An assessment of the impact of non-farm activities on household welfare requires more than a simple assessment of their importance as a source of additional household income. Economic pressures on individual incomes and household welfare have tended to highlight the importance of ties of mutual assistance linking rural households and their members to wider networks based on kinship or community. In some cases, assistance through social networks may galvanize the economic efforts of household members into a predominantly household-centred economic strategy. Increased household demands on women's resources, combined with the low level of women's non-farm incomes and the narrow range of acceptable income-generating activities, has tended to undermine the viability of women's non-farm activities. Among women, whose identities and activity patterns are much less directly bound up with agriculture, investment patterns of non-farm incomes were found to be very different from those of men.