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Unlocking livestock development potential through science, influence and capacitydevelopment ILRI APM, Addis Ababa, 15-17 ...
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SLATE: A tool for sustainable livelihoods asset evaluation


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Poster prepared by Peter Thorne and Amare Haileslassie for the ILRI APM 2013, Addis Ababa, 15-17 May 2013

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SLATE: A tool for sustainable livelihoods asset evaluation

  1. 1. Unlocking livestock development potential through science, influence and capacitydevelopment ILRI APM, Addis Ababa, 15-17 May 2013Developing capacitySLATE: A tool for sustainable livelihoods asset evaluationThis document is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Licence May 2013Some strategic lessons on:1. Farmers’ understanding of livelihoods issues is clearer ifthey use their own experiences as a starting point.2. Benchmarking shows that capacity already exists withincommunities and that there are researchable issues aroundsupporting peer-to-peer capacity development.3. ILRI needs to understand that “Science” and “Research” arenot synonyms and that there is more than one validresearch paradigm. We are not ILSI; yet!Identifying principal components in the SLATE dataset and then clusteringthese allows us to generate a livelihoods-based typology for the targetcommunity. In this example, a four point typology emerged clearly fromthe analysis. This kind of typology is very important for a farming systemsresearch project like Africa RISING as it allows us to target our evaluationsof interventions on clearly defined and relatively homogeneous groups.There are many approaches to identifying household typologies withincommunities (and beyond) and Africa RISING will be exploring thepotential for using some of these in combination. An advantage of thelivelihoods-based approach described here is that the indicators usedcome from the communities themselves and are, therefore, more likely toreflect real community concerns.Peter Thorne and Amare HaileslassieDelivering scienceSLATE data can be used for benchmarking by comparing thecharacteristics of the groups with the strongest and weakestoverall asset scores. In this example, it is clear that communityleaders – who are generally drawn from the top 25 per cent –have a higher opinion of themselves than do their peers!In most cases, endowment scores for individual assetindicators follow the general pattern of overall assetendowments with the highest scores found amongst the top25 per cent. In the example, an exception is the case of Iddermembership. Idder is an important community insuranceinstitution that is often the only avenue open to less wellendowed households for coping with unanticipated expensessuch as those associated with weddings and funerals.1. “Science” for development is about context. Tools like SLATEhelp to clarify context and underpin effective targeting.2. Viewed from the farmer’s perspective, no problem is aboutscience in one dimension.3. Farmers are individuals. Science needs to identify groupswhose members are sufficiently similar to be experiencingcommon problems that might be soluble by science.The SLATE (Sustainable Livelihoods AsseT Evaluation) software toolhas been developed by ILRI researchers working on the AfricaRISING project in Ethiopia to:• characterize the diverse, capital assets (financial, human,natural, physical, and social) that affect the livelihoods ofhouseholds within a target community;• identify groups of households with similar patterns of livelihoodasset endowment. This will help the project’s on-farm researchto target common problems and common solutions withinthose groups.A SLATE analysis starts with the identification of a set ofcommunity-specific, livelihoods asset indicators by a cohort of keyinformants. Interviews are then conducted to evaluate theseindividual indicators across a representative sample ofhouseholders in order to generate the SLATE dataset.What is SLATE?Benchmarking with SLATEHousehold typologies with SLATEClustercharacteristics