7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS)

Building sustainable futures from the ground up

Looking for an example?  See this 7SS Case Study on Mercy Corps in Nepal & Timor-Leste.

At the foundation of Empowerment WORKS, is our flagship 7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS) approach & philosophy of self-determination. 7SS also serves as a collaboration roadmap, an Asset Based Community-driven Development (ABCD) framework, and a curriculum empowering communities to build sustainable futures from the ground up.

Through honoring the rich cultures and other local assets in the world's most economically challenged communities, the 7 Stages to Sustainability paradigm can transform poverty into prosperity for all.

Modeling the way nature creates, the widely distributed 7SS pattern is inherent to, and used worldwide to catalyze innovation in, business, technology, music and most (if not all) other functional systems.  

To strengthen coherence and meaningful collaboration across all sectors of society in local solutions, Empowerment WORKS is dedicated to scaling this approach through Partners in Empowerment (PIE) and related tools.  .

7SS as a Framework for Participatory Community Development


1. Build a team around your ideal future. Find Partners In Empowerment - community members, local organizations, businesses & others dedicated to positive change. 

2. Assess local assets = economic opportunities. Explore the richness of human (talents, skills, cultural gifts) and sustainable natural resources right in your backyard. Take inventory of your village, city, region. (Asset-Based Community Development).

3. Make a plan (co-create solutions). Work with your team to find the root causes of local challenges. Outline local needs, your mission, goals, how you will measure success, and then actions. Agree who will do what and how you will share responsibilities.


4. Educate Yourself and Learn from Others. Get the basic education and skills you, your team need to make an impact. Help train those who are going to carry on the work. Identify the training & technical support local teams will need to deliver what is needed.

5. Identify, exchange & invest in LOCALLY appropriate technologies & critical information in health, energy, transportation, construction, agriculture, water, IT, education, etc. - How can you ADD GREATEST VALUE to your LOCAL ASSETS (Stage 2)?

6. Harness the power of the private sector to deliver what's needed & create livelihoods for people in need. Link existing resources (Stage 1 & 2) with skills & technologies (Stage 4 & 5) to develop products and services that value and protect local heritage. 


7. Reinvest in Impact & Deepen Sustainability. Build Public-Private Partnerships for Self-Reliance. As projects need to run on their own, ensure that the community support systems are regenerative & self-repairing.  Develop, reinforce, refine and deepen the mutually supportive  multi-sector exchanges yielding long-term income streams to sustain local impact.

Uniting complimentary resources of local and global communities

*See & Co-create 7SS outcomes with Partners in Empowerment (PIE)