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

Richard Ofwono Concern WorldWide, South Sudan

Food security and livelihood programmes that I have seen build resilience in protracted conflicts are those that focus not only on meeting the immediate food security/livelihood needs, but also look at the medium and long term livelihood needs of those affected by the conflict. The specific types of interventions will be guided by the rules set by the conflicting parties. In Northern Uganda conflict the rebels had rules like no working on Friday, no riding bicycles. Any intervention that violated these attracted their wrath. Agencies involved in the interventions must clearly dissociate themselves from any of the sides.

Programmes that meet immediate need e.g. through cash transfers, coupled with strengthening infrastructure and building human skills that are transferable are most likely to build resilience. These projects within the conflict setting do not only meet immediate needs but also ignite hope in peoples inner being of a future to come.

It has not been feasible to have such programmes because our programming is largely governed by straight line logic. When you invest this you get this output, when you have this outcome and that one and the other you get this result. Real life is not like that. Life many times throws up the unexpected, protracted conflict many times end abruptly. This has been the case in Angola even northern Uganda. Mainstream programming tries to postulate when the conflict will end so as to move away from meeting immediate needs and get to build human capacity and physical infrastructure. Many times it miserably fails to do so.