Alternative Livelihoods

Practical Action promotes livelihood security through improving the diversity and security of resources, skills and technologies that are available to agricultural communities. If households are to be resilient then they need adequate resources to fall back on in times of need and this means finding other ways to earn an income. Livelihoods are made up of resources such as skills, technologies, organisations and finances that are built up over time for people to make a living and have a good quality of life. Understanding resilient livelihoods does not just mean looking at one source of employment or produce, but at all of the different activities and choices within the household and community which provide an income, food, shelter and other factors that ensure wellbeing. Livelihood options available to individuals and households depend upon the diversity of resources, skills and technology they are able to access. Therefore the security of their livelihood also depends on the security of their available resources.

Practical Action works with communities to strengthen the resources, skills and technologies available. If communities only have limited resources then they are likely to suffer when shocks and hazards occur as they have little else to fall back on, as they are dependent on only one or two key sources of food and income. With little financial resources, families cannot invest in other activities such as livestock keeping that could give them an alternate source of income if harvests fail due to drought or disease. Resilient livelihoods means having access to a number of resources where people can pursue a number of different strategies to provide food throughout the year and income that can be saved for times of need. Practical Action is therefore providing training in alternative livelihoods that will give people the opportunity to diversify and become more resilient in times of need. 

Strengthening the Capacity of HIV/AIDS Affected Communities

The impact of HIV/AIDS has been felt in almost every facet of human life in Zimbabwe. The country has an infection rate of over 36% of the adult population. This has resulted in adverse effects on the national economy and has been a major cause for the decline in agricultural productivity in r...

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Training in Light Engineering

When floods and other hazards occur, those that are poorest often suffer the greatest losses and have no other sources of income to fall back on. As part of Practical Actions Disaster Risk Reduction projects in Bangladesh and Nepal, income diversification and skills training is a practical sol...

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Training in agro-processing activities in Bangladesh

Through diversification of food and income sources, as well as improved crop processing and storage, households are more likely to have something to fall back on if one area of their livelihood is disrupted. In Bangladesh, poor households were found to have only 6 months food security througho...

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Training in Tailoring and Embroidery

Practical Action’s work on livelihood diversification includes training in off-farm activities. This includes tailoring and embroidery as alternative sources of income that can be full time or part time activities. These skills can also be used at different times of year when agricultura...

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