Global Learning Program

IIRR continues to be an international training and enabling institution of choice for development practitioners, backed by almost 60 years field practice and experience in Asia and Africa.

Since the first training program in 1965, IIRR’s training courses continue to evolve with time. For these reasons, training at IIRR continues to be relevant and attract development practitioners from NGOs, governments and others from around the world.

Global Learning Program Goal

We want to empower learning agents around the world to use development approaches that reflect Rural Reconstruction philosophy.

Specifically, we aim to:

Produce development workers that are capable of catalyzing people-centered and development and managing development organizations;
Coach peer NGOs, corporate foundations and government agencies on organizational and program development and effectiveness; and
Promote good practices and advocate for responsive and community – led development by distilling, packaging and disseminating new knowledge, lessons and evidence -based practices.


As James Yen once said, IIRR aims to produce not agents of change but agents of learning.

We want you to achieve your development targets, so that more people will be empowered. That’s our motivation!


Simple. We offer regular demand-led training, customized courses tailored to the needs of specific organizations on various themes. We also provide documentation and knowledge management support through our innovative process called the ‘writeshop’. (link to writeshop page)

What has been achieved?

A lot.

Over time, IIRR created a global niche for itself by linking technical know-how with practical ‘do-how’. To date, good progress has been made towards developing various products and services.

In 2016, we have made deliberate efforts towards further consolidation and scaling up of what was formerly known as “Applied Learning” and has now evolved to a program called the “Global Learning Program and Collaborative Leadership”

This program includes:
Systematically linking and building a global community of practice and collaborate leadership with learning communities while ensuring that the IIRR technical staff are more involved and connected to grassroots development.
Establishing mechanisms for capturing and ensuring inputs from country and field staff in development, reviews of improvements of our training curriculum, and materials.
Systematically documenting field-based success stories, cases, or important lessons and use these as part of the materials or content for applied leaning (products and services

Some of our results and ongoing initiatives under this Program include:


1. Summer School Programs piloted in the Philippines:

In partnership with Thames International College in the Philippines, IIRR conducted a social entrepreneurship summer class for 8 students. David Carilla, one of the students, shared that he appreciated everything about the course. Staying at IIRR’s campus brought them back to nature and for some, even to childhood memories. More importantly, they were introduced to the work of Dr. James Yen and his rural reconstruction philosophy. Their summer school experience would significantly help mold them to become socially responsible entrepreneurs and professionals when they graduate.

2. Deepening Disaster Resilience in Asia under the NGO Disaster Preparedness Program in Asia

Millions of people in Asia are at risk, mostly to unpredictable disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Building on the experiences of the first phase of the NGO Disaster Preparedness Program (NGODPP) in Asia, IIRR, in partnership with Give2Asia, implemented the second phase, which focuses on expanding the capacity and network of Community-based Organizations (CBOs) in Asia working on disaster preparedness and resilience. From 2018 to 2019, NGODPP aims to create a network to connect CBOs in South and Southeast Asia; learn from and share information on best practices with peer organizations in the region; and build an educated donor network that is engaged and understands how to support community-based disaster preparedness efforts.

3. Peatland Conservation and Restoration

In partnership with the Forest Foundation Philippines, IIRR is leading the restoration and conservation of the Leyte Sab-a Peatland Forest in the Philippines. This project aims to protect, restore and manage 1,286 of the peatland forest to sustain its ecosystem services. In 2018, an inception workshop was held where IIRR was able to tap the support and partnership of key stakeholders and government agencies in the province. IIRR was able to facilitate the creation of the Leyte Sab a Peatland Forest Restoration Consortium comprised of 10 national and regional government agencies, four local government units, and two Municipal Peat Swamp Management Council-Technical Working Groups. These groups will provide governance in the restoration. Fourteen People’s Organizations from the Municipalities of Alangalang and Sta. fe were also engaged and mobilized and have participated in IIRR’s capacity building activities, like the Communication Workshop on Basic Photography and Videography Skills, Wilderness and Life Skills Training, and Harmonization of Tools and Survey Strategies. These activities enhanced their skills in communication, safety, and protection, and levelled off initiatives for more efficient restoration and conservation work.

4. IIRR Africa facilitated Global Learning meetings and platforms

For the Global Land Tools Networks of the UN Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya. Over 100 participated in the meeting. Similarly, a writeshop to produce the first Quadrennial Report for the UN Secretary General, for presentation to the UN Member States was facilitated. Over 80 participants representing all regions of UN Membership attended.