073 The RBA partnership to strengthen resilience for food security, nutrition and gender equality

Joint RBAs’ and partners’ actions for greater impact in operationalizing resilience in DRC, Niger and Somalia along the humanitarian-development nexus


  • Rome-based agencies (FAO, IFAD and WFP)
  • Canada
  • Farmer Organization and/or Rural Women Group (TBC)
  • Niger, Somalia and/or Democratic Republic of Congo (TBC)
  • Research organization (TBC)


In October 2015, the CFS endorsed the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crisis (CFS-FFA), which confirmed the importance of addressing hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in protracted crises, and brought a multistakeholder perspective on the three Rome-based Agencies (RBA) Joint Conceptual Framework on Resilience for food security and nutrition, adopted in April 2015.

In 2015, Canada approached the RBAs to develop a joint resilience initiative in three pilot countries and in March 2017, Canada and the RBAs launched a flagship 5-year Joint Resilience Initiative to strengthen resilience in protracted crisis contexts in the DRC, the Niger and Somalia. The initiative is directly relevant to the operationalization by the RBAs and their partners of the CFS-FFA and its 11 principles, and builds on CFS events on resilience in 2015 and 2016 which triggered interest from stakeholders to move from concept to implementation.

While hunger and acute food insecurity are on the rise globally (SOFI and Global report on food crises 2017 and 2018), hunger levels in protracted crisis, and fragile and humanitarian contexts, are three times higher than in average developing countries, and gender inequalities deeper and more acute. Protracted crises are becoming the norm, with 40 percent more ongoing food crises considered to be protracted than in 1990. Such a trend poses the greatest challenge to the successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.

The joint resilience programme, using a participatory and inclusive approach, is combining and sequencing the short-, medium- and long-term analytical, planning, programmatic and operational tools and approaches for resilience of the three agencies. It represents an unprecedented effort to involve, support and invest in the same vulnerable communities over a five-year period through integrated, context-specific, gender- and nutrition-sensitive assistance packages to achieve greater impact on the ground, reduce humanitarian costs and dependence of affected communities on humanitarian assistance. These are identified by communities through participatory planning and aligned to national priorities. It builds on and complements other recent and on-going initiatives funded by other resource partners (including, but not limited to, France, Belgium, USA, Sweden, European Commission, OCHA, etc.), in the same countries and same areas. It focuses particularly on sustainably improving child nutrition, gender equality, and peaceful governance of renewable natural resources, agricultural productivity and livelihoods resilience in three fragile contexts affected by violence, conflict, recurrent climate and other shocks. Finally, the programme is also a platform for other partners (national Governments, Farmer and Rural Women groups and organizations, other UN agencies such as UNICEF and UN Women, research partners, etc.) to join and collaborate.

After 18 months of implementation and looking at the remaining 3.5 years, the side event will provide the opportunity to share with CFS stakeholders the recent progress, early results and upcoming activities under the RBA partnership on resilience in the three countries and beyond, and explore options for collective action to improve the resilience of affected communities for food security, nutrition and gender equality in protracted crises, along the humanitarian and development nexus.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Mrs. Alexandra Bugailiskis, Canada’s Ambassador to the Italian Republic and Permanent Representative to the Rome-based Agencies
  • Mr. Dominique Burgeon, Strategic Programme Leader – Resilience and Director of the Emergency and Rehabilitation division (FAO)
  • Mr Bing Zhao: Coordinator of Purchase for Progress (P4P) and Food Systems (WFP)
  • Mr. Amath Pathé Sene, Regional and Climate and Environment Specialist for West and Central Africa, Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division (IFAD)
  • Mr. Amin Malick, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer (FAO- Somalia)
  • Ms Nina von Uexkull, Assistant Professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University (Sweden)
  • FAO and WFP representatives from the RBA country teams in Niger (via Video Conference)

Main themes/issues discussed

The RBA Resilience Initiative supported by Canada is a model of collaboration, building on the RBA Conceptual Framework on Resilience (Strengthening Resilience for Food Security and Nutrition: A Conceptual Framework for Collaboration and Partnership among the Rome-based Agencies, April 2015), which it translates into practical action, through a common approach and its country-specific implementation to address the root causes of food insecurity and undernutrition in protracted crises along the humanitarian/development nexus. Complementary tools and good practices are integrated keeping a gender sensitive lens and a participatory approach throughout the process while conducting joint analysis and planning - the Three Pronged Approach (3PAs), joint targeting, joint impact measurement – the Resilience Index Measurement Analysis (RIMA), and joint activities,i.e.Food assistance For Assets, Farmer Field Schools, Dimitra Clubs, Saving and Loans schemes, rural finance, sustainable production and management of natural resources, support to farmers’ organization, value chain promotion. For instance, lessons from the P4P in DRC highlight the key role of Government and private-sector partnerships, from the selection of aggregators to supporting sales beyond WFP, aiming at reaching larger contract and consistent sales over time and providing smallholders with appropriate support. In Somalia, the intervention builds on the Joint Resilience Strategy (JRS) adopted by FAO, UNICEF and WFP since 2012. A May 2018 joint RBA Community Consultation and Action Planning exercise found that drought is the main shock affecting people’s livelihoods and that community resilience strategies includes social support, migration to urban areas, charcoal production, better storage of fodder for use during drought, food aid, water-trucking, livestock restocking and migrating for pasture. In Niger, the Government national 3N Initiative i3N) (Les Nigériens Nourissent les Nigériens’) which aims to improve food security and resilience, is supported by the RBAs in two “Communes de Convergence” in the regions of Maradi and Zinder through an integrated package of interventions, layering and integrating each other’s efforts, implementing community-level participatory planning and gender-sensitive approaches to improve sustainable governance of productive resources. A study conducted in the DRC on conflict perceptions highlights possible RBA contribution to sustaining peace through resilience activities. Preliminary findings indicate that both objective and subjective household resilience are linked to lower support for violence and points to the possibility that the program, if successful, may contribute to building peace at local level by focusing on the least resilient households. 

Summary of key points

The RBA Resilience Initiative, supported by Canada, has set the right foundations for scaling up and replicating the RBA collaboration on resilience in other countries. Good practices from Niger, Somalia and DRC are showing encouraging results and interesting learnings, after just 18 months, such as referring households from nutrition activities to livelihoods and capacity development components, incentivizing cash transfer beneficiaries to create saving groups as a contingency for future emergencies and increasing the engagement of women in alternative income generating activities.

Key take away messages

Based on the early results and learnings, good practices of RBA both programmatic and operational collaboration on resilience in protracted crisis contexts, will be documented and disseminated, to promote replication and adaptation in other countries.

CFS Side Event  73 - The RBA partnership to strengthen resilience for food security, nutrition and gender equality