Poverty Reduction | Livelihoods

Our Poverty Reduction and Livelihoods programs aim to increase people’s control of their natural resources, build reliable and fair access to food, with a focus on small-scale farmers, and empower the extreme poor through increasing the skills, knowledge and resources they need.

How can we help communities lift themselves out of extreme poverty?

It begins with listening. We help communities identify their most urgent needs, as well as the long-term factors that stand in their way. Together we identify the strengths and knowledge that already exist in the communities and seek to build on those to break down barriers. Most often our work is with subsistence farmers in some of the hardest-to-reach rural areas, but we also work in urban slum communities, tailoring approaches that are appropriate, practical, and achievable in each setting.

As with all of our programs, Concern’s poverty reduction and livelihoods work seeks to get at the root causes of poverty and global inequality. These have always included the lack of control over natural resources, and vulnerability to small and large-scale natural disasters. In recent years, as climate extremes exacerbate these problems, our focus turns more and more toward emphasizing management and ownership of natural resources while building resilience against the predictable — and unpredictable — shocks that trigger a cycle of setbacks that drive people deeper into poverty.

Zafar serves food from the food cart he was given by Concern in Nari Moitree, Paltan, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Zafar serves food from his food cart in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which he bought with assistance from  Concern. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos Pictures

The world is urbanizing at an alarming rate, as people flock to cities and large in a desperate attempt to earn income. For many, it’s simply a route to a different type of poverty. Homelessness is on the rise and urban slums are growing. We work in those slums — in places like Haiti and Bangladesh — helping people to find new ways of generating incomes and support their families.

Find out more about our work

How We Do It


Advanced use of information, communications, and agricultural technology can propel economies forward, from the grassroots up.

Women & Children

Empowering women farmers is the key to lasting growth in the developing world. Growth also requires that children receive a quality education so they may enter the labor force with greater skills and productivity.

Community Empowerment

Lasting growth depends on the empowerment of communities through education, skill-building, control of natural resources, access, and the resources necessary for effective interaction with civil society and their governments.