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Annex 9

Summaries of the mini-case studies presented at the SLA Forum


The Sustainable Fisheries Livelihood Project (SFLP) is based in 25 West African countries. It is funded by the United Kingdom Government's Department for International Development (DFID) and is implemented through FAO.

The project was initiated as a sustainable livelihoods project and its design evolved as the sustainable livelihoods (SL) approach was being developed within DFID. It was built upon a long-term awareness of the problems facing fishing communities in West Africa that had evolved from a strong network of people within the region that was supported by a previous FAO project.

The SFLP has a clear entry point: that of implementing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. It does this in ways that can inform the wider application of the code to support the sustainable livelihoods of fishers globally. The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries is a globally agreed upon set of guidelines for how participants in the fisheries sector will manage the development of the sector to achieve poverty alleviation, increased food security, improved working conditions, more inclusive decision-making, reduced vulnerability and more sustainable use of resources. The code came into effect in 1995 and its implementation is supported by FAO.

The SFLP is designed in an extremely flexible way to maximize the participation of fishers in the implementation process. It is also designed both to address current poverty in the sector and to anticipate poverty through its concern for the vulnerability of the communities who depend upon the fragile natural resource base.

Key outputs of the project are:

All the stakeholders concerned will jointly decide how those outputs will be achieved.

A key part of the project is the ongoing monitoring that will feed back into the detailed design. The monitoring will focus both on the immediate effects on the structures and processes that influence the management of the sector and on the impacts on the lives of the fishers themselves. In this way the linkages between what is happening at the micro level and what is happening at the macro level will be established. While the project will take the fisheries sector as its entry point it will not focus exclusively on it. The implications of change within the sector will be considered in terms of the wider context of people's lives and in terms of the need to integrate fisheries into broader coastal and lakeshore management and development systems.

The project has been operational only since the beginning of 2000, but already lessons are being learned. In particular the following:

The SFLP will be an important project for informing the evolution of sustainable livelihood approaches within DFID, especially in the fisheries and aquatic resources sector.


Now entering its fifth and final year, DELIVERI is a project whose purpose is to reorient specific (mainly government) institutions towards the needs of resource-poor farmers. In doing so, it has put much of its energies into identifying those needs in all their complexity. This means that although it was designed and largely implemented before DFID's SL framework was conceived, it is of interest in exploring the practical implications of SLAs. This is so for two reasons:

The two main aspects of this mini-study are, therefore, the design of the project and its drive to institutionalize an appreciation of the complexities of resource-poor farmers' livelihood strategies into its target institutions, policies and systems.

The design of the project

Following a long tradition of DFID involvement in the Indonesian livestock sector, the designers of the project stepped outside the previous technical confines of DFID's historical role in the sector to re-examine the constraints on livestock development among resource-poor farmers. Their conclusions were that a complex of institutional weaknesses in the government livestock services underpinned a rigid and unresponsive supply of services that was incapable of accommodating the varied needs of poor farmers. The project was therefore designed to address those weaknesses and alter the way the Government, together with other relevant institutions, related to the poor.

The institutionalization of and appreciation of livelihood strategies

DELIVERI has brought about institutional change by piloting a range of innovative service supply models, which involved analysing the needs of poor farmers and designing methods for responding to them. These were then used to make changes higher in the institution.

Central to many of the pilots was a participatory cycle of participatory inquiry, planning, implementation and evaluation, carried out by the target communities and facilitated by government field workers. Other pilots operated higher in the institution than the field workers, but served to channel to senior managers and to policy makers the field workers' expanded understanding of the context in which poor farmers worked. The result was an institution that was more equipped and more committed to identifying and supporting farmers' livelihood strategies.

The "critical moments" address three aspects of DELIVERI:

Project identification and design. DELIVERI exploited an entry point in the livestock sector, to bring about change in an institution that has important implications for the livelihoods of the rural poor and that had been diagnosed as having a complex of weaknesses. However, this meant that no holistic overview of the livelihood strategies of the poor was entered into at the design stage, which in turn meant that any other elements crucial to supporting the very poor could not be assessed. Whether or not it could have addressed any more crucial elements, without exploiting its entry point, is also, as yet, an unanswered question.

The selection of the pilots. The project purpose was one of institutional change. The pilots that were used to make this change were subordinate to the institutional purpose in the project logic. This meant that some pilots were conducted that were at best ambiguous to the needs of the resource poor in order to contribute to the overall purpose. This was not an oversight but a strategy agreed upon by the whole project and its stakeholders. This brings us to the question: can we practically expect a project to remain true to the spirit of SLAs at all levels of project design and implementation, or merely in reference to its overall outcome?

The restrictions of a narrow sectoral focus. The participatory planning process was facilitated by field staff from the livestock sector. In examining livelihood strategies, the staff ran the risk of leading a community to uncover important development issues that were beyond their ability as livestock staff to address further. Bearing in mind that all participatory approaches can raise false hopes that further processes cannot satisfy, does this imply that it is inappropriate for staff of a narrow sector to address broad livelihood issues? Does this imply that SLAs are useful for those who have the ability to work cross-sectorally but too awkward a tool for the employees of state-run services to employ?


This mini-case study describes the gender perspective adopted in the Pakistan component of the interregional project. The time frame covers Phase I (1992-1994) and Phase II (1994-1997) of the project. Instead of being closed at the end of the project's second phase, as anticipated, the Pakistan project was continued under national execution, with an extremely minimal budget, until October 1999.

The case study attempts to depict, in an extremely brief form, that although the project staff used gender analysis, PRA techniques and even women's participation as project strategies, they nevertheless encountered implementation problems because forestry staff (international and national) and consultants cannot look at rural communities with a holistic view. The women in this project wanted to participate in upland conservation, but their first priority was to have access to drinking-water, latrines and some cash income. By giving women access to these priorities through training and the use of microcredit, by using their felt needs as entry points, the project was able to spread the conservation message. So, through development and a change in livelihoods, conservation was practised. Initially, the technicians and consultants on this project failed to see how a latrine could be related to forestry or more specifically upland conservation, and understanding came only with time and results.

The case study also highlights the fact that in remote areas where literacy is almost non-existent, it takes years for change to occur. So, if we want to promote sustainable development and attitudinal change, we have to agree to allow people the time to change. Most development projects are still financed for only three to five years, and in many places this is not long enough. Finally, the case study deals with the fact that the poorest and most vulnerable are usually the most difficult to reach in any society, and thus poverty is relative and needs to be defined within each specific situation.

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