In 1973 British Economist Schumacher published the book “Small is Beautiful. A study of economics as if people mattered”. In this award winning book the focus lies on small, labor intensive, energy efficient and so called “appropriate technologies” that strengthen the capacities and power of the people, putting them at the center of economic development as opposed to focusing on the use of big, high-tech models that make people “unnecessary”.
The annual fifteen-day course Learning Livelihood Strategies from Practice is part of the Master Program Urban Governance and Peace from the University for Peace. It seeks to study and give possible solutions to overcome the economic and livelihood challenges of people living in vulnerability, resulting from climatic, physical, and social stresses in urban areas. The course exposes students to practical methods of improving the livelihoods of slum dwellers and other urban poor, amongst others via the promotion of income-generating activities, analyzing the role of rural to urban migration, as well as different housing strategies. It provides students with success stories of partnership between urban CBOs, NGOs, government and the private sector in negotiating, conceptualizing, and implementing the Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, the course gives examples of partnership between urban dwellers and urban farmers in the form of community-supported agriculture and similar partnerships that may be replicated elsewhere.
Location: Costa Rica