Once illness enters a home, a family already struggling to make ends meet can quickly fall into a vicious downward spiral. As needs for lifesaving treatment and transport to clinics increase, resources evaporate. Healthy family members may stop working to care for sick relatives. Meals become smaller or less nutritious. With little warning, economically secure households can be pushed into poverty and poor households into destitution.

LIFT II’s livelihood framework integrates economic strengthening into the continuum of care for vulnerable families, particularly people living with HIV. The project focuses on using household poverty and hunger data to create referral systems that link households to a wide array of community services appropriate for meeting their financial and nutritional needs. The services offered, such as food support, guidance on savings or assistance with entrepreneurship, make it possible to touch upon all 360 degrees of participants’ needs rather than nutrition or health alone. The result is a more holistic approach to helping those who are most in need.

Using vulnerability measurement tools, community mapping, evaluation of services and other resources, households are identified on a continuum of three broad categories of economic strengthening, livelihood and food security services: provision activities (for destitute households, providing temporary support to help them recover assets, put food on the table and meet basic needs), protection activities (for vulnerable households struggling to make ends meet, helping them strengthen household money management and retain key assets) and promotion activities (for households that are ready to assume risk and invest resources for future gains). LIFT II links households to services that meet their specific needs, setting them on a pathway that increases income, improves household resiliency and reduces vulnerability.

The services offered make it possible to touch upon all 360 degrees of participants’ needs rather than nutrition or health alone