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.
Living in the hills of Congo
Masisi is spectacularly beautiful — with towering hills and lush tropical vegetation. But spectacular isn’t always a good thing, especially if you have to make a living in it.
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 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 towns 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 supporting their families.
Living in the slums of Haiti
The people of Cité Soleil face many disadvantages, but they are resilient and eager to grab any opportunity to improve their situation.