Livelihoods

FEWS NET’s analysis is grounded in a deep understanding of the livelihood patterns and options available to households. In the context of food security, livelihoods are defined as the means through which people access food and earn income to meet basic needs. In most cases, livelihoods analysis focuses on a geographic area – known as livelihood zones –  where people share similar livelihood patterns and access to markets. FEWS NET’s use of livelihoods information is based on the Household Economy Approach (HEA).

For early warning of food insecurity, livelihoods analysis provides invaluable insight into a household group’s vulnerability to a shock (such as drought, or above-average food prices) and the coping mechanisms that are available to them when a shock occurs. This analysis helps humanitarian organizations target resources to those with the greatest needs. It also helps identify priority areas, populations, and variables for ongoing food security monitoring.

FEWS NET’s knowledge base on livelihoods includes livelihood zone maps, descriptions, profiles, baselines, and seasonal monitoring calendars.

Livelihoods-based analysis underpins scenario development, the methodology FEWS NET uses to project future food insecurity. At each step of scenario development, livelihoods information is incorporated into the analysis. 

Products

Livelihood Maps

Livelihood Zone Maps

Livelihood Zone Maps illustrate the country by zone, showing areas where people generally have the same options for obtaining food and income and engaging in trade.

Zone Maps

About Livelihood Zone Map

Livelihood Zone Map illustrates the country by zone, showing areas where people generally have the same options for obtaining food and income and engaging in trade. 

Livelihood Attribute Maps

Livelihood Attribute Maps extract specific information from the profiles and overlay it on a zone map to illustrate graphically where a crisis could have a significant impact.

Lean Season Maps

Lean Season Maps provide a geospatial month-by-month representation of the lean seasons for a given country.

Lean Season Maps

Lean Season Maps provide a geospatial month-by-month representation of the lean seasons for a given country.

Attribute Maps

About Livelihood Attribute Map

Livelihood Attribute Map extracts specific information from the profiles and overlays it on a zone map to illustrate graphically where a crisis could have a significant impact. For example, the map can show where poor households depend on a certain income source, such as livestock sales or casual farm labor. That information provides context, informs analysis and monitoring activities, and helps answer specific food security questions.

Narrative Zone Descriptions

Livelihood Descriptions

Livelihood Zone Descriptions accompany a zone map. They briefly describe the main characteristics of the livelihood patterns in that zone, and identify relevant variables by geography.

Livelihood Descriptions

About Livelihood Description

Livelihood Zone Description accompanies a zone map, briefly describing the main characteristics of the livelihood patterns in that zone. The maps and descriptions, which identify relevant variables by geography, are useful in informing the development of monitoring systems.

Livelihood Profiles

Livelihood Profiles describe wealth groups and compare their various sources of food and income. The profiles provide a basis for understanding how different groups may be vulnerable to shocks.

Livelihood Profiles

About Livelihood Profile

Livelihood Profile briefly describes wealth groups and compares the various sources of food and income particular to each. The profile provides a basis for understanding how and whether different groups may be vulnerable to “shocks” such as drought, flooding, conflict or a market disruption. In recent years, FEWS NET expanded its profiles through a mapping exercise that includes additional baseline information on: livelihood differences between the poor and the better-off, common hazards in the zone, seasonal calendars and a consumption calendar focused on the poor. These livelihood zoning plus profiles are available for 24 countries.

Livelihood Baseline Profiles

Livelihood Baselines provide quantifiable analysis of household livelihood options. They include a detailed breakdown of food, cash and expenditure patterns, as well as coping capacity for various wealth groups.

Livelihood Baseline Profiles

About Livelihood Baseline

Livelihood Baseline provides quantifiable analysis of household livelihood options. It includes a detailed breakdown of food, cash and expenditure patterns, as well as coping capacity for various wealth groups. The baseline also highlights market patterns and constraints and opportunities for economic growth. Used for outcomes analysis, the baselines can quantify and measure the impact of shocks on households. The analysis is very useful in planning humanitarian assistance, particularly in forecasting whether and when assistance will be needed, how many people might be affected, and what types of assistance will be most helpful.

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About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.