CYSD works directly with communities to improve the quality of life; sharing skills with partner organizations; and carrying out research and lobbying to influence policy change, CYSD’s approach is uniquely holistic. The ability of CYSD to adapt to changing development context is what makes it unique and has sustained it for more than three and half decades both within and outside Odisha. This has been possible due to its strategic thinking and effective operations in the three domains of Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, Inclusive Governance and Building Disaster Resilient Communities & addressing Climate Change Concerns.

The approach of CYSD that includes action, reflection, replication and influencing involves it’s engagement with variables at different levels including stakeholder interest and relationships, relevant policies and legislations, socio-economic and socio-political conditions, environmental conditions such as climate change and more. CYSD not only works with the community at the grassroots but also builds the capacities of other likeminded organizations. It is known for complementing and supplementing the work of state government for a larger impact of the mainstream development programmes. It works in two ways – (1) Towards effective implementation of government programmes through community monitoring and (2) Building evidences through action research to advocate for a pro-poor policy.

It is known for its community mobilization work and boasts of strong community based institutions such as women’s SHGs and federations, producer groups and collectives, farmer groups and federations, village development associations etc. The organization also works towards environment sustainability while taking initiatives for income enhancement of the community members, particularly the tribals. Last but not the least, CYSD’s role in disaster risk reduction cannot be overlooked since it has been taking a lead role in preparedness, response and recovery from emergency situation since the 1999 super cyclone in the state.