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

Pamela Pozarny FAO, Italy
19.06.2013

There are some common broad principles that when combined seem to function effectively to build and sustain community and household resilience. Through qualitative research in our impact evaluation work of cash transfers within the Protection to Production Project http://www.fao.org/economic/PtoP/en/ we have found these elements to include for example an adequate household asset base, diversified streams of livelihood strategies and income sources, effective social networks that are able to provide much needed flexible risk-sharing mechanisms and channels of support particularly in time of need, women's economic empowerment and livelihood capacities, responsive, inclusive and well performing local institutions and services able to provide support and information/communication to all categories of households, including most vulnerable. We also have found that complementarity among different types of programmes and services (the multi-faceted effect mentioned by C. Tocco below) can have potentially highly effective results in strengthening the household livelihood base. A more favourable starting point - less vulnerability- will enable households and communities to better respond to crises and climatic shocks and more rapidly restore their asset base. However, shocks, crises, long-term disasters are not all the same and likely require responses more adapted and appropriate tailored to their specific contexts. Degrading environmental conditions, loss of productive land and resources for pastoralists is a different context than conflict for example in the Great Lakes region. It seems to me these shocks require tailored responses, ex ante and as follow up. Further, bio-physical/ecological, socio-culural and economic development contexts are widely diverse. These dimensions are instrumental in determining the resilience potential in a given context. In sum, support to building community resilience requires context-driven well adapted measures. Moreover, these are not simple targeted solutions, but longer-term support measures, as Msiska says, that require a range of elements. Although technical-development solutions may be required, as important is understanding and analysis of the social, cultural (e.g. gender, traditional norms, value and practices), historical dimensions of any given situation.