Interview with Sarajean Rossitto

People with diverse experiences and cultural backgrounds are working on a certificate in NGO Management. Students taking these courses learn valuable tips that can open their eyes and change their life. Let's find out more from the instructor!

Could you tell us about your background?

Since 2005 I have worked as an independent consultant supporting project development and training programs for groups like JICA, FASID and educational programs in NGO management like the one at Temple University, Japan Campus. Before that I worked at the Tokyo office of an American NGO. And before that I was in graduate school in New York City studying human rights in Asia. I also worked for the Tokyo YMCA for six years. Since March 2011 I have worked with Give2Asia to support their Tohoku grant distribution and management. In this capacity I look for recovery projects, meet with groups, review their plans, help them with funding applications, and as part of that end up doing a bit of translation.

What courses do you teach? — How can these courses help students?

I teach a number of courses in NGO Management. These include:

  • Japanese Society & Nonprofit Organizations
  • Global Issues and How International NGOs Tackle Them
  • Roles and Functions of NGOs
  • Management Aspects and Issues of NGOs
  • Community Organizing for Social Change
  • Fundraising for NGO's: Practical Hints
  • Grant Proposal Writing for Nonprofits/NGOs
  • Disaster Management and the role of NGOs, and
  • Volunteer Management.

I try to cover key skill sets and knowledge needed to be an effective employee, volunteer or board member.

Do you know of any success stories of students who took your course?

Several! At least four students have gone on to work for NGOs such as Oisca, Second Harvest and Peace Boat. At least four have gone on to graduate school to study international development, peace studies, or international education. At least five have volunteered in local nonprofits. Some have gone on to join their company's CSR or corporate volunteer committees. Many have been active volunteering in Tohoku relief and recovery efforts.

What backgrounds do your students have?

They come from a wide array of backgrounds: finance, NGO staff or volunteers, researchers, office workers, university professors, retirees — all people who want to do something somehow!

Did you know?

We ask our students to provide us with feedback comments on instructors and courses at the end of each semestr. Sarajean's students have been delighted with the way which she combines theories and real life experiences to bring the study of NGO management to life. Students have also been very happy to discover that they can learn from their classmates' rich and diverse experiences.