COMPAS - Newsletter for Endogenous Development
For more than 15 years (from 1996 – 2011) the COMPAS network programme brought together experiences of NGOs in 12 countries (in South America, Africa, Asia and Europe) concerning their initiatives to support endogenous development: development based mainly, but not exclusively, on local values, knowledge, institutions and resources. The experiences have led to a better understanding of the role of biological and cultural diversity and of endogenous knowlege in development programmes. They have allowed those involved to articulate a number of basic principles uderlying the support of endogenous development.
Endogenous development is based on local people’s criteria for development and is aiming at their material, social and spiritual well-being. It is a process of change that places major importance in working with local communities and starting from people’s own worldviews, resources, strategies, and initiatives as the basis for development. It considers not only the material, but also the socio-cultural and the spiritual traditional and modern resources people have access to, in order to broaden options when formulating appropriate development paths. The process highlights the problems that many rural people experience when engaging with Western-based approaches that adopt a narrow materialistic and essentiallly economic vision of development.
To facilitate exchange of experiences and discussion on process and outcome, the COMPAS network has published a magazine (COMPAS Magazine on Endogenous Development, later called Endogenous Development Magazine). In several workshops and converences the experiences gained in the COMPAS network programme, together with experiences from the wider network, were discussed and assessed and conclusions on what has been learned were drawn. These efforts resulted in several COMPAS publications, compilated knowledge overviews as well as proceedings and training guides (see the COMPAS and CAPTURED publication list). Several of the COMPAS partners compilated overviews based on the endogenous knowledge of their own region (India, Africa, Asia).
Universities were also involved in the COMPAS programme and since 2008 three universities (in Ghana, Bolivia and India) have been working together in a special programme to build their own capacities for supporting endogenous development and implementing programmes for endogenous education and research: the CAPTURED programme.
In the process, the participating universities have acquired more insights into the social relevance and the foundations of the specific ways of knowing in their own cultures. Despite the marginal position of endogenous knowledge, in each case endogenous knowledge has great impact on the decision making in many areas of local people’s lives: farming, health practices, the ways in which communities use water, land, plants and animals, the ways in which they organise themselves, and the ways in which they express and live their spiritual life and values.
The aim of endogenous development is to empower local communities to take control of their own development process. While revitalising ancestral and local knowlege, endogenous development helps local people select those external resources that best fit the local conditions. Endogenous development leads to increased biodiversity and cultural diversity, reduced environmental degradation, and a self-sustaining local and regional exchange.