Baseline livelihood assessments describe how a livelihood functions during a normal year, by providing a base with which we can compare and measure any new threats to the population’s livelihood, as well as to inform recovery and development programming and policy-making.
In November 2009, ADRA conducted its first baseline livelihood assessment of Um Jawasir area: a module for dry area and migration centre located in the northern part of the Sudan semi-desert. The findings of this assessment are presented in this report, which includes a thorough analysis of livelihood systems. The report contains a wealth breakdown of local livelihoods, a description of seasonality and markets, a summary of livelihood assets and various sectors, an analysis of household income and expenditure, an examination of risk and vulnerability factors, and recommendations for future interventions.
The main goal of the assessment is to identify and document Um Jawasir’s population livelihood system as a model for dry area. Livelihood assets and livelihood strategies have been analysed using participatory rural appraisal and Baseline Livelihoods Analysis framework, which embraces both a Sustainable Livelihoods and Vulnerability assessment.
The analysis also explores the linkages of the livelihoods of inhabitants in areas covered by ADRA’s intervention to the surrounding rural livelihoods not included in the project’s activities. It identifies potential risk factors that influence the population’s vulnerability to acute and long-term food insecurities.
In this section we are trying to make a link between impacts of hazards on lives and livelihoods, and peoples vulnerability and capacity, so that we can address vulnerabilities and enhance capacities. Hazards tend to have multiple impacts, and the magnitude of the impact is related to the specific vulnerability of a locality, a household or an individual and their capacity. First we have identified hazards, profiled them and ranked them. The vulnerability, and conversely the capacity, of an individual, a household or a locality are to be found in the broad context of all their assets as identified in the livelihoods framework. This framework looks at a person’s wellbeing in terms of the totality of their assets – human, physical, social, political.
Dryland population livelihood is very much linked to the climate due to the population’s great reliance on the natural resources to make their living. The amount of annual precipitation and the desert creep represent the main threats affecting the livelihood of the population in the dry lands.
Animals emerged as the main source of income for the poor in the dry areas, which suit the nomadic nature of the population and the low cost of raising animals. Farming represents the main income source for about 70% of the middle wealth group in addition to labour as a second income source besides small trade. Some of the middle group members also get remittances from their relatives working abroad, revealing an apparent advantage over the poor group in terms of diversity of income sources. The delay in securing agricultural inputs is mainly due to lack of finance and complete reliance on the limited outside support availed by the government and farmers' cooperative. The area lacks financial services institutions, except for the farmers cooperative, which is at a stage of establishment and has insufficient finance to meet population demand. General education and access to school is limited.
Regarding the environment, the community value the trees and see their importance for their livelihoods and provision of fuel wood. Thus they tend to protect the trees.
Women have a significant role in securing poor family livelihood through making of wool and straw products. The population presented strong social and cultural solidarity. Different shapes of group cohesion dominate the poor livelihoods, and solidarity is expressed in collective work during harvest, construction and social ceremonies.
Information provided in this assessment will help establish a better system for monitoring food security in the area, and will improve future planning and programming.