A livelihood constitutes the ability to make a living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can survive the stress and shocks of the surrounding environment, while not undermining the natural resource base.
For nearly 30 years, International Medical Corps has provided livelihoods assistance to enable communities to recover from disaster. In the face of conflict or natural disaster, vulnerable populations tend to deplete their wealth‚ including livestock, seeds, and household goods in order to survive and be able to buy necessities such as food, medicine, and clothing, pay for school fees and essential services critical to living a healthy life.
Because of this, livelihood protection and promotion is central to International Medical Corps’ mission of supporting a swift recovery from disaster and strengthening local capacity to soften the impact of future shocks. We provide assistance that includes expanded temporary income-earning opportunities. To do this, we focus on rebuilding, expanding and diversifying the centers of wealth that communities draw on for their livelihoods.
Our approach includes skills trainings, cash grants, cash for work, and the protection and replenishment of livestock. In cash-for-work schemes, International Medical Corps often hires local health professionals to fill critical gaps. Local men and women work as community health workers, and local residents assist with post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation of key infrastructure. A critical part of our livelihood support strategy is providing skills training to health professionals, unemployed youths and farmers to boost their ability to earn income or produce the food they need to survive following a disaster.