About our approach
As a small, independent operating foundation run by social scientists, we are acutely aware that most development and conservation funding remains a top-down, bureaucratic and colonizing force. Too often, NGOs engagements are modeled as "interventions" that overtake local agency, put forth distorted notions of accountability, and fail to establish equity and sustainability.
The perspective and practices of allyship help inform IR's approach. The concept of allyship refers to an active, consistent commitment to equity and to unlearning and re-evaluating positions of power and privilege in order to operate in solidarity with marginalized groups. It involves building trusting relationships, listening and reflecting critically on how ideas and frameworks do, or do not, advance equity and contribute to local sovereignty, alongside prioritizing community-defined goals and ways to measure and define evidence of change and success.
We recognize that there are many different ways of knowing and being. Knowledge co-creation is characterized by the idea of collective generation of new knowledge drawn from a plurality of existing knowledge: scientific, traditional, Indigenous, farmers', and women's, to name a few.
While we have unique skill sets and resources to offer, we also come to learn, and to work with our partners to pursue socially and ecologically accountable pathways forward.
Given these guiding principles, we approach this process as a type of "co-application" in which we may develop project proposals for IR funding together through a series of conversations that identify ways we can assist our partners most effectively and creatively in achieving their goals.