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Approach and Strategy

Our strategy

Our work at SLE concentrates on problem solving. We work in multidisciplinary teams, with a multidimensional and a multi-level approach (the '3 Ms'). The starting point is a spatial model that understands development processes in states, regions or communities as the outcome of processes of negotiation. Such trends can only be sustained if they are firmly established at all levels, from the local and the regional to the national and the global, and vice versa (‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’). Global and national frameworks, and the pertinent intra-level arenas are taken into account as factors that either drive development processes forward or slow them down. These action spaces are highly relevant, since it is here that actors negotiate and make decisions. The SLE concept sees solution designs for development challenges that take stock of the levels, factors and negotiation processes involved. This procedure guarantees that processes of development and the attendant solutions are effectively embedded in the society concerned.

In development policy, the SLE stands for:

  • alignment with and a critical assessment of current development studies concepts and debates;
  • participatory and context-specific consultancy that brings its expertise into discussions with the local people and takes local conditions into account;
  • a multidisciplinary and interactive approach that integrates ideas and methods from other disciplines as complementary and enhancing;
  • communicating information on global, national and local interdependencies as a prerequisite for the professional management of projects and programmes;
  • the use of carefully selected, appropriate and adapted development policy instruments;
  • awareness of the importance of soft skills, since communication and management abilities take high priority in international cooperation;
  • a holistic, cross-sector, regional and actor-based approach to development issues, not as an alternative to sector-based approaches but as a perspective that all specialists need if they are to deliver results;
  • the focus on rural development, environment and resource management, climate protection and climate change adaptation, as well as the awareness of rural-urban relations and urban development;
  • training specialists to cope with crisis and conflict situations both efficiently and effectively.