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.
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.
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:
- The Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) – Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery
- The SEEP Network’s Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS)
- The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action’s Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS)
- The Cash Learning Partnership’s (CaLP) Minimum Standard for Market Analysis (MISMA),
- The ADCAP programme’s Humanitarian Inclusions Standards for Older People and People with Disabilities (HIS)
- The Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster’s Minimum Standards for Camp Management
The standard three-day LEGS Training course is run by LEGS Trainers, who have completed a LEGS Training of Trainers (TOT) course*. There are currently over 400 LEGS Trainers from 81 countries around the world. Interested organisations can commission a three-day Training from any of the LEGS Trainers in their country or region. Only LEGS Trainers are authorised to deliver the three-day Training.
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 Trainers page.
In 2021 LEGS developed a virtual Training based on the three-day training, which is run by authorized LEGS Trainers when face-to-face training is not possible. For more information, contact the LEGS Finance and Admin Manager.
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
- Vetwork UK
- World Animal Protection (formerly WSPA)
No, LEGS does not have any funds to disperse.
The LEGS Secretariat is based in the UK, with team members all over the world.
See the discussion paper: LEGS and Resilience: Linking Livestock, Livelihoods and Drought Management in the Horn of Africa.
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:
- Mental State
See also: the LEGS Briefing Paper on Animal Welfare.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.