Sustainable rural livelihoods in Mali
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This report describes research on Sustainable Rural Livelihoods which was carried out in two villages in Mali, selected to represent the rain fed cereal and cotton producing regions. The research was carried out using an analytic framework which places an emphasis on the institutional arrangements through which people gain differentiated access to the bundle of capitals (natural, physical, human, economic and social) necessary to construct a livelihood. Livelihoods are seen to be composed of three strategies: agriculture, livelihood diversification and migration. The results highlight the importance of migration and livelihood diversification in allowing households to pursue particular paths of agricultural intensification, and show that access to diversification activities is differentiated by age, gender and household structure. Local perceptions of sustainability were used to rank households as more and less sustainable. The research shows how different types of household use the ranges of capitals available to them to construct a livelihood, and what barriers exist for the less well off. These village level findings are located within a picture of changing rural development policy at the national level.