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Sustainable Livelihoods Approach: A Toolkit for Wales

The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) is a method of analysing and changing the lives of people experiencing poverty and disadvantage. It is a participatory approach based on the recognition that all people have abilities and assets that can be developed to help them improve their lives.
The SLA Toolkit For Wales provides practical tools to help people with participatory community development. The toolkit describes what the SLA approach is and how it can be used. The appendices then contain all the specific tools for undertaking SLA work, as well as a range of monitoring templates that can be used to track an individual or family progress using the approach.

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United Kingdom

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One review for "Sustainable Livelihoods Approach: A Toolkit for Wales"

  1. Sean Currie says:

    This is a toolkit aimed at anyone seeking to understand and tackle poverty with the people who are experiencing it. While it is specifically aimed for use in Wales (in the United Kingdom), I reviewed the toolkit for a more general purpose, and strongly believe it could be useful for working in any developed country, given the generalisability of the approach and tools it provides.

    The link takes the user to a page on the Oxfam website with an overview of the toolkit and a button to download the toolkits, and other resources are listed at the bottom of the page. The toolkit is in the format of a PDF, available in English of Welsh, and totals 55 A4-sized pages. The ‘Overview’ provides a comprehensive overview of the context of the toolkit, though it is not clear what exactly it should be used for or who by.

    In terms of design, the child-like design of the titles, the lack of signposted page numbers, and lack of quick summaries in the forms of quotes or alternative combine to reduce usability. With the over-abundance of paragraphs on every page, it is very difficult to skim read, or pick out sections to read. Rather, the user is forced to more or less read through the PDF in order to glean insights.

    In terms of contents, the first half of the PDF is made up of for sections. Section one provides an introduction to the toolkit and how to use it; section two and three cover a wide range of topics and it is not completely clear why they are split into two sections; section four provides summary of what has been discussed and an introduction to the tools to follow. These tools make up the rest of the PDF (along with a short appendix).

    Despite my misgivings about the layout, design, and structure of the PDF, the approach that it details is extremely useful for anyone working to understand or reduce poverty in a developed country. The Sustainable Livelihood Approach promotes empathy in the user for the people whom they are seeking to serve, while recommending a range of generalisably useful tools, such as problem tree analysis, and tips. There are 12 tools in total, and the consistent design of their summaries makes them easily and quickly comparable to each other.

    This an intelligently designed framework is most useful for organisations and administrations with high capacity who are working to understand and/or tackle poverty by working with those who are living in such circumstances. It is not, for example, particularly useful for an individual anti-poverty campaigner.

    In summary, this is an excellent framework with actionable and enlightening advice. Though its structure and design could be greatly improved, this should not put off users given the quality of content.

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