Goodbye to Projects? The Institutional Impact of Sustainable Livelihoods. Approaches on Development Interventions.
The research study Goodbye to Projects? evolved from consideration of two distinct but complementary trends, the increasing interest in sustainable livelihoods approaches as a means of addressing the needs of poor people, and growing disquiet over the effectiveness of projects in delivering development. Building on an initial review of the literature the research sought to engage with the practical issues of applying a sustainable livelihoods approach, and its impact on the format of development interventions. The underpinning research questions were: How are elements of the sustainable livelihoods principles being applied in practice?; What are the problems and challenges for managing livelihoods-oriented development interventions?; and What is the future for development projects, given the increase in direct budget and sectoral assistance? The study examined how selected case study interventions operated in relation to the key ideas within SLAs through a sustainable livelihoods-grounded audit (based on sustainable livelihoods principles). This was used to identify and clarify the challenges to the design, appraisal and implementation of development interventions required by the adoption of a livelihoods approach. The research was conducted in two phases. The first phase consisted of country reviews of the use of sustainable livelihoods approaches and the format of development interventions generally in Southern Africa, Uganda and Tanzania.The second phase of the research selected ten case studies for a detailed review of the application of sustainable livelihoods approaches, and the implications of the format of the intervention used in each case. The case studies were selected to include a range of scales and formats within the health (HIV/AIDS), planning, agriculture and natural resource sectors. Following an introduction this paper considers: putting SL principles into practice; and SL-grounded analysis of the format of development interventions.