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Livelihood Outcomes of Migration for Poor People

posted on 2023-06-07, 16:58 authored by Clare Waddington
Understanding poverty and poor people’s livelihoods, sustainable or not, has become an important focus within international development literatures and policy debates. A livelihoods approach understands poverty as more than just insufficient income. The Sustainable Livelihoods approach favoured by DFID defines livelihoods as ‘the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living’ (Carney 1998: 213). Meanwhile, broader understandings of livelihoods stress the active seeking of livelihoods as ‘the tactical and strategic behaviour of impoverished people’ (Whitehead 2002: 576), such that livelihoods are ‘the diverse ways in which people make a living and build their worlds’ (Whitehead 2002: 577). In the absence of a fully developed cash economy or social contract, or where there is inadequate social protection provided by the state, this framework seeks above all to describe and analyse how groups of people pool their resources and diversify their activities in order to reduce risk, co-insure one another, and manage the investment and distribution of resources to ensure individual well-being in the present and foreseeable future. It refers to all productive activity undertaken by a social group or by individuals, their portfolio of activities, including (and perhaps especially) those that are nonformal in nature. These ‘social groups’ are understood in the literature to be micro units or households, and broadly refer to nuclear, fluid, and extended households. Better management of households is likely to be associated with better well being of members (Whitehead 2002).


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