A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (stores, resources, claims and access) and activities required for a means of living: a livelihood is sustainable which can cope with and recover from stress and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, and provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for the next generation; and which contributes net benefits to other livelihoods at the local and global levels and in the short and long term.
Overview: Livelihood strategies concern the individual’s available and implemented options for pursuing livelihood goals. The greater the diversity of livelihood strategies, the higher the household’s resilience to the shocks, trends, and seasonality conditions within the vulnerability context.
How to influence: In accordance with a sustainable livelihoods approach, humanitarian and development agencies should look to promote those underlying conditions that provide the greatest diversity of choice and flexibility in the pursuit of maintaining a livelihood. In doing so, agencies should focus on expanding access to a variety of capital assets and supporting the improvement of the structures and processes that shape livelihoods. These efforts should be complemented by attention to the social safety nets provided to those who are unable to achieve livelihood objectives through the market system.
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