CEN empowers individuals living in rural communities around the world by providing them with the opportunity to improve their quality of life on their own terms. Our approach to development begins with the building of a firm foundation of basic skills and mindsets that encourages residents to be proactive in controlling their lives and futures. Upon this foundation, our partners, the host communities and CEN work closely together to access new resources and training. In doing this, we strive to remove obstacles of development and work to improve education, income levels, environmental policy and health care.

At CEN, we believe that learning is a lifelong process. With this in mind, we assist the communities we serve to understand that there is still much to learn even after they finish their formal education. If they hope to stand on their own two feet, access to new information and the understanding of how to apply it is necessary - this is what we aim to help them discover. Through an extensive mentoring process, we hone basic skills and mindsets, such as problem solving, discipline and critical thinking, that establish the foundation for self-reliant thinking and action.

Our role in all stages of empowerment is that of a mentor. We rarely step in by giving material aid, such as grants or materials, since this often reinforces dependency. Instead, we provide opportunities for residents to overcome obstacles using their own hands and minds.

CEN Development Model

block model en 5in

green_bulletThe above model illustrates the heart of CEN's approach: strengthening the basic skills and mindsets that pave the way for sustainable development. These skills establish a strong foundation for self-reliance by breaking the cycle of dependency that many rural communities fall prey to. Learn more

red_bulletUpon this foundation, we build higher-level skills that participants need to become self-reliant, such as vocational, entrepreneurial and business skills and information literacy. Learn more


We then collaborate closely with a wide range of other organizations to expand access to markets and capital, strengthen transportation and infrastructure, and improve local leadership and governance - reducing systemic obstacles that otherwise interfere with economic, social development and self-reliance. Learn more

Other Components of Our Development Approach