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Livelihood Systems and Poverty Analysis

Rural livelihood systems are complex and the allocation of resources at the farm and household level is influenced by a multiplicity of factors. Through the use of quantitative, qualitative and mixed method designs, research is being undertaken  to better understand rural livelihood systems in dry areas, and how household decisions are influenced by market forces, government policies, rural infrastructure, household assets (human, physical, financial and social), natural resource endowments, and competing interests for farm and off-farm income. 

Specific attention is also paid to disaggregating the contextually constructed roles for men, women, youth and children in agricultural production and marketing, how these roles affect joint (household) production and consumption decisions, and what impact these roles have upon wellbeing within the household.  In conjunction with a process for participatory learning, aimed at identifying pathways for addressing challenges, constraints and opportunities for improving livelihoods, research in this area is able to inform national policy, so that the interests and priorities of rural societies are better served. 

Contacts for Livelihood systems and poverty analysis:

Aden Aw-Hassan ( has a Masters from Utah State University, USA, and a PhD from Oklahoma State University, USA, both in agricultural economics. His research interests include livelihood and poverty analysis, research impacts, and agricultural policy analysis.  Aden is Director of the Social, Economic and Policy Research Program.

Shinan N. Kassam ( obtained his PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies, after completing earlier degrees, in Agricultural Economics from The University of British Columbia, Canada.  His research interest lies in the area of social development, and particularly in terms of how civil society can enhance innovation and influence national policy in order to improve livelihoods and quality of life for rural communities.