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How We Do It
The United Nations defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Development is any process that fosters the dignity of communities and the capacity for people to improve their own lives. Many struggle to overcome obstacles due to geography, climate, economics, politics, and social conditions. Sustainable development looks holistically at the depth and scope of these social, economic and environmental concerns. It is a framework for communities to address needs, use their own resources efficiently, build on the strengths of the people, create more stable infrastructure, enhance quality of life, and create new business opportunities to strengthen economies. The Foundation for Community Development and Empowerment’s (FCDE) philosophy and practice is deeply rooted in and committed to these practices.
FCDE collaborates with established community-based organizations (CBOs) to increase their institutional capacity. In FCDE’s model new local non-governmental organizations (NGO) are initially set up in specific country sites, led by host country nationals. Through these new organizations, FCDE creates partnerships with 15-25 existing community-based organizations per site. FCDE utilizes the embedded knowledge, established institutions, and best practices of professionals and community members in the region. Increasing the efficacy, sustainability, and impact of its partner CBOs ensures decisions on development issues remain in the hands of local communities. FCDE sees people as key agents of change in their communities. Research has shown that ‘local knowledge’ or ‘community knowledge’ is highly relevant to development (Eversole 2010, Chambers, 1983; Kloppenburg, 1991; Hobart, 1993; Sillitoe et al., 2002).