Trade‐offs in the exploration of Sustainable Livelihoods: experience from a micro‐credit intervention in Nigeria
The paper discusses the Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA) as implemented by a Catholic Church development organisation (Diocesan Development Services; DDS) in Nigeria, including the trade‐offs involved and the meaning of ‘success’ with this process. SLA sets out to assess the ability of a social unit to enhance its assets and capabilities in the face of shocks and stresses over time and could be said to be a practical framework for evidence‐based intervention. DDS implemented an SLA to help provide the basis for changes planned to an existing intervention, namely micro‐credit. Given the challenges involved in SLA, DDS decided upon a number of trade‐offs to balance the significant cost in resource against what it was looking for from the process. The first driver was a perceived need from DDS to provide quality evidence to help plan changes to its micro‐credit scheme. The evidence gained from the SLA was also intended to help provide credibility when approaching major donors for support with the scheme. Secondly there was a desire to use the SLA as a means to identify and work with a group of households in an area where DDS had little prior experience on the assumption that these households could form the basis for a wider involvement with the community.
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