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

pankaj kumar Concern Worldwide, Ethiopia

Dear FSN moderator,

I currently work in Ethiopia with Concern Worldwide and have been extensively involved in Resilience Building measure. Based on my experience, I would like to answer these questions.

  • What are the strategies that have been successful in building resilience? Can we build resilience in general or does it always have to be in relation to a (known) type of shock?

Any resilience building measure should have focus to be successful. For instance, resilience in general sense will not have an impact as these problems in many of the chronic vulnerable areas are immense relating to food insecurity, public health, education, etc. The focus helps us to define appropriate strategies and resources as interventions to public health are different from food security shocks. An example of good resilience programming in Ethiopia supported by ECHO is enclosed.

  • What programming has improved food security in protracted crises?

The programming that has focus on three areas are always beneficial

Short term to meet transitory food insecurity situations which are usually present and leads to many negative coping strategies, and the measures include social protection in different forms, seeds, livestock, food aid, nutrition education, management of acute malnutrition and other support that makes food available, access and utilization improved.

Medium to long term to meet chronic food insecurity situations and often leads to transitory food insecure situations, and the measures include natural resource management, access to improved seeds and livestock, extension services, linkages with market, private sector, irrigation management, access to improved health and nutrition services, gender empowerment, etc.

  • How will we know we are on the right track to produce resilience?

Indicators that are simple and easy to measure help to know that we are on right track. For example, though it will depend upon the situation for different scenarios indicators could be following:

Transitory food insecurity:  number of meals per day, change in dietary diversity, livestock reproduction, cash used for farm and non- farm purposes, performance of CMAM indicators, etc.

Chronic food insecurity: increase productivity per ha, increased income from non- farm sources, especially for women, increased coverage of vaccination, production sold in market vs consumption.

  • Can we predict and quantify the effects of action across a number of sectors in advance? Do we need to?

A good real time monitoring system will help in predicting and quantifying effects. A proper problem tree analysis helps in identifying appropriate causes and interventions. This is required to be done so that interventions are successful.

  • Why have we not done better to date?

Previously most of the programme focused on one sector rather than multi-sectoral and linkages between different sectors were often not understood as programming was led by sectoral specialist.

  • Is it just about scale? Do we just need bigger programmes? Is this affordable?

Scale is important but should be done only when pilot are successful. This is affordable as funding for many sectors are available and is only the question of ensuring linkages between them.

  • Demographic and ecological changes are probably the most predictable causal factors that will have a major impact on resilience in the future - how should we plan for this? Can we predict the consequences of inadequate action? Should we try to?

This definitely should be done as resilience is not to current risk but also future predicted and un-predicted risk such as demographic situations and climate change


Kind regards,


Pankaj Kumar

Addis Ababa Ethiopia


See the attachment: Resilience Paper.pdf