The concept of Sustainable Livelihood (SL) is an attempt to go beyond the conventional definitions and approaches to poverty eradication. These had been found to be too narrow because they focused only on certain aspects or manifestations of poverty, such as low income, or did not consider other vital aspects of poverty such as vulnerability and social exclusion.
It is now recognized that more attention must be paid to the various factors and processes which either constrain or enhance poor people’s ability to make a living in an economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable manner.
The SL concept offers a more coherent and integrated approach to
poverty. “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.”
The numerous socio economic challenges in the communities ranging from poverty, disease burden, social & political injustices, exclusion, marginalization, rights abuses, violence& conflict, persecution, lack of access to opportunities & resources, under education, under service, increased societal crimes to mention but a few have eroded human confidence of the affected persons, human capacities and rendered humanity in several parts of the globe hopeless.
Vision for Humanity in its approach to community service centralizes the aspect of human capacity. We believe the base of transformation & development is the human capital and the most critical element of human capital is human capacity.
Once the lost capacity is reclaimed or existing capacity & resilience is
built or enhanced, the human being in the continuum of an individual, family, community, region, country or globe is able to cope with stress and recover from shocks and can contribute positively to transformation & development of self, others and or generations.
This many times may just require positive inspiration and also genuine empowerment to facilitate human capacity hence we “Empower & inspire” driving them from dependency (handouts, aid) to self-reliance, external solutions to initiative takers (self-help), agility to resilience, impoverishment to prosperity.
Sustainable livelihoods is our approach to poverty alleviation. Tackling poverty requires an approach beyond focusing on lack of or low income to human capacity and assets, vulnerability and exclusion, activities & dignity.
Our Goal for sustainable livelihoods is attaining secure livelihoods where there is food security and alleviation of poverty by building communities capacities & resilience to cope with stress & shocks, take initiative to turn difficulties into opportunities & innovations, in order to develop sustainable livelihoods for themselves, families, communities, generations and contribute to net transformation & development.
- To have food security, undertake productive initiatives for poverty alleviation.
- To design & incorporate interventions that inspire communities, builds hope & positive energies, challenging and driving them to utilize their potential positively into productive initiatives. Inspirational talks, change stories, learning visits are positive contributors to this objective.
- Undertake activities that empower communities, facilitate their capacities of production and enhance their coping mechanisms to deal with stress and shocks.
- Motivate communities to take and lead initiatives to drive the change they desire. We mobilize them to take self-help initiatives, act on their own choices and control their destinies.
- We undertake initiatives that develop and build resilient communities able to withstand stress & shocks.
The two major components of our Sustainable livelihoods program include:-
- Agricultural Livelihoods (Sustainable Agriculture):
Agriculture is the backbone of many economies around the world and is the key source of livelihoods for most rural communities. Today agriculture is shifting from a rural affair to a strong income generation tool in form of agribusiness. Urban places around the world are engaging in unique forms of agriculture in a limited space. With effects of climate change hard hitting, climate smart agriculture and modern agricultural practices is where the focus of the organization is.
We work with individual farmers, farmer groups, Agricultural research institutions, partner organizations. Our initiatives cover:-
- Land fragmentation: -Uganda’s population is one of the fastest growing in the world. As of 2017 the country’s population is approximately 40 million people projected to be around 90 million
people by 2050 all deriving livelihoods from the same square kilometers of land Uganda has. Population density of the country is ever increasing causing land fragmentation that does not sustain agriculture. We encourage communities & farmer groups to pool land together and venture into agriculture jointly to optimize crop or animal production.
- Skills enhancement training for optimized production: – Sustainable agriculture requires the relevant skills for meaningful engagement. Extension support is a strong focus on our intervention in agriculture. Our farmers are supported by extension workers
throughout the production cycle covering soil testing, soil quality
improvement, site preparation, enterprise selection, pest & disease
control, weed control, harvest & post-harvest support, preservation. We undertake farmer field schools, learning visits, best practices to improve farmer skills.
- Climate smart agriculture: – Effects of climate change are hard hitting.Production seasons are unpredictable. Amounts of rainfall & dry spells are abnormal. We teach our farmers to practice climate smart agriculture that include rain harvesting techniques, practices to conserve & improve soil quality, simple irrigation techniques, smart agricultural practices to cope with the impact of climate change and
- Farm implements: – One of the greatest challenges in
agriculture for rural communities is access to “Quality & regular implements”. Many farmers cannot afford them, sometimes supplies are irregular and the market suffocates with substandard products. These include access to various tools for agriculture. We work with
partners to support various rural farmers with inputs & tools to enhance their production capacities.
- Access to secure markets: – Many farmers have suffered due to
insecure markets where on many occasions they are engaged into production without markets. Our approach is usually to begin from the end. We secure markets and production agreements & contracts first before we mobilize farmers into production. We only promote enterprises for which we have secure markets among our farmers. This also eliminates the cruel hand of the middlemen along the supply chain.
- Farmer cooperatives: – Our unique approach is building
farmers into cooperative groups to access bigger & wider markets, have a stronger bargaining voice and influence pricing. This also creates better recognition for the groups and better access to subsidize and financing.
- Agribusiness & Value addition: – We transform many of our farmers from subsistence to agri-business farmers. “The black
gold” “the dirty hands are the hands of gold” is a philosophy many farmers we support have appreciated and seriously adopted. Their efforts are producing tremendous results. A key component of this is value addition for better income. These efforts are paying off.
- Rural financing / agricultural financing: – We have worked hard to establish a micro lending department specifically support our farmers and other livelihoods groups. On top of this we work with specific micro finance institutions suitable for rural farmers particularly Micro finance support center Uganda to ensure access to financing for rural farmers.
- Extra Skills training (Livelihoods Diversification): – It is
a pity to labor hard all year round and loose earnings because of lack of basic skills & knowledge. We support our farmers with extra knowledge & skills training in the areas of group dynamics, financial literacy, business skills for diversification, Savings & VSLA methodology.
- Farmer support groups:– This is a peer support group for sharing knowledge, skills, best practices, solidarity with farmers in loss and is a strong platform to motivate other people to pick interest in farming / agri business because many people under look farming.
- Incentivizing agriculture / Demonstration farm for the
organization: – We have partnered with and support Dream mixed farms, a private social agricultural enterprise and we have established a model farm. We collect farmers routinely from the countryside annually to have a learning experience from this model farm. We enroll best performing farmers as out growers of dream mixed farms to enjoy an international market and also frequently and annually award modest rewards and prices for best performing farmers we work with. This has generated serious interest among farmers.
- Non- Agricultural Livelihoods:
Else from agriculture there are a whole lot of dignified initiatives that we undertake with communities to attain secure & sustainable livelihoods. We focus on developing and or enhancing skills, talent and ideas.
- Self-help initiatives for both informal & formal groups: – This is a bold approach and shift from the narrow understanding and approach to tackling poverty (lack of or low income hence handing gifts, aid, tokens) to questioning the status quo where we inspire communities to take initiative, enhance existing efforts to help
themselves by building or enhancing existing capacities & efforts. These include efforts of savings, VSLA Methodology, group / community skills & resource pooling, Model community approaches, solidarity groups, talent & art groups among others. We enhance these groups with skills trainings covering group dynamics, diversification into enterprises and technical support.
- Life skills: We provide life skills to youth, women, and adolescents to cope with shocks, challenges and life changes. This also focuses them to envision life and develop better life goals and career
- Non Formal skills Development & Enhancement: – Many
of our target groups (youth,women, children, elderly) are seriously constrained and vulnerable because of dropping out of school, lack of employable skills. We skill them in non formal enterprise specific skills areas like knitting, crafts, cookery & pastery, soap making, jelly making, ornaments among several other skills.
- Formal/Technical skills: We work with formal technical
institutions to provide long term skills for a productive life.
- Creative Art & Culture: – A key livelihood component especially for young people is their skills in art. Many times they are not properly paid (ripped off) for their skills & efforts, need development enhancement of the skills. We have deliberate initiatives to develop, enhance and support efforts of various individuals, groups to create livelihood from art & culture. These include skills development, advocacy to enable protection laws in place, direct cash support, art & culture events & competitions among others.
- Technology for livelihoods: – We value the importance of technology in creating employment and enhancing skills for employment. We partner with and develop initiatives that build capacities of individuals through technology enhancing their chances of employment and also use technology skills for self-employment.
We have created a page in our website and our social media platforms to enhance employment opportunities for individuals.
- Cash based livelihood opportunities: – We have various initiatives like cash for work, cash for business groups, cash for savings groups, revolving funds, investments funds for sparking
livelihoods activities for individuals, groups we work with in communities.
- Livelihoods Diversification: – It is important for livelihoods sustainability to sustainably diversify livelihoods. We support this through extra skills trainings, linkages to extra opportunities among others.
- Private sector capacity: – We undertake several initiatives to
create opportunities and enhance capacities of the private sector in undertaking enterprises that offer social support and enhance livelihoods.