Livelihoods, Vulnerability, and Resilience

More than a decade of research and experience at the Center points strongly to the importance of understanding the vulnerability of people’s livelihoods, the risks they face, and their adaptive strategies.

Livelihoods are often caught up in the dynamics of conflict; a common feature of armed conflict is the direct targeting of livelihood assets through looting, destruction, or forced displacement. Destructive livelihood strategies may involve intimidation, coercion, and violence, and can further fuel conflict among livelihood groups.

Our work focuses on further developing our understanding and analysis of livelihood vulnerability and resilience in the context of armed conflict and post conflict (Darfur and Uganda), protracted and repeated crises (northern Ethiopia) and disaster risk reduction (Nepal and Kenya). We will also research the emerging roles of cash and financial resilience in counteracting vulnerability (Haiti and Egypt).

Markets and Trade in Darfur

The goal of this market monitoring initiative is to deepen analysis and understanding of the shifting patterns of trade and markets in Darfur on an ongoing basis for key agricultural and livestock commodities; identify how livelihoods and the economy can be supported through trade; and identify peace-building opportunities through trade.

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Secure Livelihoods Research Programme Consortium: Livelihoods, Basic Services, and Social Protection

Closely linked to earlier work undertaken by the Feinstein Center in livelihoods and food security, and combining insights from working in protracted conflict settings, this research is led by the Overseas Development Institute in London.

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Promoting Evidence-based Livelihood Programming in Karamoja, Uganda

In 2009-2011, the Tufts/FIC team worked in collaboration with SCiUG on research to improve and inform programming, policy making, and advocacy through the collection and dissemination of qualitative data on key livelihood issues.

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Livelihoods-based Programming and Impact Assessment in Pastoral Areas of the Horn of Africa

Through coordination and technical support to multi-actor programs in pastoral regions, our goal is to improve the quality of aid programming in pastoral areas, and institutionalize impact assessment as a norm within donors and NGOs.

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Livelihoods Change over Time Responses of Communities and Agencies to Chronic Crisis

The overarching objective of the proposed research is to enhance the understanding of how livelihoods change in response to stress and crisis, and to improve humanitarian practice in responding to disaster and improving livelihoods.

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Livelihood Programming for Disaster Risk Reduction Kenya, Nepal, and Haiti

This FIC study is designed to improve our knowledge of livelihoods in the context of a disaster (before, after, and during), evaluate the impact of specific interventions intended to reduce risks, help articulate livelihoods approaches to DRR programming, and aid policy makers, donors and agencies in designing and implementing better and more effective DRR programming.

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Sudan Environment and Livelihoods

The pastoralist project aims to promote understanding of pastoralists’ livelihoods systems among local, national and international stakeholders and to strengthen the capacity of pastoralist leaders, organizations and other advocates to articulate the rational for pastoralism.

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Advancing Financial Resilience

The Financial Resilience program seeks to promote understanding of financial resilience – the ability of a household or community to prevent, sustain, or recover from financial shocks – in marginalized populations in high-risk/high-stress environments.

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Developing a Conflict-Sensitive Microfinance Model for Darfur

Tufts/FIC commissioned a microfinance assessment undertaken as part of the joint UNDP-IOM-Tufts project earlier this year. That document, “Championing the Coping Economy: An Assessment of the Microfinance Market in Darfur: Gaps and Opportunities,” reviews the financial sector of Sudan and Darfur, and assesses the potential for microfinance as a tool for economic recovery in Darfur.

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Surveying livelihoods, service delivery and governance: baseline evidence from South Sudan
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In 2012, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with inputs from SLRC, implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in South Sudan aimed to produce data…

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Another Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia? Learning from the 2011 Famine
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By Daniel Maxwell, Nisar Majid | August 2014

After two reasonably good years of recovery, 2014 appears to be shaping up as a difficult year for Somalia. Donors and agencies are ringing alarm bells about deteriorating conditions. There…

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“It’s Better to Sweat than to Die:” Rural-to-Urban Migration, Northern Karamoja, Uganda
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Much of the literature on urbanization focuses on migration to large cities. In contrast, this report traces the process, challenges, and opportunities of rural-urban migration to towns and small cities…

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Lessons Learned from the Somalia Famine and the Greater Horn of Africa Crisis 2011-2012 Desk Review of Literature
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On July 20, 2011, the UN declared a famine in South Central Somalia, which killed some 260,000 people (Checchi and Robinson 2013). Though Somalia was the worst affected country, the…

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Recovery in Northern Uganda How are people surviving post-conflict?
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In 2012/13, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in northern Uganda aimed to produce data on livelihoods, access to and…

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The impact of serious crimes during the war on households today in Northern Uganda
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In 2012/13, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in northern Uganda aimed to produce data on livelihoods, access to and…

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The war-wounded and recovery in Northern Uganda
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In 2012/13, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in northern Uganda aimed to produce data on livelihoods, access to and…

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Surveying livelihoods, service delivery and governance – baseline evidence from Uganda
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In 2012/13, SLRC implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in Uganda aimed to produce data on livelihoods, access to and experience of basic services, exposure to…

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Livelihoods, access to services and perceptions of governance: An analysis of Uror and Nyirol counties, South Sudan
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This report is based on qualitative fieldwork conducted in Uror and Nyirol Counties, Jonglei State, South Sudan and a household survey conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)…

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Participatory Impact Assessment: A Design Guide Updated Version 2014
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The Feinstein International Center has been developing and adapting participatory approaches to measure the impact of livelihoods based interventions since the early nineties. Originally released in 2009, this updated version…

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In the eye of the storm: An analysis of internal conflict in South Sudan’s Jonglei State
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By Rachel Gordon | March 2014

The violent political crisis that has engulfed South Sudan since mid-December 2013 has awakened the world to the fundamental lack of stability in the world’s newest country. Unfortunately, the situation…

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Pastoralism in Practice Monitoring Livestock Mobility in Contemporary Sudan
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This report highlights the importance of pastoralist livestock mobility for the resilience of pastoralist livelihood systems and for maximising productivity. Tufts and partners monitored camel, sheep and cattle herds for…

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Taking Root The Cash Crop Trade in Darfur
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This study explores the impact of a decade of conflict in Darfur on the trade in some of Darfur’s major cash crops. How has the cash crop trade adapted, and…

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Livestock, Livelihoods, and Disaster Response:  PART ONE A Review of Livestock-Based Livelihood Projects in Sudan
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By Merry Fitzpatrick, Helen Young | November 2013

Tufts University and the Feinstein International Center are pleased to announce the publication of a two part review of emergency livestock interventions in Sudan. Livestock production is a crucial livelihood…

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Livestock, Livelihoods, and Disaster Response: PART TWO Three Case Studies of Livestock Emergency Programmes in Sudan, and Lessons Learned
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Tufts University and the Feinstein International Center are pleased to announce the publication of a two part review of emergency livestock interventions in Sudan. Livestock production is a crucial livelihood…

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Pastoralism in Practice: Monitoring Livestock Mobility in Contemporary Sudan
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This is the fourth in a series of Policy Briefing Papers which form part of the Environment and Livelihoods component of the UNEP Sudan Integrated Environment Programme, funded by UKAid…

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Resilience, Food Security Dynamics, and Poverty Traps in Northern Ethiopia Analysis of a Biannual Panel Dataset, 2011-2013
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Humanitarian assistance or safety net programs may be able to prevent mortality or reduce malnutrition in the face of shocks or crises, but households, their communities, and their institutions may…

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Livelihood Dynamics in Northern Karamoja A Participatory Baseline Study for the Growth Health and Governance Program
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By John Burns, Gezu Bekele, Darlington Akabwai | September 2013

This report documents the findings of a livelihoods assessment carried out as part of the USAID funded Growth, Health and Governance program being implemented by Mercy Corps and partners in…

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Disaster Risk Reduction and Livelihoods
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By Feinstein Center | September 2013

According to the Hyogo Framework for Action, disasters affect over 200 million people annually, causing significant loss of lives, forced migration, and disruption of livelihoods and institutions. The trend over…

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Turning Cold Money Hot What the SHG Movement can learn from an Alternate Approach
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By Kim Wilson | August 2013

India’s efforts in grassroots finance have been dominated by a powerful form of savings and loan clubs. Self-Help Groups, or SHGs as they are called, nudge urban and rural poor…

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Standing Wealth Pastoralist Livestock Production and Local Livelihoods in Sudan
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The report highlights the importance of pastoralist livestock production for the country’s economy, and outlines ways in which pastoralism can be supported in the future, to benefit livelihoods and the…

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Resilience and Livelihoods Change in Tigray, Ethiopia
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Resilience is the ability of an individual, a household, a community or an institution to withstand a shock or setback of some type and recover, or “bounce back,” after a…

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Tradition in Transition: Customary Authority in Karamoja, Uganda
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Customary authority in the Karamoja region of Uganda has undergone profound shifts in parallel to the changing livelihoods and security conditions in the region over the past several decades. This…

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On the Hoof: Livestock Trade in Darfur
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This report explores what has happened to the livestock trade in the greater Darfur region during nine years of conflict, since 2003. Livestock is one of Darfur’s main economic assets…

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Response Analysis: What Drives Program Choice?
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By Daniel Maxwell, Heather Stobaugh | August 2012

This research considers “response analysis”: the analytical process by which the objectives and modality of program response options in an emergency are determined. The research question was whether improved analysis drives program response choices in humanitarian food security interventions?

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From Subjects to Citizens? Labor, Mobility & Social Transformation in Rural Nepal
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Nepal is on the cusp of a major “transformation” from a relatively stable condition of reproduction of social and economic relations based on feudal and caste strictures to a more…

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Life in Town: Migration from rural Karamoja to Moroto and Mbale
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Migration from rural Karamoja to towns, cities and other rural areas has long been part of local livelihood strategies, but attention to this phenomenon by national and international actors in…

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Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection in South Sudan
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This paper summarizes the existing literature on livelihoods, basic services and social protection in South Sudan; presents a brief analysis of this literature, and lays out potential research questions for the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC).

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Impact Assessment of Honey Microfinance and Livestock Value Chain Interventions Final Impact Assessment of the PSNP Plus project in Sekota
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By John Burns, Solomon Bogale | January 2012

The USAID funded PSNP Plus program ‘Linking Poor Rural Households to Microfinance and Markets in Ethiopia’ was launched in late 2008 and will run until December 2011. The PSNP Plus…

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Impact Assessment of Livestock Value Chain Interventions Final Impact Assessment of the PSNP Plus Project in Raya Azebo
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By John Burns, Solomon Bogale | November 2011

The USAID funded PSNP Plus program ‘Linking Poor Rural Households to Microfinance and Markets in Ethiopia’ was launched in late 2008 and will run until December 2011. The PSNP Plus…

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Milk Matters in Karamoja
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By Elizabeth Stites, Emily Mitchard | October 2011

Households in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda have seen a precipitous drop in access to and availability of animal milk in recent years. The declining milk supply affects livelihoods,…

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Addressing Integrated Coordination in Food Security Crises A Brief Assessment of the Role, Mandate, and Challenges of the Global Food Security Cluster
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By Daniel Maxwell, John Parker | October 2011

In May 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) formally launched the global Food Security Cluster (FSC) as the UN’s global mechanism for coordinating food…

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Impact Assessment of Small Ruminant and Value Chain Interventions Final Impact Assessment of the PSNP Plus Project in Dodota and Sire
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By John Burns, Solomon Bogale | October 2011

The USAID funded PSNP Plus program ‘Linking Poor Rural Households to Microfinance and Markets in Ethiopia’ was launched in late 2008 and will run until December 2011. The PSNP Plus…

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Impact Assessment of Microfinance Honey and Crop Value Chain Interventions Final Impact Assessment of the PSNP Plus Project in Doba Woreda
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By John Burns, Solomon Bogale | September 2011

The USAID funded PSNP Plus program ‘Linking Poor Rural Households to Microfinance and Markets in Ethiopia’ was launched in late 2008 and will run until December 2011. The PSNP Plus…

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The Role of Education in Livelihoods in the Somali Region of Ethiopia
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By Elanor Jackson | June 2011

What are the links between education and livelihoods in conflict affected areas of the Somali Region of Ethiopia? How can improved education provision contribute to strengthening livelihoods? The BRIDGES project…

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Final Report: Africa Community Resilience Project Tsaeda Amba Woreda, Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia Research Program on Livelihoods Change over Time
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Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs encompass many different kinds of activities, but share the fundamental objective of enhancing the capacity of vulnerable communities to identify, reduce and manage risk, whether…

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Adaptation and Resilience Responses to Changing Dynamics in Northern Karamoja, Uganda
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This briefing paper is the first output from the LIVE project (Livelihoods, Insecurity and Value Chains Examination in Karamoja), a collaborative study with Save the Children in Uganda funded by…

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Baseline and Mid-term Assessment of the PSNP Plus Project in Sire and Dodota Linking Poor Rural Households to Microfinance and Markets in Ethiopia
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This report presents the results from a baseline assessment of the PSNP Plus project in Sire and Dodota woreda’s in the Oromiya region of Ethiopia. These assessments are part of…

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Foraging and Fighting Community Perspectives on Natural Resources and Conflict in Southern Karamoja
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This joint publication by the Feinstein International Center and Save the Children in Uganda examines the perspectives and experiences of communities in the southern Karamoja region of Uganda regarding natural…

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Savings and Chance Learning from the Lottery to Improve Financial Services in Haiti
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By Kim Wilson, Mariah Levin | July 2010

Savings and Chance, a study by a team from the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises (CEME) at the Fletcher School at Tufts University explores the ubiquity of gambling practices in…

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Institutional Assessment Report: Africa Community Resilience Project Tsaeda Amba Woreda, Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia Research Program on Livelihoods Change over Time
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Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs encompass many different kinds of activities, but share the fundamental objective of enhancing the capacity of vulnerable communities to identify, reduce and manage risk, whether…

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Baseline and Mid-term Assessment of the PSNP Plus Project in Doba Linking Poor Rural Households to Microfinance and Markets in Ethiopia
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This report presents the findings of the first two stages of an assessment of the PSNP Plus project in Doba woreda in West Hararghe. These assessments are part of a…

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Baseline Report: Africa Community Resilience Project Tsaeda Amba Woreda, Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia - Research Program on Livelihoods Change over Time
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Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs encompass many different kinds of activities, but share the fundamental objective of enhancing the capacity of vulnerable communities to identify, reduce and manage risk, whether…

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Increasing the Financial Resilience of Disaster-affected Populations
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Increasing the Financial Resilience of Disaster-affected Populations is a desk review paper commissioned and supported by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, USAID. One of the most significant problems facing…

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Changing Roles, Shifting Risks Livelihood Impacts of Disarmament in Karamoja, Uganda
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This report is the result of the first phase of a partnership with Save the Children in Uganda. Based on field work conducted in April 2009 in Moroto and Kotido…

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Targeting in Complex Emergencies Darfur Case Study
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By Helen Young, Daniel Maxwell | April 2009

Can community-based approaches to the targeting of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies improve participation and reduce targeting error? Although the literature suggests that community-based targeting works best in slow-onset emergencies…

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Livelihoods, Migration and Conflict Discussion of Findings from Two Studies in West and North Darfur, 2006 - 2007
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This briefing paper discusses findings from a study conducted in Darfur from 2006-8 that explored the changing role of migration and remittances in the livelihoods of conflict-affected people. We conducted…

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Livelihoods, Power, and Choice The Vulnerability of the Northern Rizaygat, Darfur, Sudan
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Livelihoods in Darfur are intimately linked to the conflict, none more so than the livelihoods of the camel herding nomads known as the Northern Rizaygat. Their notoriety as part of…

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Livelihoods, Power, and Choice The Vulnerability of the Northern Rizaygat, Darfur, Sudan
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Livelihoods in Darfur are intimately linked to the conflict, none more so than the livelihoods of the camel herding nomads known as the Northern Rizaygat. Their notoriety as part of…

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Livelihoods-based Drought Response in Ethiopia Impact Assessment of Livestock Feed Supplementation
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By Gezu Bekele, Tsehay Abera | August 2008

This impact assessment aimed to measure the impact of an emergency livestock feed supplementation program implemented by Save the Children US during drought in pastoralist communities in Liben district (Guji…

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Targeting in Complex Emergencies South Sudan Country Case Study
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By Daniel Maxwell, John Burns | May 2008

The population of Southern Sudan was caught in a civil war from 1983 to 2005. During the war, several major famines led to a massive food aid intervention by the…

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Adaptation and Devastation The Impact of the Conflict on Trade and Markets in Darfur
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Conflict and crisis in Darfur has continued unabated since 2003. While there has been a growing body of knowledge about how this has impacted on livelihoods, there has been much…

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Impact Assessment of the Pastoralist Survival and Recovery Project Dakoro, Niger
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This report is the outcome of an impact assessment of the ‘Pastoralist Survival and Recovery Project’ implemented by Lutheran World Relief and partners in North Dakoro, Niger. The assessment is…

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Filling the Blue Box Mutuelles, Self-financing and Financial Services in the South of Haiti
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By Kim Wilson, Gaye Burpee | February 2008

In Haiti, many farmers lie beyond the reach of the formal banking system and MFIs. A powerful method of local financial intermediation, called mutuelles is helping to bridge the gap….

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Angering Akuju Survival and Suffering in Karamoja
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Karamoja is the poorest and least developed region of Uganda. The population experiences chronic food insecurity, little access to basic services, the weakening of traditional livelihood systems, ongoing insecurity, human…

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Impact Assessment of the Chical Integrated Recovery Action Project, Niger
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By John Burns, Omeno Suji | November 2007

This report is the outcome of an impact assessment of the ‘Chical Integrated Recovery Action Project’ an integrated livelihoods and drought mitigation intervention implemented by Africare in the Tillaberi region…

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Sharpening the Strategic Focus of Livelihoods Programming in the Darfur Region
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By Helen Young, Abdal Monium Osman | September 2007

It is well known in the Darfur region that peoples’ livelihoods have been devastated as a result of the conflict, both as a result of the direct asset-stripping of conflict…

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Impact Assessment of the Zimbabwe Dams and Gardens Project
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By John Burns, Omeno Suji | September 2007

This study was an impact assessment of the ‘Zimbabwe Dams and Gardens’ Project’ a community based famine prevention and mitigation intervention being implemented by CARE International in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe….

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Impact Assessment of the Gokwe Integrated Recovery Action Project
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By John Burns, Omeno Suji | August 2007

This study was an impact assessment of the “Gokwe Integrated Recovery Action Project” (GIRA) a drought recovery and famine mitigation intervention being implemented by Africare in the Midlands Province of…

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Strategies for Economic Recovery and Peace In Darfur Why a wider livelihoods approach is imperative and inclusion of the Abbala (camel herding) Arabs is a priority
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Competing livelihoods in the absence of good local governance has led to localized and ultimately devastating conflict over natural resources in Darfur. The lack of comprehensive livelihoods analysis in international…

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Out-migration, Return, and Resettlement in Karamoja, Uganda The case of Kobulin, Bokora County
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As part of a larger project entitled “Livelihoods and Human Security in Karamoja,” this briefing paper presents findings on causal factors and broad patterns in out-migration among the Bokora population….

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Impact Assessments of Livelihoods-based Drought Interventions in Moyale and Dire Woredas A Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative report produced by the Feinstein International Center in partnership with CARE, Save the Children, and USAID-Ethiopia
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| March 2007

The Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative (PLI) is a two-year program funded by USAID Ethiopia which combines field level implementation and learning in pastoral areas, with the development of national guidelines for…

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Movement on the Margins Livelihoods and Security in Kitgum District, Northern Uganda
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The protracted conflict in northern Uganda has created profound insecurity, brought the widespread loss of agrarian livelihoods, and pushed nearly two million people into internal displacement camps. With the current…

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Review of WFP Food Assistance Programming Practices in Southern Sudan
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The World Food Programme has been providing humanitarian food assistance to vulnerable communities and groups in Southern Sudan for over twenty years, but circumstances have changed following the signing of…

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In Search of Security A Regional Analysis of Armed Conflict in Northern Uganda, Eastern Uganda, and Southern Sudan
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By Dyan Mazurana | November 2005

The war and humanitarian crises engulfing northern Uganda are intricately linked with the armed conflict and unrest in eastern Uganda and southern Sudan. As a result of the links between…

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Darfur: Livelihoods Under Siege
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It is almost two years since the beginning of the rebel insurgency in Darfur, but the conflict continues, the ceasefire has been frequently violated, and the world’s worst humanitarian crisis…

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Coping with War, Coping with Peace Livelihood Adaptation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1989-2004
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This study uses a livelihood framework to examine and analyze household livelihood strategies across three time periods in six rural villages in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The three time periods examined are the…

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The Alchemy Project: Final Report, 2001-2004
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By Karen Jacobsen | November 2004

The Alchemy Project began in 2001 as a pilot program to explore whether income generating interventions do support the livelihoods of forcibly displaced people. Our long-term goals were to work…

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Human Security and Livelihoods of Rural Afghans, 2002-2003
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This report documents and analyzes recent countrywide trends in the relationship between human security and livelihoods throughout rural Afghanistan from 2002-2003. All countrywide information is generated by analyses of 2003…

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Risk and Vulnerability in Ethiopia Learning from the Past, Responding to the Present, Preparing for the Future
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The people of Ethiopia today are managing the risks and vulnerabilities generated by a serious drought, profound vulnerability to disease epidemics (human, crop and livestock), and a combination of local…

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