LEGS aims to improve the quality and livelihoods impact of livestock-related projects in humanitarian situations.


What is the LEGS approach?

The LEGS Approach focuses on supporting the livelihoods of livestock keepers before, during and following a crisis. It is based on three objectives affecting livelihoods in crisis-affected communities:

  • Objective 1: to provide immediate benefits using existing livestock resources
  • Objective 2: to protect key livestock assets
  • Objective 3: to rebuild key livestock assets

LEGS guides practitioners through four key stages of response planning and implementation:

  • Stage 1: initial assessment
  • Stage 2: response identification
  • Stage 3: analysis of technical interventions and options
  • Stage 4: monitoring and evaluation

There are participatory tools to help the user to work through each stage, including the Participatory Response Identification Matrix (PRIM), which is used to facilitate discussion and planning among stakeholders—including representatives from affected communities—to determine the most appropriate, timely and feasible options to support livestock keepers in any particular crisis.

LEGS discusses key issues, including cross-cutting themes such as gender and protection, for each possible technical intervention. LEGS also provides a review of the advantages and disadvantages of various sub-options, and a decision tree to highlight key questions that need to be addressed. These are followed by specific standards, key actions and guidance notes for each intervention and option.

Does LEGS intervene in emergencies?

LEGS is not operational and hence does not intervene directly in emergencies. We are able to connect interested people and agencies with LEGS Trainers in a particular country and share information on the LEGS Approach.

What is LEGS’ relationship with other humanitarian standards such as Sphere?

LEGS is a member of the Humanitarian Standards Partnership (HSP) alongside Sphere and other humanitarian standards initiatives. The aim of the partnership is to improve the application of humanitarian standards through increased coherence and effectiveness of outreach, whilst each maintaining the independence of each standards initiative. The current partners are:

How can I organise a LEGS Training?

Interested organisations can commission a LEGS Core Training Course: In-person (formerly called the “3-Day LEGS Training Course”) from any of the LEGS Trainers in their country or region.

Contact details for LEGS Trainers can be obtained from the LEGS Finance and Admin Manager. LEGS Trainers who have successfully carried out two LEGS Training Courses after graduating from a TOT become “Accredited Trainers” and are listed on the Accredited In-person Trainers page.

In 2021, the LEGS Core Training was developed into an online learning course, LEGS Core Training Courses: Online, which is carried out by Accredited Online Trainers. For more information, contact the LEGS Finance and Admin Manager.

How is LEGS funded?

LEGS has received funding and in-kind support* from the following organisations:

  • African Union*
  • Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, USAID
  • Department for International Development (UK)
  • Donkey Sanctuary
  • European Union – DG Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
  • European Union – Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)
  • Feinstein International Center, Tufts University*
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Improved Global Governance for Hunger Reduction Programme
  • Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute*
  • International Committee of the Red Cross*
  • Oxfam GB
  • Projet de Developpment de l’Elévage (PRODEL) Cameroon
  • Sphere India*
  • The Brooke
  • Trócaire
  • Vetwork UK
  • VSF-Belgium*
  • World Animal Protection (formerly WSPA)

Does LEGS provide funding?

No, LEGS does not have any funds to disperse.

Where is LEGS based?

The LEGS Secretariat is based in the UK, with team members all over the world.

What does LEGS have to say about:


See the discussion paper: LEGS and Resilience: Linking Livestock, Livelihoods and Drought Management in the Horn of Africa.

…animal welfare?

LEGS is based on humanitarian principles and law, hence its starting point is the welfare of people, rather than the welfare of animals. However, good animal welfare is important for livelihoods, so many of the activities recommended by LEGS have animal welfare benefits. Each of the technical chapters of the LEGS Handbook outlines how interventions relate to the Five Domains, commonly used as a framework for assessing animal welfare:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Environment
  3. Health
  4. Behaviour
  5. Mental State

See also: the LEGS Briefing Paper on Animal Welfare.

…cash transfers?

With the increasing use of cash transfers in humanitarian programmes, the use of cash-based responses constitutes an option for achieving the LEGS objectives. Table 3.5 in chapter 3 of the LEGS Handbook summarises the most common types of cash transfer, and Table 3.6 provides examples of how they can be used. Further information is given in each technical chapter. Detailed guides on market assessment and cash response mechanisms are listed in the References section of Chapter 3.

See also: The Use of Cash Transfers in Livestock Emergencies and their incorporation into LEGS.


“Gender and social equity” is one of the four cross-cutting themes presented in Chapter 2 of the LEGS Handbook. The chapter highlights the importance of understanding roles, rights and responsibilities as well as vulnerability and equity, and the differential impact of crises on different groups of people; also, making sure information collected is disaggregated by gender. Further guidance is provided in the specific technical chapters.

…climate change?

“Environment and climate” is one of the four cross-cutting themes presented in Chapter 2 of the LEGS Handbook. The chapter recognises current climate trends and their differential impact in different parts of the world, and highlights the importance for agencies involved in disaster risk reduction among livestock keepers, to keep abreast of developments and future trends in this area. Further guidance is provided in the specific technical chapters.

…companion animals in disasters?

While companion animals are not explicitly mentioned in the LEGS Handbook, it is recognised that these animals provide important social benefits for their owners. Many of the LEGS Standards and Guidance Notes apply to companion animals, and specific guidance is available from the Animal Welfare Information Center at the United States Department of Agriculture (AWIC).

See also World Animal Protection.  

Does LEGS apply to crises in high-income countries?

In general, low-income countries are at greater risk of humanitarian crises and disasters where substantial numbers of people are affected. Similarly, the term “humanitarian disaster” is partly defined by the capacity of local people and governments to respond. Such capacity is more likely to be insufficient in low-income countries, which tend not to have the emergency planning and response capabilities, or national insurance schemes for disasters.

Furthermore, high-income countries’ priorities for emergency response may differ from those of livestock keepers in low-income countries. For example, issues relating to insurance or companion animals may be prioritised in high-income countries, and LEGS does not focus on these issues.

However, the key principles of the LEGS Approach, including the importance of consultation and participation, building on existing local knowledge, and supporting livelihoods remain relevant to any livestock-based response to an emergency.