Alternative livelihood programs in Africa: A substitute or an added portfolio?
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Alternative livelihoods are often promoted by conservation organisations or governments to reduce rural people’s reliance on or use of natural resources, or to compensate them for loss of access. The effectiveness of such interventions has, however, been limited over the years. It is no news that the greatest challenges facing humankind are the alleviation of poverty and the conservation of biological diversity. Yet, rather than being perceived as separate issues, these two challenges are often closely linked. In order to find solutions to these challenges, both Non-Governmental and Governmental Organizations have put in place diverse alternative projects. Unfortunately, such endeavours have met with little or no successful outcome. This, therefore, leads to the question of whether an alternative livelihood program is really a substitute or an added portfolio to the existing activities of rural people. This paper critically examines alternative livelihood projects on the basis that these are either the former or the latter. Data was obtained through the use of various search engines and also from direct observation. The study discovered that, while different alternative livelihood projects have been employed with various objectives across Africa, most of the reviewed projects have had little or no success owing to management issues within the NGOs or GOs, and, most especially, due to the actual condition of local people. Thus, ‘alternative livelihoods’ tend to be an added portfolio of other activities rather than a substitute for current reality.
- Department of Forestry and Environment, Faculty of Agriculture, River State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
- Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
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