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Abstract

In many rural areas, livestock are a critical asset for poor households, acting as a bank account, insurance policy and a source of income. Research methods leading to a better understanding of the role of livestock in household poverty dynamics are scarce, however, and are needed for better formulation of targeted pro-poor policies and interventions in regions where livestock are a key element of rural livelihood strategies. We utilized multiple methods, including Stages of Progress and household surveys, giving us a combination of qualitative and quantitative results. We examined how, over the last 10 and 25 years, households have moved into and out of poverty in 40 rural communities in two different highland regions of Peru, and explored in-depth the reasons for those movements. We also examined the role played in these movements by different livestock assets and strategies. We found significant numbers of households escaping poverty at the same time many are falling into poverty in both regions, and the reasons for escape differ from the reasons for decline. Livestock played a primary role in household poverty escapes in one of the study regions but not the other. Livestock strategies that have helped many households escape poverty also differ by region. Thus regionally-differentiated livestock-related poverty reduction efforts are needed. This combination of methods enables us to ascertain these critical cross-regional differences and can contribute to better targeted livestock-related research and development strategies and policies, not only in Peru, but in other regions where similar livelihood strategies are being pursued.

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