The Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement was founded in 1952. It traces its roots to China where, in the early 1900s, the rural reconstruction movement was born, inspired and led by Dr. Y. C. James Yen “Yen Yangchu”.
PRRM, a movement committed to the caused of the Filipino peasant, began as a small group of prominent Filipinos led by Dean Conrado Benitez of the University of the Philippines.
Over the past five decades, PRRM has made a number of major contributions to Philippine rural development. It pioneered a whole era of rural development and local democracy in the country. PRRM was the first NGO to send its workers to the villages to implement its integrated, fourfold program of education, livelihood, health, and self-governance. PRRM pioneered the establishment of an elected barrio government. Today’s Barangay Council can be claimed by PRRM as one of its contributions to grassroots democracy.
PRRM inspired the formation of similar national movements in Colombia, Guatemala, Ghana, India and Thailand. The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), set up by Dr. Yen in the mid-60s, facilitated this process of globalization of the rural reconstruction movement.