Review of the Evidence: The Interface between Poverty, Livelihoods, Institutions, and Community Development

  •  Tadele Zemede Wubayehu    


This paper seeks to critically review the existing literature on the links or interfaces between poverty, livelihoods, institutions, and community development. This discussion gives a clear understanding of how poverty is created and gives a clue of how sustainable policy intervention could be developed. The study adopted the Sustainable Livelihood Approach as an overall theoretical framework that guides this discussion. The reviewed literature shows that there are strong and complex interfaces between poverty, livelihoods, institutions and community development and they influence each other in several ways. The interfaces between these concepts influence the choices and nature of livelihood strategies that people employ to pursue their livelihood outcomes. The livelihood outcomes may be positive or negative and it is determined by how these concepts are linked together. For instance, the existing empirical evidences shows that having access to livelihood assets, investment in infrastructure, presence of enabling policy and institution result in positive livelihood outcomes whereas lack of access to assets, increased vulnerabilities, low investment in infrastructures, lack of popular participation, poverty and weak policy and institution together result in adopting of failed livelihood strategies which in turn resulted in negative livelihood outcomes. Thus, to formulate policies, strategies and programs that can effectively address poverty and result in sustainable development, policy makers should consider and understand the connection between these concepts before the formulation of policy, strategies or programs. Without understand this it is difficult to formulate policies, programs, and strategies that can positively contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development.

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