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Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to Poverty Reduction

Course Fee: €FOA
Course Duration: 8 weeks

Learning Outcomes

After taking this course participants will be able to:

  • Understand the history and evolution of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach.
  • Use the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to analyse the complexities and dynamics of poverty.
  • Conduct a Sustainable livelihoods Analysis in the field.
  • Plan projects from a Sustainable Livelihoods perspective.

What’s covered?

Unit 1 outlines the history and evolution of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to Poverty Reduction. As well as defining main concepts and key principles, it introduces the DFID Sustainable Livelihoods Framework as a tool for analysing poverty. It also explains the need to research poverty at household level, as well as the importance of investigating internal power dynamics within households.

Unit 2 explores the different elements of the DFID Sustainable Livelihoods Framework in depth. It defines and illustrates key aspects of the Vulnerability Context and demonstrates how they affect livelihood assets and strategies. It also examines how Policies, Institutions and Processes enable or disable people’s livelihoods, while promoting an awareness of power relations throughout. Finally, it explains the difference between coping and adaptive strategies in terms of their impact on assets and outcomes.

Unit 3 provides practical guidance on how to conduct a Sustainable Livelihoods Analysis in the field. It outlines the links between the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach/Framework and participatory research methodologies and tools. In order to demonstrate best practice, it provides a step-by-step account of a FAO Sustainable Livelihoods Analysis, followed by a Questions and Answers session with the research consultant who conducted it.

Unit 4 explores practical ways to influence Poverty Reduction using the Approach and Framework. It explores some key mistakes made by development practitioners when designing projects and programmes, while offering some examples of Sustainable Livelihoods best practice in the field. It concludes with an in-depth interview with Oxfam Ireland’s Livelihoods Programme Co-ordinator.


After they have read the material for each unit, students are expected to test their own
learning by completing some relevant exercises and comparing their answers to the ones


In order to demonstrate their understanding of the course content, students will be
required to submit 2 assignments: one on Sustainable Livelihoods in Theory and one on
Sustainable Livelihoods in Practice.

To Apply



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