Livelihoods Assessment Toolkit

Date of Design: 
Food and Agriculture Organization & the International Labor Organization
Contact Institution: 
Pathway Component: 
Agricultural Income, Value Chains & Market Systems, Food Access, Food Expenditure, Food Prices, Food Production, Women’s Empowerment


Brief Description: The Livelihood Assessment Toolkit (LAT) was developed to improve understanding of the impact of disasters on livelihoods The LAT is aimed at sudden-onset natural disasters and is underpinned conceptually by the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework.

Uses: Each of the three parts of the LAT serves different but related functions in the assessment process: 

Livelihood Baseline (LB): Provides a picture of ‘normal’ livelihood patterns in areas at risk for natural hazards with an indication of likely impact of hazards, key response priorities, and institutions likely to be involved in recovery. It gives a ‘head start’ for post-disaster assessments and provides the pre-disaster context for the ILIA and DLA. 

Initial Livelihood Impact Appraisal (ILIA): Initial assessment of impact of disaster on livelihoods at local level to be integrated into multi-sectoral quick impact assessments and Flash Appeal proposals. 

Detailed Livelihood Assessment (DLA): Assessment of impact of a disaster on livelihoods and opportunities, capacities, and the need for recovery at household, community, and local economy levels. Includes the conversion of assessment results into response options containing strategy outlines, program profiles, and concrete projects. 

Tool Components: The LAT consists of three main technical elements:

  1. Livelihood Baseline Assessment 
  2. Initial Livelihood Impact Appraisal  
  3. Detailed Livelihood Assessment


Number of Staff Required: This is not specified and will depend on context. However, LB teams should include at least one statistician who is familiar with national census data and socio-economic surveys, and should also include persons who are familiar with key Participatory Rapid Assessment (PRA) techniques. It is also suggested that the ILIA fieldwork team consist of three or four trained persons. 

Time: The expected duration for compiling a livelihoods baseline is heavily dependent on size and complexity of hazard-prone areas. In Pakistan, district-level baselines take two to three weeks each. An ILIA usually requires 1-7 days, while a DLA usually requires 30 days.  

Cost of Assessment: It is impossible to give a definitive figure or range for the costs of these tools, as so much depends on circumstances. The toolkit provides an example budget from the 4[J1] -week Pakistan DLA, which cost $54,000. 

Training: These ILIA guidelines are aimed at people who would normally be expected to participate in post-disaster needs assessments; some will be able to use the guidelines without training, while others will need training. The DLA guidelines are aimed at experienced assessment team leaders who will be able to use and adapt the guidelines with minimal training. Other team members will require training. 

Geographic Targeting: The geography of a LB should be defined by livelihood zones in combination with hazard mapping. On the other hand, ILIA and DLA geographic targeting will be defined by the actual impact of the disaster. 

Type of Data Collection: A variety of qualitative and quantitative data is required to conduct a LB, ILIA, and DLA. This includes information related to agro-ecological zones, poverty and wage rates, agriculture, employment, health status, assets, arable land, watersheds, seasonal calendars, and disaster impact on all of these factors. 

Degree of Technical Difficulty: The three tools are quite complex; leading them requires technical expertise. 

Complements other Resources: Information collected through these processes could feed into other assessments, and/or be used for project design.

This summary is part of a larger resource called the Context Assessment Tool Locator.