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September 16 , 2007

Sustainable Livelihood Approach

A Critique of Theory and Practice



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We all view the ubiquitous term ‘sustainability’ as a worthwhile goal. But how can we apply the principles of sustainability in the real world, at the sharp end of communities in developing nations where income insecurity is the troubled norm? This volume provides some practical answers, explaining the precepts of the ‘sustainable livelihood approach’ (SLA) through the case study of a microfinance scheme in Africa.


The case study, centered around the work of the Catholic Church’s Diocesan Development Services organization, involved an SLA implemented over two years designed in part to help enhance its existing microfinance operation through closer links between local communities and international donors. The book’s central conclusion is that we must move beyond the concept of sustainable livelihood itself, with its in-built polarities between developed and developing nations, and embrace a more global notion of ‘sustainable lifestyle’; a more nuanced and inclusive approach that encompasses not just how we make a sustainable living, but how we can live sustainable lives.

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