Sustainable Livelihoods Guidance Sheets

The livelihoods approach is a way of thinking about the objectives, scope and priorities for development. A specific livelihoods framework and objectives have been developed to assist with implementation, but the approach goes beyond these. In essence it is a way of putting people at the centre of development, thereby increasing the effectiveness of development assistance.

The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) concept and framework adopted by DFID in the late 1990s (building on work by IDS, IISD, Oxfam and others) have been adapted by different organisations to suit a variety of contexts, issues, priorities and applications.

Core to livelihoods approaches are a set of principles that underpin best practice in any development intervention: people-centred, responsive and participatory, multi-level, conducted in partnership, sustainable and dynamic.

In addition to these principles, livelihoods approaches are based on a conceptual framework to aid analysis of the factors affecting peoples¿ livelihoods, including:

  • the priorities that people define as their desired livelihoods outcomes
  • their access to social, human, physical, finantial and natural capital or assets, and their ability to put these to productive use
  • the different strategies they adopt (and how they use their assets, coping mechanisms) un pursiut of their priorities
  • the policies, institutions and processes that shape their access to assets and opportunities
  • the context om which they live, and factors affecting vulnerability to shocks and stresses.

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