Resilience analysis key to effective programming and policy decisions: Stakeholders’ sensitization on the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA) model in Kenya

Stakeholders’ sensitization on the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA) model in Kenya


Measuring the resilience capacity of people to food insecurity and other shocks as well as the effectiveness of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ resilience interventions has been a significant activity of the organization since 2008. FAO has been a pioneer in the development of the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA) model – an innovative quantitative approach to resilience analysis designed to explain why and how some households have the ability to cope with shocks and stressors better than others.

In a bid to stimulate and facilitate the discussion among key stakeholders on the relevance of resilience analyses in Kenya to the various policy processes and national resilience initiatives, the FAO Sub-Regional Resilience Team for Eastern Africa hosted a one-day workshop and invited key stakeholders and representatives of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Kenyan national government institutions as well as donor and partner organizations to provide updates on the RIMA model and its applications in Kenya.

In his opening remarks, Gabriel Rugalema, FAO Representative in Kenya emphasized that analytical models like RIMA are crucial for evidence-based good decision making. “We all agree that good decisions must be based on good evidence. Although this is accepted axiomatically yet often decisions are made on the go or based on flimsy evidence either because we do not have correct models or because evidence are missing or because decision makers choose to ignore evidence. So this behooves agencies such as FAO and its partners in this room and outside not only to devote models but also to advocate and support their use.”

He added that given the current drought situation in the region it is crucial to generate evidence, which can inform the national government, FAO and other development partners about the problem, its magnitude and impact as well as the interventions needed to overcome it. 

The workshop participants agreed that the application of the RIMA model in Kenya and in other countries could be key for future programming and policy decisions, however, there is a crucial need for sensitization among stakeholders about the already existing resilience analysis methods and their application.

Strengthening resilience in Isiolo, Marsabit and Meru 

The workshop presented the analysis that was carried out in three counties of Kenya namely in Isiolo, Marsabit and Meru using RIMA as the analysis mechanism. The study aimed at understanding household resilience capacity in the three counties and revealed that productive assets, income diversification and distance to basic services have a huge impact on households’ resilience in the targeted counties. The findings also show that drought, insecurity due to conflicts on natural resources are the most relevant shocks. 

At county level, Meru is the most resilient followed by Isiolo and the least resilient is Marsabit. The relevance of assets ownership is prominent in all counties. In Meru, households have higher assets indicators compared to the other both productive (e.g. inputs for crop, input for livestock, planted land) and non-productive/households assets index. For Marsabit and Isiolo, a high contribution is from ownership of livestock and usage of livestock inputs. 

The analysis is disaggregated by livelihood by combining Marsabit and Isiolo counties by nature of their pastoral livelihood and Meru county by mixed farming livelihood. Findings show that households in mixed farming livelihood are more resilient than households in pastoral livelihood. Access to productive and durable household assets is important and common to both livelihoods, and adaptive capacity is also a contributing factor to resilience capacity for both pastoral and mixed farming livelihoods. Therefore it is pivotal for building resilience to enhance livelihood diversification by supporting households to take up more income-generating activities based on their livelihood productivity. 

This study indicates that policy should aim at enhancing agricultural productivity, increasing productive assets and improving access to basic services. Furthermore, policy interventions should look at enhancing environmental sustainability through improved natural resources management, which is likely to reduce levels of insecurity related to natural resources conflicts. 

Building resilience through the EU – FAO Partnership Programmes

Building more resilient livelihoods is increasingly recognized as one of the most powerful means to mitigate and prevent food security crises. Through the European Union (EU) – FAO Partnership Programme’s project entitled “Information for Nutrition Food Security and Resilience for Decision-Making (INFORMED)” FAO aims at substantially increasing the resilience of vulnerable people’s livelihoods to threats and crises. To strengthen the links between analytical and programming efforts, one of the main focus areas of the project is to improve resilience measurement and enhance knowledge sharing mechanisms. This is done through the RIMA model developed with the aim to generate evidence, which in return helps FAO and other organizations to assist vulnerable population more effectively.

RIMA has also been a key analytical tool for the sister EU-FAO Partnership project - “Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST)”. The project aims to enhance the integration of evidence into decision-making and policy processes in Kenya and other priority countries and regional organizations by improving the availability of evidence to decision makers with timely information as well as robust analysis of the food security, nutrition and resilience situation.