Building on Nearly 100 Years of Sustainable Development Experience
IIRR has over 95 years of experience in empowering communities to overcome poverty through people-centered and sustainable development approaches called “Rural Reconstruction.” Since the early 1920’s, Dr. Y.C. James Yen – the founder of the Chinese Mass Education Movement that would later become IIRR – was responsible for bettering the lives of over 200 million Chinese peasants through the power of functional literacy.
Even after IIRR was formally established in 1960 as an international development, training, and operational research organization, we have continued to empower the rural poor to end poverty in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
IIRR utilizes a community-driven, innovative, and sustainable development approach that is integrated and people-centered, a process pioneered in the early 1990s when these concepts were little-known to the development community. This philosophy of development guides all our work. We do not offer handouts; rather we offer education and capacity building so community members and local organizations can enact changes relevant to them.
NEW DIRECTION: Flagship Program Approach
Strategy 2025 adopts an integrated program approach with greater linking of different initiatives around a prioritized or flagship country program.
It is equally important for IIRR to carefully define its target groups (women and youth) and Learning Communities through participatory processes, work with partner institutions, and ensure that flagship programs have gender-transformative components to address existing gender and other forms of inequalities that hinder citizens from attaining their full potential and living lives of quality and dignity.
In addition, each developed country program will implement 2-3 well-designed, resourced, and managed learning communities within the flagship program framework.
Other New Direction Strategies Include
Our continuous effort to build the unique capacity of rural communities and those who work with them is anchored in our belief in the principles of partnership, teamwork, excellence, and individual qualities.