Building resilience

The top two distinctive things to keep in mind when designing a resilience-building programme are integration and uncertainty.  

  1. Integration. Resilience programming should not focus on just one category of shock or stress (such as natural disasters, high food prices, climate change or conflict). Rather, we need to design a holistic response that addresses the most significant shocks and stresses together. Click here (PDF 67 KB) for some practical ideas on how to do this.
  2. Uncertainty. Resilience programming needs to help people prepare for unpredictable and unknown risks – not just the risks we can predict based on what’s happened in the past. Click here (PDF 59 KB) for some practical ideas on how to do this.

Also, some aspects of general sustainable development good practice are especially important for resilience programming:

  • A focus on strengthening/building community institutions. By institutions, we mean both community organisations (eg leadership councils, churches, farmer groups) and the 'rules of the game' that they work by (eg how leaders are chosen, how resources are shared). Strong institutions are required for eg joint decision-making and action, management of common resources, and experimentation and learning – all vital activities for resilience.
  • A thorough understanding of all the livelihood strategies available in an area – that is, how people use their available assets to get food, income and other necessities. Resilient people have diverse, flexible and ecologically sustainable livelihood strategies.