Our livelihood diversification strategy (LDS) forms a critical part of the transformation phase, which starts once the Rural Dynamic Diagnostic is completed and the local team has built a strong understanding of local needs and market opportunities. The implementation of the LDS utilizes a range of tools, such as household finance templates, simple bookkeeping plans, market research tools and brochures, which vary depending on the region. The reason for this being that there is no single strategy that can be applied to solve smallholder needs across multiple regions. However, the desired outcome of the LDS is the same across our field coordinators and the aim is simple: to improve resilience among farmers and local communities through additional income streams to supplement on-farm sources. Rurality field teams work directly with farmers and the broader community to identify opportunities, supporting farmers and stakeholders to turn these into reality.
In Sabah, Malaysia for example, the local field team drive different income diversification streams with farmers and their families including a goat rearing business, a woman’s group focused on handicraft production and a swiftlet enterprise. Our field coordinators tap into local demand and co-design solutions to generate community buy-in. The participatory methods utilised in our workshops enables the community to agree on and develop diversified income streams without the financial intervention of EF. Instead, we utilise our network and local knowledge to facilitate workshops with leader farmers in the area who already have experience in a successful business line, help procure inputs, set up contracts to distribute products for a fair price and track change to provide feedback for communities to improve practices. Our field coordinators aim to create a platform for knowledge sharing and exchange of opinion within the community that can lead to new entrepreneurial projects leading to stable diversified income streams.
Watch the video below to learn about the successful implementation of Earthworm's livelihood diversification strategy in Riau, Indonesia: