Sustainable livelihoods approach and its framework

Sustainable livelihood is serving as the foundation for different sustainable livelihood approaches. Many Agencies have come together and created this framework. Scholars say that livelihood is a combination of capabilities assets and activities that is very much needed for living. We can call a livelihood to be sustainable when there are means to cope with and recover from the obstacles and calamities which are met now and in the future. Most importantly it should not destroy the natural resource.

Now the biggest aim of the world is to eliminate poverty in all the poor countries. This is not very simple even with the application of Sustainable livelihood framework. These approaches are indeed flexible and adaptable. But when comparing with the ground realities and local settings, greater participation can be the only solution.

Features of sustainable livelihoods


People are given more importance than resources. People are only the priority under this approach. This kind of approach greatly helps in knowing the small problems of people and providing solutions to institutional structures.


Sustainable livelihoods are very comprehensive. This helps in the understanding interconnection between the problems and their negative impacts.


It is obvious to see that the People’s livelihood and the Institutions are very dynamic. So we must learn from the changes and take immediate action to reduce negative impacts.

Building on strengths

Under this system, the potential is realized and recognized. More concentration is given on the strength rather than the problems to create a robust atmosphere to achieve the objectives.

Macro micro links

All the developmental activities having their hands on both the micro and macro levels will address the gap of development. Understanding this fact, sustainable livelihoods stresses importance on the micro-macro links.


One can call a livelihood to be sustainable if the poor people are strong enough to survive amidst the shock and stresses. It has to be independent of external support. It should also be able to maintain the long-term productivity of all the natural resources.

It is very happy to know that livelihood approaches and now used in projects and program planning to monitor and review all the present activities.

Firstly it is very important to understand the livelihoods of the poor. It is called as the livelihood analysis. This livelihood analysis is the very foundation of planning, prioritizing and monitoring.

This framework helps in understanding poverty as it provides a tool or checklist to understand their poverty.

Elements of the Sustainable Livelihood

Vulnerability context

It means the external environment where the people live. People have no control over certain things like shocks and seasonality. This is a great influence on the People’s livelihood.

Livelihood asset

Analyze and show the people the strength to convert them into positive livelihood outcomes. Achieve a positive livelihood people will require a range of assets. It includes Human capital, social capital, natural capital, physical capital, and financial capital.

Policies Institutions and processes

Policies Institutions and processes of sustainable livelihood framework operate at all levels and in all spheres. It will have a direct impact on the achievement the well being.

Paul Petersen

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