This Topic Guide is written primarily for people working with
longer-term perspectives to support what are commonly called the
‘livelihoods’ of people (i.e. the ways in which they meet their needs)
living in places where crises are a threat, are recurrent or are even
It offers perspectives on how livelihoods experts can think, position
themselves and act in fast-changing high-stakes environments. It offers
a way of thinking about crises, and highlights a need to be courageous
in asking important questions in and about crises, questioning some
assumptions and entrenched views about the role of long-term thinking in
crises (e.g. ‘it’s not time for developmental approaches yet’). It can
be challenging to call for genuine livelihoods thinking in a crisis
where emergency ways of thinking and working are dominant, even if that
crisis has been going on for decades.
The guide is structured in short numbered sections, with key references
and links for further reading at the end of each. The sections are
ordered along a line of argument, so that for a full understanding of
the issues and how they relate to each other the whole document should
be read. However, the sections can also be read separately: the table of
contents can thus be used as a menu to go directly to selected topics.
Following the introduction:
Part 2 unpacks the meaning and characteristics of shocks, crises and emergencies.
Part 3 gives an overview of what humanitarian response means, how it works, and some ways in which it differs from longer-term development assistance.
Part 4 offers some tools and examples to examine how crises affect livelihoods (and vice versa).
Part 5 introduces the ‘protection’ domain of humanitarian work.
Part 6 concludes by indicating some areas of current thinking and practice where there are opportunities for livelihoods interventions to bridge the humanitarian–development divide.
This Topic Guide has been produced by Evidence on Demand with the
assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
Levine, S.; Sharp, K. Topic Guide. Anticipating and responding to shocks: livelihoods and humanitarian responses. Evidence on Demand, UK (2015) vii + 61 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_tg.november2015.levineandsharp]