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 more than two decades, International Medical Corps has provided livelihoods assistance to enable communities to recover from disaster. In the face of armed conflict or natural disaster, those most vulnerable are often forced to sell off their limited wealth—including livestock, seeds and household goods—to purchase necessities required for survival, such as food, medicine and clothing, or to pay for school fees and other essential services.
Because of this, protecting and promoting livelihoods is central to our mission to support swift recoveries from disaster and to strengthen local capacities to survive future shocks. We help expand temporary income-earning opportunities—focusing, for example, on rebuilding, strengthening and diversifying the centers of wealth that communities draw upon for their livelihoods.
We support entrepreneurship and other market-based livelihoods, such as vocational and life-skills training. We provide cash grants, cash for work and non-farm income-generating activities. We support village savings-and-loan schemes to create job opportunities within communities—including for younger members of the community, who might otherwise be forced to migrate to earn enough to survive following a disaster.