CDEA was conceived after one of its directors, who in her capacity as a member the Commonwealth Group on Culture and Development, participated in drafting the Commonwealth Statement on Culture and Development in 2009, and realized there was need for a civil society organization to be accountable to the promises they were making at international platforms at national and regional level. The statement urged Heads of Government, to recognize the connections between culture and development to take forward its recommendations through strengthened partnerships.
CDEA was incorporated on October 19, 2011 and began its implementation in 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. CDEA’s Culture and Governance programme was formed to respond to the need for civil society to engage in participatory governance. CDEA’s programme activities aim to mobilize and support civil society in East Africa to participate in evidence-based policy advocacy to place culture at the centre of human development.
In 2015, after a strategic planning process, CDEA embraced both its advocacy and service provider roles. CDEA is now a creative think tank based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that facilitates multi-stakeholders to use culture as a resource to promote creativity and innovation supported by technology to solve the numerous social, political and economic challenges faced in East Africa, The creative think tank is also a hub where science meets art, and art meets other disciplines to innovate "out-of-the-box" solutions for this and the coming generation.
Our programming is focused around research, incubation and acceleration of the creative industries (fashion and design accessories, film and music), support of creative writers through our Writers' Lounge and implementation of projects around peace and social cohesion, sustainable cities and tourism.