Core Principles of the RLS Approach

The RLS approach to livelihood follows the same core principles as those established by DFID. In practical terms, the RLS framework, represented as a nine-square mandala, advocates looking first through a multi-focal looking glass in order to gain a holistic perspective. It is therefore a heuristic tool, a framework to discover a livelihood system's properties.
Any one of the nine squares can be used as an entry point for analysis. The purpose of the assessment determines whether it is useful to start, for instance, with elements from the "base" or from the "orientations" of a livelihood system.

To combine the two approaches, SDC initially adapted the DIFD approach to livelihoods as you can see in the figure in the right-hand column:

What are the differences between the DFID sustainable livelihood framework and the adapted SDC framework?


Blending elements of the adapted DIFD livelihood approach with RLS (see the figure in the right-hand column) combines the strength of the two frameworks. The resulting new framework favours not only a comprehensive analysis of the context of local livelihoods, but also pays attention to people's decision making as regards their own livelihood strategies. This focus is essential since successful poverty reduction ultimately means that people are empowered to implement improved livelihoods strategies that lead to more sustainable outcomes.

Take a look at the figure in the right-hand column showing the main strength of the DFID approach and the added value of blending the DFID livelihood approach with RLS:

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