Diversified Livelihoods

Speeches Shim

helps A farmer in Malawi diverts water from a main irrigation channel to a row of crops.
A USAID-funded irrigation program in Dowa District in central Malawi, helps a farmer divert water from a main irrigation channel to a row of crops.
Helen Ho/USAID

Diversified, Resilient Livelihood Strategies

A family with only one means of support has nothing to fall back on if that livelihood is destroyed by a disaster. A family solely dependent on cattle, for instance, faces a grim future if their herd is decimated by drought, making alternative coping strategies essential for survival. 

USAID's disaster risk reduction programs work hand-in-hand to complement development-oriented initiatives by focusing on reducing vulnerability to specific hazards.  USAID promotes the sustainable management of land and natural resources to build resilience among vulnerable populations, particularly those impacted by climate change and variability. Along these lines, USAID supports programs that increase the ability of men and women farmers to produce food for their families, as well as the diversification of livelihoods.

Through practices like conservation agriculture, production of drought tolerant crops, and other approaches to diversifying livelihoods, communities spread risk and are less vulnerable to the hazard.  Livelihood programs responding to urban challenges are equally critical, as are programs aimed at building or restoring environmental resilience.