This conversation clearly exposes the complexities of resilience-building interventions and puts at the center of the debate a key objective of rural development which is sustainability.
In this sense, I wish to add an important perspective, which is gender and empowerment.
We all agree that women and men have specific and complementary roles in agricultural development. We all acknowledge that persistent gender inequalities in access to resources, services, information and knowledge are a key impediment to sustainable rural development. As a result, in relation to resilience, women and men might be exposed to different kinds of shocks and stressors and their coping strategies might differ as well. Bearing this in mind, it is crucial that development interventions are designed in a way that address these inequalities in a sustainable way. If we think about the temporal aspects of resilience, specific strategies and measures need to be put in place to prevent and respond to GBV as this extreme manifestation of gender inequality has devastating consequences (food insecurity, stigma, illness, collapse of social structures) which severely limits efforts in building resilience. Strategies should not solely consider women and men’s immediate vulnerabilities, but also addressing their specific needs and priorities. This often implies transforming gender relations and tackling power imbalances within households, communities and organizations. In this way resilient interventions become empowerment interventions, from survival to thrive: the more empowered women and men will be, the more resilient livelihoods they will be able to build.
FAO has longstanding experience in promoting participatory approaches that contribute to rural people’s empowerment, gender equality and resilience. The community-based and gender transformative approach of the FAO-Dimitra Clubs, is a good example of how rural women and men and entire rural communities take their development in hands and promote social cohesion and resilient livelihoods for all.