CDEA has adopted a rights-based approach to promote the status of the artist and advocate for policies and regulations that promote the creative economy, peace building, creativity in cities and sustainable tourism.

CDEA  engages in policy and legislative roundtables supported by research, to enable artists and cultural professionals in East Africa to enjoy their rights as guided by the 1980 UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of the artists. CDEA also collaborates with  other like-minded organizations  to promote policy and legislative reform in the culture and arts sectors in East Africa.

In addition, CDEA hosts an annual hybrid regional platform, Mashariki Culture and Development Conference,  where stakeholders in research, policy and reform meet to share their research studies and publications. It also a platform for policy makers from the 8 East African countries to identify policy and legislative issues to be addressed at country level.

CDEA aims to support East African cities and local governments to come up with cultural development policies/strategies and regulations that promote peace building, creativity in cities and sustainable tourism.

In 2024, CDEA is proud to launch CDEA’S LEGAL AID CLINIC, a pioneering initiative aimed at providing legal aid to artists in selected East African countries. Powered by the advocacy arm of CDEA, the clinic seeks to safeguard the rights and interests of artists, fostering a vibrant and inclusive cultural and creative industries landscape in the East African region.