Casabet (4)Fast Facts

  1. There are 71 million unemployed youth globally and 156 million young workers living in poverty[1]
  2. For every dollar earnt by men, women earn between 70-90 cents[2]
  3. 38% of the global population have no access to formal banking[3]
  4. Only 27% of the global adult population have access to formal savings[4]
  5. An estimated 150 million children worldwide are engaged in child labour[5]

Why are livelihoods important?

A livelihood is the means through which a person makes a living, and encompasses the capabilities, assets and activities required to earn an income. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every person has the right to work, the right to favourable working conditions and the right to protection against unemployment. The right to work is seen as an enabling right which allows an individual to improve their own well-being and that of their families. A sustainable, fair and meaningful livelihood can therefore contribute greatly to reducing household poverty, promoting financial independence, providing opportunities for education, improving health outcomes and promoting equitable growth within communities.

Significant efforts have been made in recent years to improve the livelihoods opportunities available to the world’s poor. However there are still many barriers which prevent individuals accessing safe and fair livelihoods, particularly for women. Women are more likely to experience unemployment or be engaged in unpaid work, while being paid less than men for comparable work.[6] For women in rural areas, employment prospects are particularly limited. Family gender roles reduce women’s participation in labour markets, limiting them to lower paid and more vulnerable employment.Young people are also disproportionately affected as the rate of youth unemployment is up to twice as high as the adult rate in most regions of the world.[7]

The absence of livelihood opportunities within the formal economies of developing countries can also lead to an overreliance on informal or self-employment which comes with a range of risks. People working in the informal sector tend to be vulnerable to exploitation, have limited legal or political protection and may lack access to personal banking and credit.[8] The engagement of people within formal employment is therefore vital to improve access to financial services, provide legal and political protection thereby upholding human rights at work, while contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic growth.[1]

What MMI is doing to help improve livelihood opportunities?

Women’s Livelihoods Project-  Peru

Ethica Accessories

Community work (Non-Development)– Peru


[1] ‘Youth Employment’ (2016) International Labour Organisation, accessed–en/index.htm
[2] ‘The World’s Women 2015: Work’ (2015), UN Statistics,
[3] ‘Financial Inclusion Data’ (2014) The World Bank, accessed
[4] The World Bank, 2014
[5] ‘Sustainable Development Goal 8’ (2016) Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, accessed at
[6] UN Statistics, 2015
[7] Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, 2016
[8] ‘Women and the Informal Economy’ (2011) AusAID Office of Development Effectiveness
[9] ‘Sustainable Development Goal 8’ (2016) Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, accessed at