Group discussion about changes in human well-being in the context of protected area establishment and cash crop expansion in North-East Madagascar. Photo: Julie Zähringer

Empowerment means increasing the scope for action, autonomy, and self-determination of individuals and groups. It is especially important for people and communities who have been excluded from democratic processes on the basis of their social affiliation. To enable sustainable development, such groups must be able to pursue their interests in an informed, responsible, and independent manner. Consequently, empowerment also means emancipation from social norms and power structures.

Based on methodologically diverse analyses, CDE generates robust data and makes it accessible to wider populations. By means of local capacity development, CDE fosters the inclusion and participation of affected actors in decision-making processes. Particularly regarding questions of land use, food systems, and labour conditions, CDE’s approach strengthens the representation of marginalized interests – including those of indigenous people and women – and thus contributes to sustainable decision-making.