Examples: Our Values in Action

Let participants set their own objectives

Even though most of the participants in CEN’s cCLEAR program hope to increase their income, many also want to preserve their current way of life. While Rosivania wanted to build a family sewing business to complement her job as a school teacher, Magarete simply wants to sell enough bread to repay a loan she took from her husband, Djalma, and provide a little extra for her family. She wants to continue producing manioc flour, which is a long-standing tradition in her community, and Djalma wants to keep fishing because they see these activities as an important part of their identity.


At CEN, we ask questions and then we listen. We seek to understand the community’s objectives and what difficulties they are having. We then help them discover the best way to solve these difficulties and come up with their own solutions.

To create and foster a sense of independence, we don’t give participants handouts. We teach them the skills to help them figure out how to solve their problems by managing their own resources. After all, that is what empowerment is all about - giving people the skills and confidence to solve problems without relying upon outside help.

Our principles and values

  • Our first priority is to help people in rural communities – not to build a large organization.
  • We will constantly learn: Every experience will make us wiser and better at what we do.
  • We will explore all ideas and approaches to solving problems.
  • We believe in the truth and acting with integrity.
  • We cannot provide all the answers: We will guide participants to find solutions for themselves.
  • We will work to break the cycle of dependency, not just replace one dependency with another.
  • We will let communities and participants set their own objectives: We will not force our interests on them.
  • We will avoid pushing our own cultural bias on those we serve.

We are committed to excellence and to maintaining these values in the field and in our workplace, and we expect our partners to uphold these values as well.