World Vision’s resilience programming: adding value for development

Working and discussion papers
August 2013
Josh Folkema , Maggie Ibrahim and Emily Wilkinson
Resilience is now at the heart of development thinking, climate change adaptation and humanitarian policy. The 2011-2012 famine in the Horn of Africa and 2012 crisis in the Sahel revealed not only the vulnerability of pastoralist livelihoods in these regions, but also the high toll on development progress. These and other high impact events have led the international community to look for durable solutions that address the underlying drivers of risk, particularly for marginalised communities.

The tables and case studies described in this paper are the culmination of lessons learned and reflections on experiences of over a decade of development practice, from within and outside World Vision. The authors present resilience as a radical and alternative way of understanding and practicing development with the potential to overcome some constraints faced by traditional programming. They identify five programming approaches needed to operationalise resilience thinking: recognition of complex interactions; appreciative inquiry; dynamism and flexibility; multi-sectoral approaches; and open systems approaches. The authors argue that these can be used to promote community empowerment and reduce vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic shocks and stresses.