The Rural Development Institute ( Rdi )

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The Rural Development Institute (RDI) was first conceived in 1966 when an article about Pacific land reform was brought to the attention of Roy Prosterman by one of his students. The article argued that an effective way for land reform to happen in Latin America was through confiscation and redistribution. Prosterman disagreed with the approach and wrote a rebuttal to the article emphasizing democratic markets and stating that compensation must be given during the process of acquisition (Prosterman, 1966). The article was noticed by the US government and Prosterman was soon called before congress and offered a chance to prove his theory; he would be able to test the merits of his ideas in war-torn Vietnam. Roy’s goal was to give locals the tools required to become self-dependant farmers who could support their families and would therefore be less likely to join the fighting as part of the Viet Cong. From 1970 to 1973, Roy and his new found organization were able to provide over 1 million citizens with plots of land and drastically reduce Viet Cong recruitment in the region (Prosterman, 1970). The lessons taken from his time in Vietnam have allowed Prosterman and the RDI to begin fighting the root causes of poverty and inequality in the poorest parts of India, China, and Sub-Saharan Africa. An intervention from the organization typically consists of 4 key elements. First, field research is conducted in areas that stand to benefit from interventions that target land laws and
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