Re: Addressing food insecurity in protracted crises: Resilience-building programming

Senait Regass The Swiss Agency for Development and Coopperation, Ethiopia

Here are some key issues we need to take into consideration to enhance resilience building:

Systems thinking: Comprehensive analysis of problems, opportunities, dependencies and interactions among actors and with the livelihood asset base; risks and vulnerabilities and the different levels of the policy environment and institutional frameworks must be the foundation on which resilience programming is done.

Enhancing resilience building should focus on maintaining the basic functions of a system rather than trying to retain relationships and structures within a system.  For instance, ability of households and communities to ensure their food security sustainably even at times of stress and shock is more important than trying to maintain relationships and structures. As it has been argued earlier, households and communities live in an environment that is always undergoing change and these changes require relationships and structures that adapt to the new situation. This may sometimes mean a shift into qualitatively different situations and configurations recognizing that resilience is a dynamic process rather than a static point.

Exogenous support to resilience building The process of resilience building is an endogenous one, fully owned and championed by the communities/national governments. National and global governance need to provide an enhancing environment for local and national societies for their efforts. External capacities such as knowledge, technical expertise, finance, etc should pave the way for and support endogenous resilience building process but not dictate it.

Resilience goes beyond bouncing back: Resilience programming targets vulnerable households, communities or nations. Particularly in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel Region, these communities live in abject poverty with high prevalence of food insecurity even before the on-set of large scale crises. Therefore, bouncing back to where they were before the crises is not a satisfactory condition from human development point of view. This implies that our aim should be to support building resilience in such a way that long term development can be ensured in a sustainable manner, i.e. maintaining functions but with possible change in relationships and structures. Enhancing resilience building must encompass the whole spectrum of relief and development interventions in a coordinated and flexible manner.

Senait Regass and Manuel Flury

SDC, Addis Ababa