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Socio-economics in the Basin: Key Issues for Human Development:

Sustainable Livelihoods


The term Livelihood is used to identify a fundamental relationship between the people and the biophysical resources of the Orange-Senqu River basin. Livelihood is defined as a primary activity that individuals engage in to obtain the income, food, water, shelter, clothing and other materials needed to satisfy and sustain the well-being of families and other members of a social group.

Livelihoods include any choice for making a living, carried out independently or as part of a group effort where there is interdependence between the group members. Specific livelihoods are often embedded in particular cultural traditions and are based on specialised skills, technology and knowledge that are passed down from generation to generation. Livelihoods are closely associated with gender, age and the expectations of civil society.

Sustainable Livelihoods

In the face of decades of attempts to promote development, developing countries are turning to a new model to reduce and alleviate poverty without compromising the natural assets of the country. These new methods are collectively termedSustainable Livelihoods. A livelihood includes the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks while maintaining or enhancing its capabilities and assets and not undermining the natural resource base.

The Orange-Senqu River basin provides numerous natural resources and sustainable livelihoods to people living in the basinArtisanal fishingSubsistence FarmingEco-tourism and collecting food and medicine from the wilds within the basin are important sources of income to the rural people of the basin especially. These livelihoods allow people to work close to their homes and to build a sense of stewardship for the basin.

The following pages explain different kinds of sustainable livelihoods in the Orange-Senqu River basin:

Subsistence Karakul goat farming in Namibia.
Source:DRFN 2004
( click to enlarge )



Explore the sub-basins of the Orange-Senqu River

Tour video scenes along the Orange-Senqu River related to People and the River

View a historical timeline of Orange-Senqu countries, including water agreements & infrastructure construction

Journey along the Orange-Senqu River through images and interviews

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