Sustainable Livelihoods

The Introduction to Sustainable Livelihoods Online Course explores a diversity of sustainable livelihood initiatives, the enabling conditions for successful community enterprises, and best practices for fostering robust partnerships with communities. Three interactive lessons highlight examples that connect course concepts with advice on practical actions to take when implementing a sustainable livelihood initiative. This course was developed in collaboration with TNC’s Indigenous Peoples & Local Communities Team and the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. 


Lesson 1: Introduction to Sustainable Livelihoods – is designed to help you understand what sustainable livelihoods are, including key concepts and the different types of sustainable livelihood initiatives. This lesson includes a variety of case studies to highlight the breadth of sustainable livelihood initiatives being enacted around the world and draws examples from how each of these initiatives have been tailored to unique contexts and communities. (45 minutes) 

Lesson 2: Ingredients for Success for Sustainable Community Enterprises focuses on one of the three types of sustainable livelihood initiatives which were described in Lesson 1 of this course: community enterprises. Lesson 2 highlights the ingredients necessary for sustainable community enterprises to succeed. These ingredients are grouped into two main categories: four enabling conditions (capacity building, technical assistance, access to markets, and access to capital), and three cross-cutting considerations (promoting rights and equity, safeguarding against unintended consequences, and weaving multi-sector partnerships). (45 minutes) 

Lesson 3: Laying the Groundwork for a Sustainable Livelihood Initiative – guides conservation practitioners through the key elements of preliminary planning for a sustainable livelihood strategy and best practices for initiating relationships with local communities and partners. This lesson describes why it is essential to be aligned with a community’s vision and understand the existing skills within that community, as well as how to identify and consider partners to work along with to gather other required support throughout the process. This preliminary work, including the evaluation of the enabling environment necessary to foster a successful, co-created sustainable livelihood strategy, is vital to truly partnering with a local community. (45 minutes)

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Course Audience

Conservation managers and practitioners


2.5 hours
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