In recent times, thinking about poverty and sustainable development has begun to converge around the linked themes of vulnerability, social protection and livelihoods. This has been accompanied by the development of a variety of approaches to analyse situations and assess the likely impact of project interventions. These include vulnerability analysis, social analysis/social impact assessment and sustainable livelihoods approaches (sometimes referred to as livelihood security or livelihood systems approaches). Box 1
Meaning of Sustainable Livelihood
A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets, and activities required for a means for living. It is deemed sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shock and maintain or enhance its capabilities, assets, and activities both now and in the future, while not understanding the natural resources base.
Defining ‘sustainable livelihoods’
Whatever their precise terminology, most agencies’ definitions state that:
■ A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets and activities required for a means of living.
■ A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from external stresses and shocks, and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets now and in the future.
The Sustainable Livelihood Approach
The sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) is a way of thinking about the objectives, scope, and priorities for development activities. It is based on evolving thinking about the way the poor and vulnerable lives their lives and the importance of policies and institutions. It is a way to improve understanding of the livelihoods of poor people. It draws on the main factors that affect poor people's livelihoods and the typical relationships between these factors. It can be used in planning new development activities and in assessing the contribution that existing activities have made to sustaining livelihoods. It helps formulate development activities that are
02. Responsive and participatory
04. Conducted in partnership with the public and private sectors 05. Dynamic
The two key components of the SLA are:
• a framework that helps in understanding the complexities of poverty • a set of principles to guide action to address and overcome poverty The Sustainable Livelihood Framework
The SL framework places people, particularly rural poor people, at the centre of a web of inter-related influences that affect how these people create a livelihood for themselves and their households. Closest to the people at the centre of the framework are the resources and livelihood assets that they have access to and use. These can include natural resources, technologies, their skills, knowledge and capacity, their health, access to education, sources of credit, or their networks of social support. The extent of their access to these assets is strongly influenced by their vulnerability context, which takes account of trends (for example, economic, political, and technological), shocks (for example, epidemics, natural disasters, civil strife) and seasonality (for example, prices, production, and employment opportunities). Access is also influenced by the prevailing social, institutional and political environment, which affects the ways in which people combine and use their assets to achieve their goals. These are their livelihood strategies. [pic]
People are the main concern, rather than the resources they use or their governments. SLA is used to identify the main constraints and opportunities faced by poor people, as expressed by them. It builds on these definitions, and then supports poor people as they address the constraints, or take advantage of opportunities. The framework is neither a model that aims to incorporate all the key elements of people's livelihoods, nor a universal solution. Rather, it is a means of stimulating thought and...