My first Red Cross assignment overseas was in Vietnam in 1971 and apart from providing much needed health services, our team's main focus was on livelihoods. We worked with tribal hill people who had been displaced by the war, and our role was to get them land, help them build houses, and restore livelihoods.
I enjoyed spending much of my twenties working foe the New Zealand Red Cross on livelihood type work in Asia and Africa.
In the 1990's whilst working in Bangladesh, revolving loans/micro finance was a key part of our community-based disaster preparedness programmes and broke indebted people out of hands of ruthless loan sharks. My current work in Sri Lanka for Red Cross for people affected by conflict, tsunami and floods, is predominentlt housing and livelihoods, so I was so pleased to see this clip the other day on TED, by Jessica Jackley called poverty, money -- and love. For all of us working in the humanitarian sector, I recommend you view this.
Villagers from Krishnapuran and Vivekanandanagar in Kilinochci northern Sri Lanka, attend a 2 day livelihood training conducted by the Sri Lanka Red Cross. Photo: Bob McKerrow