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Building Livelihood Skills

A field staff member meets with a rural savings group in India to train them in livelihood skills that will help them succeed in their livelihood activities.

People at extreme levels of poverty struggle with a lack of resources and experience in investing wisely in a business. Living in relative isolation can mean the ultra poor do not know the latest practices in animal husbandry (breeding) or agriculture, which can limit their growth and earning potential. 

Trickle Up provides livelihood skills training to its participants that enable women and men to get a strong start. With the vast majority of Trickle Up participants lacking formal education, training is designed in a way that is accessible and practical. Training programs are specialized in each region, and include a combination of games, role play, small-group work, and other interactive techniques. Field-based instruction also provides an opportunity for hands-on learning and practice. Our training programs are tailored to the participants' chosen livelihood activities, such as new farming methods to improve a crop's yield, or ways to improve the quality of a product and market it to more buyers. Some participants also receive training on basic business practices such as balancing accounts and how to be competitive in the marketplace.

Djalla Diarra showing us the strips of fabric she weaves into tapestries. Trickle Up provided Djalla training to make her weaving business profitable. In India, participants who choose to raise animals start with a brief classroom lesson on basic veterinary care. This is followed by field-based training through visits with people who have raised animals successfully. In Mali, where many businesses involve small trade, the training focuses on practical business planning through visits to the market, together with bookkeeping and inventory.

While this skill-building is critical to participants’ success, they also need information about how to access safe health care services or how to become an active member in a self-managed savings group. In India, formal training is reinforced through household visits by field staff where important training messages are reconveyed. These visits also include awareness-raising on health and hygiene issues like the importance of hand-washing, mosquito net use and free health care services and clinics that families can access.

In Guatemala, participants learn how to form their own Village Savings and Loan groups, while also being instructed to remember the savings each has deposited, and the role of the leaders of the group.

In all cases, training is delivered by the staff of Trickle Up's partner agencies, who work very closely with participants through all stages of the Trickle Up program, teaching, reinforcing, and helping participants address challenges with their livelihood activity.

The impact of our training programs is participants have the required knowledge to successfully undertake their livelihood activity, are able to make informed decisions, and can use their new learning to improve their savings, and access government services, health care, or markets.

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