Understanding Social Reality(ies) of Rural Livelihoods: Insights from a Comprehensive Study in Two Villages in Mozambique

  • Claudia Levy


In this chapter, the notion of livelihood , rather than that of employment, seems to better encompass the complex reality of the socio-economic activities of smallholder farmers. A wide range of resources intertwines in composing rural livelihoods. In this chapter I explain how my research methodology emerged in two remote rural villages of Mozambique, with the aim of comprehending how major resource groups (water, health, collective action, customary practices, pasture, forest, farm, livestock) are accessed and given meaning. Through tools for comparative retrospective reflection, the research methodology enabled some aspects of change in the livelihood asset base to be identified by farmers. These aspects of change could also be compared among the two communities. Information was triangulated in terms of tools and sources of data collection. Results reveal a pathway of resource depletion which goes beyond the effects of climate change. The macro context and the role of institutions were incorporated into the analysis through the perspective of the farmers. This study aims to contribute to researchers and development agents’ toolbox for a place-based and comprehensive analysis of livelihoods. Meaningful action recognizes that the challenges faced by farmers in a complex and dynamic environment have both sociological and ecological roots and prioritize actor-oriented approaches. The role of researchers and development agents in facilitating reflection can have a profound emancipatory effect.


Rural livelihood Actor-oriented(Comprehensive) Livelihood Appraisal 


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Levy
    • 1
  1. 1.ICDD – International Center for Development and Decent WorkBerlinGermany

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