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Go to the people, learn from them, build on what they have.


Together with our development partners, we build on the unique assets and strengths of rural people. We focus on learning what works for them through research, action, sharing, and enriching their knowledge. We then implement field programs that empower rural communities.

Today, IIRR continues to influence local and national agendas to mobilize political commitments, funding, and innovation necessary to alleviate poverty in rural areas.

Our Mission

To empower rural people to build resilient communities and attain socioeconomic equity through creative and community-led action.

Our Vision

IIRR envisions an equitable world in which rural people achieve their full potential, living a life of dignity and self-reliance in harmony with the environment.

Our Founder

Dr. Y.C. James Yen

October 26, 1893 – January 17, 1990

The work of IIRR is anchored in the principles and teachings of Dr. Y.C. James Yen, the founder of the Chinese Mass Education Movement, which supported campaigns to teach sixty million people to read and write. Dr. Yen espoused the importance of equal education and opportunity to correct injustice. Dr. Yen said, “Where there is equity and justice, there will be peace.”

We honor his legacy through IIRR by sharing knowledge with people in rural communities so they may share it with others to achieve equality throughout the world.

Our Credo

IIRR’s Mission statement and a confirmation of Dr. Yen’s historic Credo of Rural Reconstruction crystallize the response of the Institute to the current needs of the rural poor in developing countries.

Go to the people,
Live among them,
Learn from them,
Plan with them,
Work with them.
Start with what they know,
Build on what they have.
Teach by showing,
Learn by doing.
Not a showcase,
But a pattern.
Not odds and ends,
But a system.
Not piecemeal, but an integrated approach.
Not to conform, but to transform.
Not relief, but release.

Our Logo

The PING is a Chinese ideogram, a symbol expressing an idea that cannot adequately be summarized in words. It was used as the logo of the Mass Education Movement founded in China in 1923 by Dr. Y.C. James Yen and is now used to represent the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) established in 1960.

There are two levels of meaning of the PING: global and personal.

For the World, the PING is meant to light the path to Peace, Equality, and Justice.

  • The horizontal bar on the top represents the mind or brain–essential for the success of any Effort.
  • The dash on the left is equity.
  • The dash on the right is justice.
  • The cross in the center represents compassion for the neglected poor.

“Ping-Min” (common people) “Jiao-Yu” (education) means mass education in Chinese. According to Dr. Yen, equal education and opportunity for all corrects injustice. When there is equity and justice, there will be peace.

For each person, the PING inspires Calmness, Serenity, and Tranquility.

The Chinese maxim “Ping Xin Jing Qu” advises that when provoked and irate, “calm your heart and quiet your mind” to acquire serenity and tranquility.

In honor of our founder, his background, and his beliefs, IIRR has adopted the PING as its logo.