ARU was recognized by Ashoka in 2001 as a unique university with an alternative training approach that produces grass root innovators rather than traditional social workers. ARU believes that traditional academic training lacks practicality and context and hence development workers produced by conventional training institutions are ill-equipped to facilitate communities meet their needs and aspirations on a sustainable basis.
Traditional Wisdom Specialists (TWS) are creative/innovative men and women who are a repository of traditional knowledge, wisdom and technologies taught at African Rural University. The university therefore creates an alternative training approach that casts grass root innovators rather than traditional academics in the role of teachers by tapping the knowledge of Traditional Wisdom Specialist.
ARU is working with TWS as Auxiliary Lecturers in order to revive and harness the knowledge, skills and technologies that contributed to social and economic development of African societies that are progressively disappearing.