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The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction is an international development, research and training organization with over 80 years of grassroots experience working in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Today, we maintain a strong presence in Eastern Africa and Southeast Asia.
Incorporated in the United States in 1960 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, IIRR’s Headquarters and Regional Center for Asia are located in the Philippines, with the Africa Regional Center located in Kenya and a liaison office in the United States.
Since the 1920s, IIRR has been building the capacity of the poor and their organizations to help them address the root causes of poverty and to help them develop and deliver sustainable solutions. Together with our local partners, we work to release the social, economic, intellectual and physical potential of the communities we work with.
Please see the Get Involved section of our website.
IIRR has over 80 years of history in participatory, integrated and people-centered development. IIRR has enhanced the capacity and confidence of over 100,000 development managers, practitioners and community leaders across Asia, Africa and Latin America and has a long history of documenting and disseminating field-based experience through its publications. Behind this tremendous body of work is a compelling and revolutionary individual—Dr. James Yen.
Your contributions enable IIRR to mobilize and build the capacities of the communities we work with in Africa and Asia so that they can end their own poverty.
We are committed to spending less than 14 percent on overhead, which includes fundraising and administration. In 2007, 13.9 percent of our income went toward fundraising and administration, while 85.9 percent went directly to programs. This achievement has helped us to meet the highest standards of charity watchdog agencies such as Charity Navigator.
Learning communities are “people exploring group-defined issues and opportunities, distilling local knowledge, developing understanding of system relations and effects, taking action, reflecting on action, and continuing the process”. A learning community is any community in which IIRR’s work, and in turn, reflection on that work takes place. A learning community can be a governmental administrative unit such as a province or a district, a community formed by shared natural resources such as watersheds, a marginalized community such as ethnic minorities or refugees, or a community formed by a particular vocation such as farmers or teachers.
IIRR endeavors to achieve both developmental objectives, i.e., meaningful change and improvement in the lives of the poor, and research objectives, i.e., review and the dissemination of best practices in a given field.
The word “reconstruction” is an English adaptation of two Chinese concepts: Gai, which means, “to change” and Zao, meaning, “to build.” This English term was adopted in the 1930s when the word “development” was not yet a popular term to denote the kind of work Dr. Yen and his colleagues were doing in rural China under the Chinese Mass Education Movement. Dr. Yen asserts, “While we aim to build a new society, we must not forget we’re doing it within an old society, thus the need to change and build or reconstruction.” This perspective recognizes the local and indigenous knowledge present in a community with which a rural reconstruction worker would begin and build upon. Rural reconstruction espouses a humanist and people-centered philosophy of development reflected in its Credo.
The principles of rural reconstruction are embodied in the Credo. The lines “plan with the people’ and “work with the people” underscore the participatory nature of Rural Reconstruction, where the relationship is not one between benefactors and beneficiaries nor one between providers and receivers of development goods and services, but one between partners - where both development workers and rural people have contributions to make toward planning and implementing solutions to community problems. It is the poor households and families, the rural reconstruction facilitators, and other partners planning and working with one another in the spirit of genuine partnership.