There are thousands of different cultures in the world, each with its unique practices and ways of looking at life, or worldview. This worldview stands at the basis of the day-to-day life in many local and indigenous communities. In traditional worldviews the social, material and spiritual elements of life are inseparable. Rituals that are aimed at creating positive conditions are frequently used in both social and productive activities. Meanwhile rural poverty is often far-reaching and has a disruptive effect on community life, while people encounter other lifestyles for example through agricultural modernisation, education, television, and the market economy. In the process many have lost confidence in their own practices, knowledge and culture.

The organizations within the COMPAS network are engaged in understanding local worldviews, and supporting communities in development and conservation activities that are based on their own culture.