AT THE HEARTH
OF THE MATTER:
HOUSEHOLD RESOURCE
MANAGEMENT

   
 

Table of Contents


PEOPLE ARE AT THE HEART of agriculture - and people live in households, whether they are single- or multiple-person. Men and women within rural households carry out many activities and make numerous decisions related to who does what to produce food, earn cash income, market produce, prepare food and to sustain their livelihoods.

Whether developing policies to support in situ conservation of agricultural genetic resources, planning irrigation schemes, rural radio programmes or veterinary extension services, it is crucial to look at, and within, the household. Knowledge holders, seed selectors, irrigation users and livestock herders all live in households. They all make decisions about the resources around them - decisions that may not always benefit equally all of those living in the household.

RURAL WOMEN, MEN AND YOUTH manage resources such as knowledge, labour, money, livestock, crops, fish, forests, land, water, social networks, machinery, implements, information and more. But different household members will have differential access to and control over these resources. The efficient management of human and natural resources will often depend upon access to other resources such as markets, transport, credit, education and health care.

FAO/P. Cenini

HOUSEHOLD RESOURCE MANAGEMENT uses the household as an entry-point to understand and address rural development challenges. External factors such as policies and epidemics affect various types of households, socio-economic groups and household members in different ways. It is necessary to look inside the household to understand patterns of access, decision-making and power relations and their impact on livelihoods, food security and the overall well-being of household members. Looking at households and analysing intra-household dynamics helps us to gain a better understanding of the gender roles and relations among household members including resource management decisions, and common interests and conflicts of interest in resource needs and allocation.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHAT IS A "HOUSEHOLD" AND WHY NOT FOCUS ON THE "FAMILY" AS AN ANALYTICAL UNIT?

ASKING CRITICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE USE OF RESOURCES

BEYOND THE HOUSEHOLD: THE BROADER CONTEXT

WHY IS FAO INTERESTED IN HOUSEHOLD RESOURCE MANAGEMENT?

IMPROVING POLICY AND PLANNING BY INCORPORATING HRM PERSPECTIVES

FAO RESPONSES