Developing Models in Learning Communities

Development organizations around the world are pooling their efforts to end hunger and poverty. Given the scarce resources available to address this huge problem, what’s needed is an innovative, tested, scalable model that can be used to generate impact – something that will result in significant change in the livelihoods of rural communities, especially the marginalized ones.

The learning community is a programmatic approach where a group of people with shared geography, interests, values, or aspirations actively engage in learning together to find innovative solutions to problems or to attain common goals. In the learning community approach, members participate fully throughout the process of development so that the effort can be sustained.

The learning community concept builds on our credo, which promotes going to the people, learning from them, planning with them, and building on what people know. It is a participatory activity where IIRR and our local development partners can learn together and jointly construct new poverty reduction models for wider replication and scaling.

The learning community is a set-up where a workable pattern for development is established, validated, and tested. It emphasizes data collection, experimentation and taking carefully selected action steps. In addition, the learning communities provide practical learning venues for IIRR’s trainings and study missions.