Browse by Theme: Livelihoods

Despite the fact that there is enough food for everyone, almost 870 million people go hungry every night. 2.3 million children die needlessly because of malnutrition each year and 165 million more have their future potential permanently damaged because they don’t receive the right nutrients at the start of life. This is a human tragedy, with a clear moral imperative for world leaders to act and the UK should play a leading role.

This policy briefing draws on a report, commissioned by the UK Hunger Alliance (HA) and written by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which investigates smallholder agriculture’s contribution to better nutrition.

Findings suggest that smallholder agricultural development that is environmentally sustainable, can dramatically reduce poverty and hunger. To have greatest impact, investments should:

  • Empower small-scale women farmers
  • Promote small-scale farming including home gardens, small-scale livestock and fish-rearing
  • Complement agricultural programmes with education and nutrition communication, health services, clean water and sanitation.
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Along with a delegation from CARE International UK, I recently visited colleagues at CARE Peru (or Cah-Rey Peru as its pronounced in Spanish!) to witness how they are reaping real results in tackling the challenges of poverty and inequality in a ‘Middle Income Country’ (MIC).

A MIC is defined by the World Bank as any country with a Gross National Income per capita above $1000. The EU, UK and other donors are busy cutting aid to these countries,  arguing that in times of austerity development aid should be only be spent in Low Income Countries.

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When I first worked in Kenya, 20 years ago, I saw how farming practices could provide a good life for men and women in rural villages even with little rainfall and where basic services, such as water and electricity were almost non-existent. Farmers and livestock keepers in the dry areas of Kenya have been, by necessity, resilient to difficult conditions. But this is at the cost of hard physical work over long hours on the farm alongside a constant search for additional income sources such as from small business activities just to feed the family and send children to school.

20 years on, rural communities are still dependent on the land but are now facing new challenges from the effects of climate change. Perhaps the biggest impact is the increased uncertainty of the weather patterns. Farmers are no longer sure when to plant, where to take animals for good grazing or when they will be affected by the increasing frequency of droughts and floods. This places a new demand on already vulnerable people. How can they adapt to climate change in the face of all this uncertainty?

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The 2011 food crisis in the Horn of Africa demonstrated that community resilience is more urgent than ever. Using evidence from a five year, cross border programme in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, (RREAD) this paper aims to share evidence of approaches that work in building community resilience to shocks and stresses.

Key lessons for more effective natural resource management include, linking traditional knowledge with science and innovation, fostering inclusive local planning processes and improving access to markets to diversify livelihoods.

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Boran, Gabra and Garri pastoralists in the border areas of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia have long relied on the management of natural resources to maximise land use and sustain livestock productivity. Managing herd movements plays a key role in rangeland management, with some areas suitable for use during the dry season and some during the wet season.

The rangeland as a whole constitutes a communally owned economic resource that must be shared among the different pastoralist ethnic groups and clans living in the area. They have developed an institutional system of primary and secondary rights of access with procedures and principles for negotiations between different pastoralist groups to regulate the sharing of water and pasture.

This indigenous institutional framework governs the mobility of herders and their livestock, including across the international border, maintains and restores collaboration among clans and ethnic groups and provides a framework for managing disputes and conflict.

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Significant progress has been made among the negotiators so far this year on the system for providing information on REDD+ safeguards, however there is still much work to do as Parties consider text by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) for a COP decision.

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With agriculture providing about 70% of Uganda’s export earnings and the primary economic activity for much of its population, livelihoods are particularly sensitive to the fluctuations and uncertainties of seasonal rainfall − whether premature, delayed, prolonged or failed.

The Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment recognises climate as ‘not only a natural resource, but a key determinant of the status of other natural resources’.

The Ugandan government is also concerned about climate variability to the extent that it has listed climate change as a key factor to consider in the country’s development.

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