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Sustainable Livelihoods

Sustainable Livelihoods Participant Engagement

The Sustainable Livelihoods Participant Engagement Project is a three-year initiative funded by the Ontario Trillium Fund. The project aims to train facilitators in using the tools and approaches of Sustainable Livelihoods and Motivational Interviewing to serve a total of 720 women over three communities in Ontario.

The Sustainable Livelihoods (SL) participant engagement model using a Motivational Interviewing approach is a high impact method for working with economically vulnerable adults.

SL participant engagement offers a model for focused one-to-one coaching that enables front-line staff to engage in powerful conversations with vulnerable clients resulting in greater resiliency, self-directed action, and progress towards quality sustainable employment. Combined with Motivational Interviewing, it offers a very effective professional practice that produces a powerful foundation for employment success and retention. The model and tools can inform agencies’ poverty reduction strategies.

Sustainable Livelihoods

Sustainable Livelihoods is a holistic, strengths-based approach to working with economically vulnerable people, recognizing that employability requires both the conditions and capacity for participation.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication that focuses on the language of change.


Project Model


Over the course of three years, facilitators in three different communities will receive a total of five days of training and further coaching in the delivery of Motivational Interviewing Informed Sustainable Livelihoods. They will use this training to deliver pre-employment counselling to a total of 720 women across the province.


Current services for vulnerable women suffer from siloed structures and processes. This 36-month capacity-building project will adapt and scale-up effective participant engagement practices for use by frontline community service and employment counsellors. The project will ultimately empower over 720 marginalized women to embrace new, self-reliant behaviours while building a stable foundation for sustained social and labour-market engagement. This more intensive, client-focused assistance has been shown to support sustainable, longer-term progress towards economic stability by women with multiple barriers and reduce reliance on ongoing assistance.