Livelihoods and Sustainable Development

Course Description

Resource Person:DR. ERIA SSERWAJJA

Livelihood sources are central in the survival of people in both rural and urban areas. Communities that are able to plausibly deploy multiple livelihood capitals (natural, social, human, and financial) often have better livelihood systems. It also means that they can plausibly respond to multiple forms of shocks and stresses (for instance floods or draught), denoting that the livelihood systems of such communities are sustainable. Meanwhile, those that lack the resources (capital) are thus unable to recover for a variety of reasons. This course therefore interrogates the importance of livelihoods to communities, whether urban or rural, both locally and globally. While drawing on specific communities, it deploys the sustainable rural livelihoods framework to study the livelihood systems of particular communities, the problems which they encounter and how they have been able to navigate the ensuing shocks and stresses. More importantly, it also recognizes the interdependence between rural and urban livelihoods (rural-urban linkages) and the role which they play in the realization of sustainable development.

Aim: Highlight the diverse forms, forces that shape and inform the multiple and at times contrasting livelihoods in rural and urban areas, and the key issues that enable some communities to realize more sustainable livelihood systems compared to others


-Equip learners with key concepts: livelihood, sustainable development, rural urban Linkage, sustainable rural livelihood.

-Enable learners to appreciate the important of both rural and urban livelihoods in the development trajectory of countries and survival of communities at local and global levels.

-Help learners appreciate the inextricable livelihood connection between rural and urban areas for instance through rural-urban linkages both locally, nationally (supply of food, labor and market for agricultural produce) and at a global scale.

-Enhance the theoretical and conceptual grounding of learners by using the sustainable rural livelihoods framework to show the centrality of the state and its institutions in determining the nature and forms of livelihoods in rural areas

-Show how government policy frameworks shape and inform livelihoods of communities at all levels.

Scope: Definition of livelihood; sustainable rural and urban livelihood systems; the importance of, continuities and contrasts in livelihood forms/sources and characteristics in both rural and urban areas; rural-urban livelihood linkages and interactions; importance of agriculture including urban agriculture and other natural resources in shaping and informing rural and urban livelihood systems; non-agriculture based livelihoods in rural and urban areas; the sustainable rural livelihood resources (natural capital: land air water, social capital, human capital, economic/financial capital); institutions that facilitate or constrain the attainment of sustainable livelihoods; livelihood strategies for rural (migration, agricultural intensification and intensification) and urban areas (formal and informal employment, urban agriculture, remittances, personal savings, pension funds); the role of the state in shaping and informing livelihood systems; livelihood shocks and stress; coping and adaptation processes. It will also critically assess the impact of climate change on livelihoods and food systems in rural and urban areas; and examine the key tenets of a sustainable rural livelihood system.

References and Readings

-Ian Scoones (2015). Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development, Practical Action Publishing.

-Eluise M , Eleanor B, Brayan B Et Al (2015). Sustainable Development and The Water Energy –Food Nexus: A Perspective on Livelihoods, Environmental Science and Policy 54, 389-397.

-Stephen M and Timothy B (2014). Sustainable Urban Development Reader, Routledge.

-Jeffrey Sayer, Bruce Campbell, Bruce Morgan Campbell (2004). The Science of Sustainable Development: Local Livelihoods and The Global Environment, Cambridge University Press.

-Robin A, John H, Manamela M (2004). Sustainable Development, Sustainable Livelihoods and Land Reforms in South Africa: A Conceptual and Ethical Inquiry, Third World Quarterly Vol, 25 No 2 Pp405-421.

-Lee- Ann Small (2007). The Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Approach: A Critical Review, Canadian Journal of Development Studies 28 (1), 27-38.

-Virginie B, Flilippo V, (2011). Inclusive Business for Sustainable Livelihood, Field Action Science Reports 5.

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