Livelihoods and economic recovery

reconstruction work
EU supports UNDP's work to help people rebuild their livelihoods following disasters. Here, Haitians work for the Léogâne Debris Management project, taking care of debris following the earthquake in 2010. Photo: UNDP

As the lead agency for early recovery, UNDP works with national and international partners to assist crises-affected communities in restoring lives and livelihoods. Together with the EU, we support the creation of employment, the rehabilitation of destroyed infrastructure, and the restoration of safety and security to communities.

We engage with communities to create quick employment opportunities, through cash for work and micro credit schemes. The work done through these programmes in turn helps to rebuild infrastructures – such as water wells, roads, bridges, schools – that have been damaged in the conflict or natural disaster. We also provide training so that people can develop vocational skills, which increases their chances of finding longer term employment. A special focus is given to women, youth, internally displaced, as well as returnees and former combatants.

In Haiti, UNDP, the EU and other partners supported the recovery efforts after the devastating earthquake of 2010 with cash-for-work projects. The construction of new roads and canals, and the rehabilitation of drainage systems benefitted over 200,000 people. By January 2013, more than 400,000 temporary jobs had been created, and 40 percent of the workers were female.


  • We supported employment and cash-for-work initiatives in for example Haiti, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burundi and Georgia.
  • In Haiti, over 400,000 temporary jobs were created to reconstruct infrastructure and to remove rubble following the earthquake in 2010.
  • In Myanmar, over 5,000 families (24,000 people) that were affected by the cyclone Giri in 2010 received cash-for-work.

Through these cash-for-work projects, people had immediate access to cash, which increased their opportunities to buy and replace essential commodities such as food, water and clothes, and cover their shelter needs. This income provided an immediate safety net for the affected families and helped introduce cash rapidly back into the communities, reviving the local economy. In addition, many families used their cash-for-work wage to replace destroyed crops and assets in order to restart their micro-enterprises and small trade. In Haiti, the projects also helped remove 80 percent and recycle 20 percent of the earthquake debris.

In Myanmar, UNDP and the EU supported over 5,000 families (24,000 people) that were affected by cyclone Giri in 2010. They were trained and received cash and technical support so that they could improve their situation by buying seeds, fertilizers, tools and small livestock such as pig, poultry, goat and duck. The partnership also trained 500 carpenters to build houses for cyclone-affected families and provided construction materials. In total, almost 2,800 families (16,800 people) were helped with improved housing.

In Georgia, UNDP and EU immediately responded to the crisis caused by the armed conflict between Georgia and Russia in August 2008. We helped repair damaged infrastructure, provided re-training and short term employment to those left jobless by the conflict, and assisted the displaced in starting up agriculture businesses. (See video "Georgia - One Year Later" on UNDP Georgia website.)

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