The OAIC Livelihoods program seeks to help member churches understand the key causes of poverty at personal, community, national and continental levels with the aim of advancing policy and programmatic actions that best respond to the realities of AIC communities. By promoting policies that assist subsistence farmers to improve their production, as well as increase public investment to aid agricultural production at sustenance level, the OAIC works to strengthen the ability of local communities to produce, access and afford food in sufficient quantities and quality.
The program also communicates with others to advocate for African governments to address food policies that cause the high prices of African food and the long-standing unjust international trade structures that affect African farmers and consumers alike. Ongoing changes, such as the growing urban population and climate change, pose challenges that work to cause unprecedented stress on African communities. In order to respond these issues, OAIC Livelihoods seeks to enhance the capacities of member churches and local communities to respond to critical livelihood and wellbeing challenges through social enterprise, community investing and micro-enterprise.
What We Do
The OAIC work on Livelihoods began in 1990 as the Department for Rural Development by Extension (RDE). The development extension was affected through training of trainers in small scale practical skills that were easily adopted by the AIC members. In 1995, the focus shifted in favor of empowering AICs and their local communities through community based organizations to take initiative for development themselves. Consequently, RDE was changed to Programme for Participatory Development (PPD). This focus on participatory development remains a hallmark of the Livelihoods program to date.
With the onset of the HIV and AIDs pandemic, the concept and necessity for a comprehensive Livelihoods approach to development and wellbeing became apparent. Initially, OAIC work on HIV and AIDS was carried through the PPD. With the demands and urgency of the HIV and AIDS efforts, this work branched into a distinct program. It was later recognized that improving the capabilities and livelihood opportunities for individuals and communities was critical to their response to HIV and AIDS. HIV and AIDs, as well as the PPD, were therefore integrated as a composite approach to both community development and the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Later reflection and innovation on the spiritual and social capital of the AICs has led to further innovation so the approaches to wellbeing and community responses to negative events such as HIV and AIDs are enriched and take on the resources found in the faith and social capital of African Communities. These developments and approach have crystallized into our current program, titled OAIC Livelihoods.
Strategy and Initiatives
With the launching of OAIC’s five-year program, Visions for a Better World, the Livelihoods program began to focus not only on community level actions that are needed to secure livelihoods and wellbeing,but also on the macro factors driving continued erosion and denial of livelihood capabilities. Accordingly,the program identifies the resolution of economic mismanagement, weak policy formulation, and historical denial and failure by states to confront inequality and social vulnerability as key to the realization of wellbeing.
The program also identifies the resolution of imbalances in trade and climate change as critical to the realization of wellbeing. In addition to initiating local and community actions to sustain livelihoods, the new approach also targets actions at national, regional and international levels that are needed to bring about the much needed resolution. The new approach also focuses on helping AICs to use their spiritual and social capital as key resources for negotiating and enabling entry into the formal economy, and taking advantage of emerging economic opportunities and realities.
OAIC’s Livelihood Program aims to:
- Mobilize member churches and their communities to understand and respond to issues of poverty, inequalities and other factors that affect their livelihoods.
- Strengthen the ability of rural and urban populations to enhance their livelihoods through social entrepreneurship, community investing and micro-enterprise.
- Facilitate member churches to confront apathy and theologies that inculcate poverty and inequalities
- Enhance local communities’ stewardship of natural resources.
- Enable farmers’ groups and individual farmers to acquire appropriate agricultural technology.
- Support initiatives of poor urban households to improve their quality of life.
- Advocate for policies that advance the rights of poor people to food security