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Economic Strengthening for the Very Poor (ES4VP)

The LIFT (Livelihoods and Food Security Technical Assistance) Project

The LIFT Project was initiated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Office of HIV/AIDS (OHA) to provide technical assistance and strategic support to U.S. government agencies, their implementing partners, and other public, private, and civil society partners to improve the food and livelihood security of vulnerable households, with a particular focus on people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC), and their caregivers. LIFT’s ultimate goal is to build the continuum of care for people living with HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable households by improving their livelihoods and economic circumstances. LIFT aims to improve vulnerable households’ ability to access food through market-led sustainable livelihoods strengthening interventions. 


LIFT’s ES4VP approach is systemic, multi-sectoral and grounded in a comprehensive Livelihoods and Food Security Conceptual Framework.   This framework is based on a set of seven key economic strengthening principles and relationships and is closely linked to the Economic Strengthening Pathway developed by PEPFAR.  Household needs and capabilities such as asset ownership, consumption and income generation, and the  corresponding strategies to address them are grouped in three different categories: Provision, Protection and Promotion (PPP). Appropriate ES interventions vary by households and are sequenced to encourage upward movement along the economic strengthening pathway.

Each intervention along the pathway is designed to support the upward evolution towards increased economic security and to prevent households and individuals from sliding down into increased poverty and vulnerabilityEconomic strengthening pathways are not always linear, however, and promotion is not necessarily a goal for all households.  Provision, protection and promotion should be seen as a continuum of broad intervention categories rather than as a set of isolated strategies without overlap. The appropriate intervention entry point depends on where the household is located on this pathway, while the household’s rate of progression along the pathway depends on its asset endowment and ability to assume risk.

 LIFT PROCESS to develop system interventions:

The approach includes four steps: 

1) An organizational network analysis, which identifies key service providers in an area and maps their existing collaborations (this can serve as a baseline for network activity); followed by

2) A test of diagnostic tools which rapidly appraise household vulnerability and help target clients to the most appropriate locally available programs (LIFT II uses a suite of tools created by FANTA and Grameen Foundation that can be rolled out immediately, with very low cost, and high reliability); and

3) The creation of a referral database that tracks clients’ receipt of services, receipt of referrals to other services, and use of those services.  This referral database is managed by local partners, with support from LIFT II, as it will ultimately be transferred to them; and finally

4) Technical capacity building to community services that provide ES/L/FS support as a component of a continuum of care.