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About IDCO

Established in 2004 IDCO is a non-stock/non-profit corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines. Headquartered in Antipolo, Rizal IDCO provides policy advice and supports field activities focused on poverty reduction.

To contribute to the creation of sustainable prosperity of people living in poverty, primarily in the Philippines but also internationally.

To harness peoples’ potential to help themselves.

IDCO’s approach rests on three pillars: Social Mobilization (SM), Decentralization and Appreciative Inquiry (AI).

Social Mobilization

DCO applies Social Mobilisation as the primary means of supporting rural men and women in their efforts to overcome poverty. The essence of the process of social mobilisation is encouraging men and women to form a group, typically consisting of 20-25 members, known as Community Organization (CO).
Local and international experience (through SAPAP, the South Asian Poverty Alleviation Programme) shows that the CO is an important forum for empowering people to take an active role in the management of local development initiatives. A ‘mobilized’ group is one that is able to articulate its needs and mobilize resources necessary to meet those needs. Resources would as a rule include their own savings and labor, also training and resources from partner organizations including line departments.


Decentralization can be defined as the transfer of responsibility for planning, management, and resource allocation from the central government to (a) field units of central government ministries or agencies; (b) subordinate units or levels of government (c) semi-autonomous public authorities or corporations; (d) area-wide regional or functional authorities; or (e) NGOs/PVOs. Large-scale sustainable poverty reduction cannot be achieved without the support of government. In order to be swift and relevant government decisions on local development issues have to be taken and implemented by those, who are close to the situation and know it best. Decentralized service delivery is therefore essential. IDCO provides advisory services aimed at contributing to making decentralized governance effective and accountable.
  Appreciative Inquiry

IDCO subscribes to the statement that poverty is primarily a state of the mind. Poor people feel often powerless and helpless, unable to take their own fate into their own hands. Appreciative Inquiry as a process that builds on the positive life-giving elements in a community helps to crystallize the creation of a shared vision. After building up social capital through social mobilization IDCO as a rule facilitates a series of workshops enabling COs to recognize their strengths and formulate joint action plans covering household, CO, Sitio and Barangay levels. These workshops are organized in line with the principles of Appreciative Inquiry.
History Origin of IDCO's Approach

IDCO’s approach to poverty reduction is based primarily on over 40 years of development experience of its Founder and Executive Director Henning Karcher. Working as a young professional for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Pakistan during the early seventies he had an opportunity to see the empowering effect of Social Mobilization in a pilot project designed and managed by the then Director of the Academy for Rural Development in Peshawar, Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan. Later he witnessed the taking to scale of the approach in the Northern Areas of Pakistan in the framework of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP). In the early nineties as Division Chief in UNDP responsible for South and West Asia Henning initiated jointly with Shoaib the South Asia Poverty Alleviation Programme (SAPAP) operating in six South Asian Countries: Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Quoting from the Foreword written by the current Minister of Rural Development, Government of India Mr. Jairam Ramesh, for a book tracing the life of Shoaib, “SAPAP and its successor projects have seen the journey of over ten million organized households from despair to hope, from diffidence to confidence, from subjugation to empowerment during the last decade.“
  As UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nepal Henning was instrumental in introducing Social Mobilization in 65 out of 75 districts of Nepal with a profound poverty reduction impact in the country. Similarly he directed the UNDP programme in Nepal towards a major emphasis on supporting decentralization in all aspects of the development process.

Working as a consultant after his retirement from UNDP Henning became the co-founder of Change Facilitation, an organization focused on all aspects of managing change. In this context he had an opportunity to familiarize himself with various change management methods and witness the power of Appreciative Inquiry.