Browse by Theme: Livelihoods

Many of us dream of a world free from poverty, but how can this be realistically achieved, especially for smallholder farmers who make up the majority of the world’s poor?

One important answer to this question is found in our new book, Making markets more inclusive: Lessons from CARE and the future of sustainability in agricultural value chain development. In it, we highlight lessons from one of the most intensely developed agricultural value chain initiatives in the world: CARE’s work in the dairy value chain in northwest Bangladesh.

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I have just spent a few days in Dhaka talking to the Bangladesh Central Bank and a number of the key commercial banks in the country, as part of a research project into the role of banks in furthering financial inclusion. At CARE International, our focus is on the poorest people at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’, and the research so far has posed a key question – what do we think of banks placing a strong emphasis on the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) market, rather than reaching further down the pyramid?

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Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) are a key way to provide access to financial services for people living in areas which financial institutions typically ignore and where the cycle of poverty prevails. They do exactly what their name suggests: provide a way for a group of individuals in any community to save their money and to access loans. But the benefits don’t stop there: later on, VSLAs also serve as an onramp to formal financial services.

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The Philippines has been classified by the World Bank as a ‘lower-middle income’ economy. On the surface of things, the Philippines’ economic gains in recent years, and its growing numbers of new middle-class citizens, represent an optimistic narrative. But as the country still struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, is this the real story on the ground?

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Sri Lanka is still only five years free from a long-standing and debilitating civil war, and 10 years since the Tsunami in which 35,000 people lost their lives. But huge changes are taking place in the quest for ‘modernisation’. How will Sri Lanka cope with its transition to a middle-income country? How positive will the process of change be for every Sri Lanka citizen, and how can inclusive growth for all be created in the future?

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The IAIA Special Symposium on Resettlement and Livelihoods took place in Kruger Park, South Africa in late October. The nice location (and emblem of environmental conservation) was most probably selected with security issues in mind, but it also represents a case study of how resettlement should not be done.

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Last month I was in Islamabad, supporting the efforts of the CARE International team there, who have led a very successful set of engagements with the private sector to address social issues in Pakistan. In a country beset by a number of political and social tensions, CARE has decided to flip the traditional paradigm to ask, instead of what companies “can do for us”, what “CARE can do for business”. It’s a bold move, and one which is so far paying dividends.

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