to support Rural Leaders regardless of their educational qualifications.
My English is not so good. Can I still attend the training?
ARI’s training is conducted exclusively in English. But we accept candidates with weak English skills if they match other criteria of our selection standards. We recommend such applicants to take English classes before training.
Do I have to learn Japanese to attend the program?
No. We offer basic Japanese language classes.
I have a physical disability. Can I still attend the training?
The training requires you to be physically fit for farm work, punctual attendance of classes and manual labor. Admission will be considered with care.
Life & Training at ARI
Where will I be living?
We have separate men’s and women’s dormitories where all participants and volunteers live. Additionally, participants will share a room with one other participant, who will be from a different country, and perhaps a different religion. It is a great opportunity to practice the ARI motto “That We May Live Together”.
Will I be able to take part-time work during the training?
No. Part-time work is not permitted under participants’ student visas.
Will I be able to attend religious services?
There are Catholic and Protestant churches, as well as Buddhist temples in the area. There are no Islamic mosques, or temples for Hindus, Jains, or Sikhs in the city. Depending on the religious needs of participants, and the availability of space, we provide a prayer room in the dormitories.