The meaning of self-reliance given in dictionaries is the capacity or ability to rely on one’s own capabilities (power, resources, judgment or ability to generate an outcome) and manage one’s own affairs. In this sense, self-reliance implies autonomy and independence in the existence of human beings. These basic notions of autonomy, independence and reliance on one’s own
capabilities, powers and resources have, however, been expanded beyond this simple defi nition to apply in a variety of contexts and situations. For example, self-reliance is often discussed in association with survival needs, commonly focusing on increasing the likelihood of one’s viability in the face of adverse situations. Based on this notion, it follows that self-reliant individuals, families and communities are those that have taken the necessary steps to lessen their dependence upon society for aid in meeting their livelihood needs. Self-reliant people and communities do this by proactively expanding knowledge and building capabilities in order to achieve the basic needs and necessities of life. More specifi cally, for example, these individuals and communities learn to build and maintain their own homes, make their own clothes, create local water supply systems, and establish and maintain their communication and transportation systems.