Income and employment

Economic recovery - livelihoods, jobs and income

Recovery from disaster is a complex process. People often need to rebuild their incomes and livelihoods, as well as their homes and communities. Recovery efforts must include people’s productive assets and the local enterprises, markets and business services on which they rely. This is the economic infrastructure that enables people to earn a living and prosper when emergency relief ends.

The principle of ‘building back better’  applies just as forcefully to economic recovery as to other more tangible forms of reconstruction.  For example, it is vital to have careful assessments of markets, and promote local ownership of economic recovery processes.

When does economic recovery begin?

Work on economic recovery can begin at almost any stage of a disaster:

  • In disaster preparedness : better knowledge about market structures and livelihood strategies can be a vital for planning and famine early warning systems.
  • In the emergency / relief phase : the design of relief activities (emergency responses)  provides an important opportunity to bolster local markets and jobs.
  • After the crisis phase is over : it is vital that the approaches which humanitarian agencies adopt to support livelihoods, create jobs and restore incomes, are consistent with best practices in economic development.

Practical Action’s work to encourage building back better in the economic sphere covers such crucial issues as:

  • minimum standards in humanitarian responses to economic recovery
  • market analysis tools for emergency situations
  • participatory approaches to making markets work for the poor
  • preventing resurgence of conflict
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