The LEADER Approach
Why is LEADER specific?
THE SEVEN SPECIFIC FEATURES OF LEADER
The LEADER method is based on seven specific features, which must all be present simultaneously in order to use the method right. These seven features define LEADER as a methodology and separate it from funding programmes.
1. Bottom-up approach
The bottom-up approach means that local actors participate in decision-making about the strategy and in the selection of the priorities to be pursued in their local area. The involvement of local actors includes the population at large, economic and social interest groups and representative public and private institutions. LEADER conceives the local people as the best experts on the development of their territory. It can be seen as a participatory democracy tool supplementing the electoral parliamentary democracy.
"The valuation of local skills and knowledge does not only boost the self-awareness of local people and changes their perception of the area in which they live, it also fosters innovative solutions and competitive advantage of value-adding activities, ultimately of the territory itself." (Lukesch & Schuh 2007)