Tuesday 6
Advancing the measurement of resilience to food insecurity
M. d'Errico
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
› Antigone 1
How Will We Know? Advancing the measurement of resilience to food insecurity
Jon Kurtz  1, *@  
1 : Mercy Corps  -  Website
1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW #809 Washington, DC 20010 -  États-Unis
* : Corresponding author

Resilience and related concepts like adaptive capacity pose unique measurement challenges that hinder attempts to identify what works topromote them.As a result, there is little reliable evidence on proven strategies, interventions, or policies for strengthening resilience.Of the multiple frameworks have been developed to help understand the concept of resilience, few provide insights into what needs to be done differently from current development approaches to enhance it. Due to this conceptual ambiguity, nearly any intervention can be re-labeled as resilience building (Levine, et al, 2012). This situation risks making the current, major investments in strengthening resilience ineffective, which could undermine national governments' and international agencies' longer-term commitments to achieving this important goal.


Several humanitarian and development agencies have been working to develop analytical frameworks and measurement models to accurately assess and evaluate program impacts on resilience. Mercy Corps has been at the forefront of this work, and has begun to apply and test these measurement approaches through research on its resilience programs in the drylands of Africa. The evidence from Mercy Corps' studies provides unique insights into a critical policy question: What set of factors, if reinforced, are most likely to strengthen resilience to food security shocks among agro-pastorals in the Sahel and Horn of Africa.


During this presentation, Mr. Jon Kurtz, Mercy Corps' Director of Research and Learning, will share details on the data collection and analysis techniques employed by Mercy Corps in its recent studies. These include:

- Somalia: modeling to test commonly held assumptions regarding what contributed to household resilience to the complex humanitarian crisis resulting in the famine of 2011;

- Uganda and Ethiopia: quasi-experimental impact evaluation to test the links between conflict management interventions and resilience to food insecurity; and

- Niger: ex-post program evaluation to understand how target populations recover from and manage subsequent food security shocks.

Mr. Kurtz has been involved firsthand in these research efforts, and will provide practical insights on the state of the art and outstanding challenges to measuring resilience, and key findings from Mercy Corps' research based on these approaches.


Participants will come away from the presentation with a better understanding of key determinants of household resilience to drought and other recurring shocks in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. This knowledge will help participants better distinguish what is unique about resilience programming, and what needs to change in current development and humanitarian programs to promote it. In addition, participants will gain insights into robust, actionable approaches for measuring resilience.


This session will further the aims of the Resilience 2014 conference by promoting awareness of effective, practical approaches for analyzing resilience, which if applied by more agencies, could contribute to a stronger evidence base to inform investments in strengthening resilience. This session will be particularly valuable for practitioners and policy makers involved in food security, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation in the drylands of Africa, as well as for applied research professionals working in the humanitarian and development fields.

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