Challenged Livelihoods in the Dry Areas: The Case of Khanasser Valley in Syria
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Aden A. Aw-Hassan, A. Mazid, Roberto La Rovere. (23/8/2003). Challenged Livelihoods in the Dry Areas: The Case of Khanasser Valley in Syria. Beirut, Lebanon.
Improving people’s livelihoods, and the sustainable management of natural resources in the dry areas are challenges facing agricultural research systems. ICARDA is addressing these challenges through integrated natural resource management (INRM) research, using an interdisciplinary approach in benchmark sites. A rural rapid appraisal (RRA) was conducted in one such site, the Khanasser Valley, in Syria, as the first step towards understanding rural people’s livelihoods, their strategies and constraints. A ‘Livelihoods Framework’ was the basic approach used. A Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) was incorporated into the RRA using key informants and group discussions. Community-perceived poverty was identified using PPA methods. Off-farm employment is an important livelihood option,involving about 86% of households. New enterprises (including sheep fattening, and olive and cumin production) have emerged as ways of diversifying income and seeking higher returns, whilst the more environmentally sustainable alley-cropping technology of growing drought-tolerant Atriplex shrubs with barley has not been readily accepted. Villages were classified into groups with dominant livelihoods using cluster analysis. Different options for improving rural livelihoods are presented. The variables used in the cluster analysis were overlaid using a GIS, in order to select representative case study villages in which the impacts of these options on the livelihoods of the people are now being investigated as the next step in this study. In addition, participatory evaluation of new technical options is part of on-going integrated natural resource management research.
- Agricultural Research Knowledge 
Aw-Hassan, Aden A.https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9236-4949