|How do we do it?|
All of us at CDC are driven by a desire to make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of natural resources in harmony with human development needs, as well as by an imperative to be of service to our customers. We are a small private company and recognise that our survival depends on providing value for money and products that enhance our customers’ reputation and impact. Some of the key guiding principles for our work that help keep us on the straight and narrow include:
Act local, think global!
We pride ourselves on being located at the sharp end of conservation action in Africa. This means that we can stay in close touch with the realities on the ground, and also are easily accessible by our local customers and partners that need our services most. However, we recognise that we also need to stay in touch with conservation work underway in other parts of the world. That way, we don’t reinvent the wheel and can continue provide our customers with tailor-made and locally-appropriate products and services that are based on global best practice.
As the world changes, so does the nature of conservation issues, and their potential solutions. CDC believes that to stay at the cutting edge, we need to constantly innovate our products and services. We do this by staying abreast with best conservation practice around the world, but also by constantly challenging ourselves to improve on our products.
We believe that conservation cannot succeed without consensus. Consensus is needed in developing and implementing viable solutions to intractable problems, especially where stakeholders need to make concessions with their own vested interests for the common good. Whether it be in developing a management plan for a community wildlife area or carrying out an evaluation of an integrated conservation and development project, building consensus is at the heart of what CDC does, and we use a variety of participatory tools to achieve this, including interactive workshops, e-newsletters, and visual decision-making techniques.
Einstein said that things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. We agree, so Keep It Simple, Stupid is one of our mottos. We don’t want to produce products that our customers either put on a shelf because they are not user friendly, or that are inadequate for the task and quickly become obsolete. Although it may take a bit longer and require more effort to get the job done right first time, we’d much prefer having satisfied customers that come back to us again and again.
We mean business!
As a business ourselves, we recognise how important business is to conservation - business practices have a growing impact on biodiversity and natural resources, and conversely they are vital in delivering effective and lasting solutions to conservation problems. Successful conservation projects also pay attention to business dimensions - for example, by assisting community conservation enterprises to establish quality-control systems and markets for their products. We are very comfortable working with business interests and, because we are sensitive to business realities and requirements, we think that businesses like to work with us too.
These days, understanding and addressing the convolutions and complexities of conservation and development issues can often seem like trying to get to grips with a bowl of spaghetti! That’s why all the staff at CDC believe strongly in taking a logical approach to all that we do, so that we can tease out what is important from what isn’t, and develop structured, complete solutions based on the cause-effect relationships underlying all conservation and development issues.