Lessons from the Webinar: Integrating Resilience in Development: Understanding system dynamics in developing capacities

Strengthening resilience for disaster risk reduction is one of the clarion calla for the ambitious Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction that came into force in 2015.  During our last webinar  it was confirmed that resilience is a development concept that needs to be implemented concurrently with developmental projects. The framework aims to achieve seven targets within a period of 15 years ensuring that we have considerably reduces losses and mortality as result of disasters. Also it aims at ensuring that countries which previously were prone to disasters are able to recover and reconstruct  faster and better through resilience which mainly aims at enhancing the capacities of communities. In Nairobi similar kind of discussions was happening online on understating system dynamics in developing capacities with two people, Mr. Oyundi Nehondo, Independent Resilient Programming Consultant and Ms Caroline Maua, Lutheran World Relief Country Programs Manager.

Lutheran World Relief has been spearheading the the Dynamic Resilience wheel among its partners as a framework for implementing resilience projects. The wheel emphasizes on the 5 livelihoods capitals:

  1. Social; networks, shared norms, values and understandings that enable individuals and groups to trust each other, collaborate and work together
  2. Natural; natural resource stocks from which resource flows and services (e.g. nutrient cycling, erosion protection) useful for livelihoods are derived
  3. Human; the skills, knowledge, ability to labor and good health that together enable people to pursue different livelihood strategies
  4. Economic; financial resources that people use to achieve their livelihood objectives
  5. Physical; the basic infrastructure and producer goods needed to support livelihoods

Lutheran World Relief doesn’t see resilience as an end in itself. Rather, resilience is a dynamic and enabling approach that can improve the results in a community’s recovery from a disaster, while encouraging sustainable development results. Resilience is an approach that:

  • Complements and strengthens development interventions, as it allows us to deepen our understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by at risk communities.
  • Looks at the interactions between local, regional and national levels.
  • Promotes holistic responses to short-term shocks and long-term stressors.
  • Requires reflective thinking, including gender and equity considerations, (leaving no one behind).
  • Is based on a process that involves short, medium and long-term actions.
  • Highlights the linkages between social and ecological factors, crucial for communities to achieve sustainable development.

As much as resilience programming is aimed at building and strengthening capacities of communities, Oyundi emphasized the need of going further than just that. Risks are dynamic and so we should be very cognisant of merging issues including human activities that are increasing the severity of disasters. Strengthening resilience in building strong communities should go beyond capacities, to involve periodic monitoring of the formative exercise and contributory performance of these capacities towards the four (4) macro-indicators of resilience;

1.Rate of (Early) Recovery. This is a Nutrition-sensitive indicator at system level. The faster the recovery, the more resilient the system is.
2.The Spirit of Volunteerism (People and Skills). The more and timelier it is in the wake of risks / Shocks, the more resilient the system is.
3.The less the inflow of external resources, the more resilient the system is.
4. Knowledge Management – Learning, Researching, Documentation and Dissemination
Reports indicate that every 1US$ invested in disaster risk reduction saves between 6 to 10 US$ in humanitarian response. Also the panelist were in concurrence that resilience is very contextual and it needs to be mainstreamed according to the needs and demands to which it will result to sustainable development.
The take away is that resilience is a development concept that resolves humanitarian issues and must be very holistic, continuous and implemented in a wide variety of way too ensure that it leaves no one behind.
Listen to the whole webinar hear