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LEGS Handbook

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

Now Available!

The 3rd edition of the LEGS Handbook (English version) was released on 27th June. To learn what’s new in this edition, watch an excerpt from our global launch webinar (full recording below). If you’re hosting an event, you can download the flyer.

The Arabic and French versions were released on 4th October, and the Spanish version was released on 18th October.

View the Handbook on the interactive portal.LEGS 3rd edition handbook front cover

Download a PDF copy.

Purchase a copy (or a bulk order of 20).

For the first time, accompanying case studies are presented on a dedicated web page.


If you’d like to hold your own LEGS Handbook launch event, click here for some guidance and resources.

The revision of LEGS Handbook includes significant changes in content and form. The new structure, improved design, changes to the foundations chapters and Plain English used, allow for easier access and understanding for both livestock specialists and humanitarians, even for first-time users. The links to other chapters and other Humanitarian Standards Partnership (HSP) handbooks are also welcome.

Maty Ba Diaoformer Regional Coordinator, Projet Régional d'Appui au Pastoralisme au Sahel (PRAPS)

I welcome this third edition of the LEGS handbook, which is even more reader friendly, easy to use, relevant to changing contexts, and supported by more case studies. It includes innovative tools to identify how to respond to emergencies, and has assessed past interventions and experiences to guide future planning. The consultative process and outreach have gone beyond the previous edition. I am sure the tools in the handbook will be very useful for both humanitarian and development actors working in the area of food security focusing on livestock-based livelihoods.

Vikrant MahjanCEO, Sphere India

This third edition has enriched content and more simplified language, and has been revised in line with community of practice comments as part of greater local ownership of the LEGS approach. The Handbook clearly illustrates the interlinked nature of lives and livelihoods, and the new chapter on emergency response planning integrating key tools will support the saving of lives and protecting the livelihoods of affected communities.

Dr. Kisa Juma Ngeiywaformer Director of Veterinary Services (DVS) Kenya

This third edition of the LEGS handbook is more user-friendly, includes new core principles such as ensuring community participation or supporting gender-sensitive programming, and offers updated standards, key actions and guidance notes. As one of the contributors to the LEGS handbook since its inception, VSF is committed to continuously training its staff to ensure a thorough understanding of the LEGS principles and standards and their application. The handbook is thus an essential complement to the trainings, and this improved third edition will be an easy-to-use manual for field staff at any stage of a crisis response.

Margherita GomarascaCoordinator, VSF International

The LEGS handbook provides a common language and framework for livestock practitioners, enabling joint planning and clear mapping of needs and gaps. The new edition will be instrumental to enable teams to undertake pre-emptive actions to reduce the loss of livestock assets and production with its key feature on preparedness and early action. Furthermore, the inclusion of additional details on cash and voucher assistance will strengthen cash plus livestock interventions. The guidelines have been, and will continue to be, instrumental in quality responses through continuous learning and exchange amongst partners, including policy makers.

Rein PaulsenDirector of Emergencies and Resilience Office, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

3rd Edition Content

Nairobi launch event

Nairobi launch event


In this third edition, there is greater focus on the principles that underpin LEGS, as well as step-by-step guidance on how to use the LEGS tools to develop an emergency response plan. The first three chapters focus on general principles and decision making:

  • Chapter 1 introduces LEGS and provides an overview of emergencies, livestock and livelihoods.
  • Chapter 2 presents the eight LEGS Principles that underpin all LEGS-based interventions
  • Chapter 3 provides step by step guidance and tools for emergency response planning

The remaining chapters focus on the six LEGS technical intervention areas: feed, water, veterinary support, shelter, livestock offtake, and the provision of livestock.

Global Launch Webinar

On 28th June we held our global launch webinar. Here are the speakers and the topics covered:

  • Cathy Watson – LEGS Coordinator: Introduction to the new Handbook
  • Emmanuella Olesambu – Focal person for East and Southern Africa, TCE, FAO and LEGS Advisory Group member: The evidence base for LEGS and the importance of LEGS institutionalisation
  • Dr. Genene Regassa – Ethiopia Country Director for VSF-Germany and LEGS trainer: Using and adapting LEGS in context
  • Lubna Saeed – Community Development Officer for Brooke Pakistan: Using LEGS to support working animals

You can watch the webinar here:

Nairobi Launch Event

On 5th July, a LEGS Handbook launch event was held in Nairobi. Thank you to the lead organizers: Dr. Kisa Juma and Dr. Julis Kajume, who also served as facilitators. They were supported by Judith Nyansiaboka. Thank you also to the speakers:

  • Isacc Githui – Office of the Cabinet Secretary, who delivered remarks on behalf of Hon. Rebecca Miano, MBS, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) & Regional Development. Read the remarks here.
  • Jeremiah Kithama – Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, State Department for Livestock Development (SDL)
  • Harrison Atibu Mwasaru – Deputy Institutional Focal Person (IFP) for LEGS/LEGS Desk Officer for NDMA
  • Dr. Rachel Masake – LEGS trainer and independent consultant
  • Dr. Tabitha Njeri – Concern Worldwide
  • Dr. Joseph Njuguna – FAO and previous LEGS focal point
  • Piers Simpkin – LEGS Advisory Group
  • Suzan Bishop – LEGS Technical and Project Manager

Our partner for the event was the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), the new LEGS Institutional Focal Point for Kenya. Amos Nyakeyo, Deputy Director, Drought Contingency Planning and Response, is taking the lead within NDMA.

You can watch the program here: