Heifer International: growing a learning organisation

Heifer International (HI) has been applying participatory approaches to rural development for nearly 60 years. Organisationally, HI focuses on building the capacity of its country programmes and NGO partners to work independently toward a unifying mission. An open structure allows HI to validate and incorporate the rich and diverse experience of its project holders and country programme offices into organisational planning and daily operations. This article analyses three recent HI initiatives which incorporate deliberate processes to facilitate organisational learning. It outlines different strategies HI uses to institutionalise learning without imposing limitations on it.