All development programmes of RRN focus on the four-fold approach of Rural Reconstruction as the foundation upon which its programme and project activities are based on. The focus lies on the following four key building blocks:
- Education – to combat illiteracy and ignorance and provide exposure to the outside world
- Sustainable livelihoods – to fight poverty and hunger
- Health – to prevent disease and promote rights to health
- Self-Government – to overcome civic inertia through institutional development leading to self-reliance
RRN implements educational and awareness raising programmes with the credence that a human being cannot be a perfect human being in the real sense till s/he is aware of his/her rights. Awareness and education are essential to human progress. Besides the vital necessities of life like food, clothing, and shelter, people have a right to education. RRN’s awareness and educational programmes target mostly those who are in the state of chronic poverty and are constantly struggling to fulfil their basic needs and are usually left out by conventional development programmes.
A sustainable livelihood framework encompasses the activities intended to help disadvantaged members of society to meet their daily subsistence needs in a manner that is personally dignified, culturally appropriate, and environmentally sustainable.
RRN believes that the principal need of the rural resource-poor is not temporary relief from their sufferings but the release and development of their innate intellectual, productive, physical, political, and organising powers. It believes in promoting livelihoods development activities and enabling rural communities and the present generation to undertake development initiatives that meet their short and long-term needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
The capacity of people to adapt and respond to life’s challenges and changes lies in their healthy lives. The philosophy of Rural Reconstruction supports the transformation of ‘sick societies’ into ‘healthy societies’ not only in the physical sense but also in the social, psychological, political, and economic sense. Health and nutrition problems in Nepal are varied, enormous, and spiralling, particularly among the rural poor and this has greatly impeded their self-development. RRN, therefore, tries to integrate a community health component into its development programme. It places emphasis on preventive measures; however, curative measures are also an integral part of our health intervention. Our health-related activities include: nutrition, sanitation, drinking water, capacity building of health care professionals and institutions, health education, outreach/mobile health clinics, community drug rehabilitation, and immunisation programmes, among others.
Inculcating a sense of self-government is indispensable for sustainable development. Self-government is understood in terms of democratic exercise and participation and inclusion into governance by empowering the deprived and marginalised people in society. RRN follows the principle that development must be planned and undertaken primarily by the ‘insiders’ – the very people for whom it is meant for to be relevant and sustainable. Development workers – the ‘outsiders’ – can help by facilitating a participatory process through which the people organise themselves and collectively analyse their situation, identify their problems, articulate their demands, select and plan solutions, mobilise resources and then implement, monitor, share benefits and evaluate actions taken on. The process of empowerment, self-reliance, and self-government includes: awareness raising and active participation in analysing problems, opportunities and constraints; capacity building through management; leadership and technical skills training; and federating and networking between people’s organisations. As one of the vital components of its programmes, RRN encourages and facilitates the people to build their own organisations and institutions for their own development. Such people’s groups form the building blocks for bottom-up organisational development and promoting genuine participation in the development process.