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Title: Resilient livelihoods : adaptation, food security and wild foods in rural Burkina Faso
Author: Tincani, Lucrezia Stella
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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The dominant livelihood form in rural Burkina Faso consists of a combination of crop production, livestock keeping and agro-forestry. This research set out to understand how rural populations choose their livelihood activities in order to maintain the flexible and resilient livelihood system which has hitherto allowed them to survive in the arid and highly variable climate of the Sahel. To ensure their food security, in addition to their own agricultural production, all families also bought food, gathered wild foods and received food from friends and relatives. A quantitative analysis was undertaken of the seasonal distribution of different food sources, discussing key obstructing and enabling factors determining access to these food sources. It revealed that, in addition to climatic conditions, the seasonality of these different food sources depended on multiple labour, time and monetary constraints. Cultural norms, as well as ongoing negotiation over rights and resource access played an important role in the choice of strategies. In order to examine the livelihood as a coherent system, and identify the combination of strategies which enhanced the resilience of the whole system, a new methodology was designed and tested. This Resilient Livelihood Analysis (RLA) revealed the components which allowed livelihoods to both persist and adapt in a risk-prone environment. 'Resilience' was found to be a more appropriate conceptual framework than 'sustainability', which overemphasises the capacity of a system to 'persist', underemphasising its capacity to adapt and change. A better understanding of the trajectories of livelihood resilience allows enabling factors to be included in agricultural and development policy, thus helping to maintain livelihood resilience even in the face of increasingly interdependent and interconnected global drivers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral