Who Is the IRN?

The International Rural Network is legally established as a not-for-profit international association in Canada with its origins in an world forum in Townsville Australia some twelve years ago. It seeks to provide opportunities for rural communities worldwide to learn from each other, and to foster improved communications between practitioners, communities, rural organisations, policy makers and academics around issues of sustainable rural community development. We are especially interested in better supporting community led development and the ‘joining up’ of issues of rural development, community development, education, health, nutrition and environment through our netw orking and other events and activities. We are also engaged in stimulating international comparative research on economic and social issues relating to ‘place-based’ development and related policies. In this way, the IRN and its member networks and organisations are seeking to improve the ‘evidence’ on which regional, national and international policies impacting rural communities everywhere it is based, and in giving rural people a stronger ‘voice’ in related policy making debates. We share a belief that the Millennium Development Goals cannot be reached without greater attention being given by all concerned to the improvement of education, health and incomes in rural areas. We also believe that one essential element in creating a virtual cycle of Trade-Environment-Development world-wide involves a much greater shift from agricultural to rural policy and expenditure in the richer countries in the near future. We have representatives from rural communities, professionals, academics and policy-makers from 49 countries from Africa, India, Asia, the Antipodes, Eastern and Western Europe and North and South America.

Throughout all of our activities, we stress the empowerment of rural communities and the need for co-operation between communities and the various levels of government in different countries.

The aim of the network is as a means of sharing knowledge, research and experience, building capacities, and establishing mutual assistance. It aims to connect international organisations that support rural communities and represent rural interests.

The main outcomes of IRN involvement in activities are peer-group learning, sharing of best practice and innovative ideas, generation of new ideas, open-ness to new ways of doing things, improved cross-disciplinary thinking (community development, health, education, etc), better international understanding and solidarity on issues in common as well as those that are distinctive, for instance as between rich and poor countries and peoples and most importantly the creation of ongoing global networks of rural people and practitioners.

The Values of IRN include:

Inclusiveness, valuing people, bottom-up approaches, sustainability, best practice, knowledge base, synergy, community, empowerment, outward looking, openness, learning, strengthening rural and remote communities, holistic approach and equal opportunity regardless of race or creed.

For more information go to the VMOST part of our website to see our Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics.



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