RRN focuses all its development programmes on the four-fold approach of Rural Reconstruction as the foundation upon which its projects and programme activities are based. The approach consists of the following four key features:
- Education and awareness – to combat illiteracy and empower people to access their rights
- Sustainable livelihood - to fight poverty
- Health – to prevent disease
- Self- government – to overcome civic inertia
Education and Awareness
RRN implements educational programmes with the credence that a human being could not be in the proper sense till s/he is aware and/or educated. Awareness and education is essential to human progress. The truth is that people have a right to education, besides the vital necessities of life like food, clothing and shelter. RRN’s education programme targets mostly those who are in the state of chronic poverty and constantly struggling to fulfill this basic need and who are usually left out by the development programmes of other agencies.
As in the previous years, in 2005, RRN undertook a range of literacy and education programmes at the grassroots level, focusing on both adult women and children education. It has implemented non-formal education (NFE) programmes for adults directed towards basic literacy, legal literacy, parenting education, and other practical training activities. Under children’s education RRN sought to bridge the divide between formal and non-formal education through programmes focused on: child literacy, early childhood development and parenting education classes, out-of-school programmes (OSPs), vocational training and counseling, provision of scholarships and formal schooling support. Children at risk of child labour, those affected by the ongoing conflict and female children form the principal focus groups.
RRN has also produced a variety of information and educational materials such as posters, manuals, booklets and leaflets to facilitate implementation of education and awareness raising activities at different levels.
Sustainable livelihoods encompasses the activities intended to help disadvantaged members of society meet their daily subsistence needs in a manner that is dignified, locally appropriate and environmentally sustainable. RRN acts on the belief that the principal need of the rural poor is not temporary relief from their suffering but the release and development of their innate intellectual, productive, physical, political and organising powers, to enable them to undertake their own short and long term development initiatives. RRN’s livelihood programmes include sustainable agriculture and social forestry, kitchen gardening, livestock rearing, rural micro finance and other income generating activities.
RRN also undertakes action and desk based research into sustainable livelihood options, such as on non- timber forest products (NTFPs), livestock rearing and community forestry, the findings of which are then incorporated into project and programme development.
Health can be defined as “the capacity of people to adapt to, respond to, or control life’s challenges and changes”. 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 spiraling, particularly among the rural poor, and greatly impede their self-development. RRN, therefore, seeks to integrate a community health component into many of its development projects. We give emphasis to preventive measures rather than curative measures, including through work on nutrition, sanitation, drinking water, training of health care professionals, health education, outreach/mobile heath clinics and immunisation programmes.
Self-government is indispensable for sustainable development and is understood in terms of inclusion into governance by empowering the deprived and marginalised populations in society. RRN follows the principle that, for development to be pertinent and sustainable, it must be planned and undertaken primarily by the “insiders” - the very people for whom it is meant. 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 and evaluate the actions taken.
The process of empowerment, self-reliance and self-government includes awareness raising and active participation through analysing problems, potentials, opportunities and constraints, capacity building through management, leadership and technical skills training and federating and networking people’s organisations. As one of the vital components of its programmes, RRN has therefore encouraged and facilitated the beneficiaries 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 genuine participation in the development process.
RRN has been involved in conflict transformation by raising awareness amongst the community members and also by addressing the issues of economic, social and cultural marginalisation of the vast majority of the rural massesbelonging to the poor and excluded populace. It has been carrying on reconstruction and rehabilitation activities for a long time and especially at the present situation of conflict transition period RRN hopes these activities will be vehicles for reconciliation amongst different conflicting sides by bringing them together and working together for their common benefit. RRN believes and has been implementing activities towards fulfilling their livelihood needs as these were the causal factors of the decade long conflict in the country. The focus of RRN has been to implement the activities and lobby and advocate at national, regional and international levels for pro-poor and right based development discourse.
RRN has been actively involved in human rights issues also. It took leading role against the autocratic regime this year by coordinating national and international stakeholders raising awareness about the poor records of human rights, and destruction of all the democratic institutions in Nepal.