Enhancing Resilience in fragile Contexts

September 2, 2020 | 9:15 am

A resilient community is able to resist, absorb, accommodate, and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and effective manner. With changing climate, continuing environmental degradation, increasing disaster risks and conflict, Cordaid empowers individuals and communities to jointly overcome adversity. By integrating disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, ecosystem management, and conflict risk reduction, these communities create resilient futures.


Building Resilient Communities in Fragile Contexts

The frequency and severity of disasters caused by natural hazards and/or by armed conflict are increasing. This is aggravated by climate change, which has a multiplier effect on conflict, causing tensions over natural resources, water, and land. Conflict and displacement diminish people’s capacity to cope with disaster risks related to natural hazards. In fragile contexts, the government’s capacity to adequately address people’s needs may be weak. We therefore work with a multi-stakeholder approach, linking and building capacities of communities, governments, private sectors, and other actors.

The overall goal of Cordaid’s Resilience program is to assist disaster-prone communities to become more resilient to disaster risks, in the face of climate change, environmental degradation, and conflict risk. Doing this, we are enabling livelihood security, peaceful co-existence and sustainable inclusive growth.

Watch this video to find out more about Cordaid’s approach to strengthen the resilience of these communities:

Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR)

We increase capacities of communities to become disaster resilient. CMDRR brings people together to analyse and address their common disaster risks, starting from the community’s own knowledge of recurring hazard events. This includes increased understanding of concepts of disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, nature-based solutions, and conflict risk reduction. Communities are trained in participatory processes for disaster and conflict risk mapping, development and contingency planning, community organization, resource mobilisation, implementation of selected resilience measures, monitoring, documentation, and evaluation. For sustainable change, communities formulate their policy asks towards local, regional and national level policymakers and engage in policy dialogue.

Resilience measures can include, among many others, ensuring access to clean drinking water during floods or droughts, reinforcement of riverbanks, strengthening shelters against natural influences, and ensuring alternative livelihoods to secure income.

Conflict sensitive resilience and conflict risk reduction

From Cordaid experience in enhancing resilience in fragile and conflict-affected areas, we learned that specific attention to conflict risk reduction is essential for resilience building at local level. Cordaid supports communities and civil society organisations to assess conflict risk for increased understanding of the dynamics of conflict and fragility in their contexts, and to integrate the outcomes to develop conflict-sensitive resilience projects and/or conflict risk reduction activities like peace dialogues on how to share natural resources.

Urban Resilience

Half of humanity lives in cities and in the next 30 years, this will increase to at least 70%. Nearly one billion people live in slums and/or in informal settlements. Changing hazard patterns in combination with the conditions in slums – poor infrastructure, high poverty rates, and complex social structures – significantly increase disaster risks. Cordaid’s risk-focused participatory neighborhood planning and action approach, implemented in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, strengthens resilience in urban settings.

District Resilience

District development plans rarely integrate disaster risks, and communities living in vulnerable districts are hardly involved in the planning process. Therefore, we support district staff to undertake participatory disaster risk assessments and to involve multiple stakeholders in development and contingency planning addressing the hazards and the needs of the most at-risk people in the district. Cordaid ensures that the district has the capacity and tools to implement these plans and reduce the risk of disasters. District resilience planning is complementary to community-level development.

Linking relief rehabilitation and development

To break the cycle of disasters and dependence on emergency aid, Cordaid works with disaster-affected communities as soon as possible after the emergency phase for resilient recovery. Our interventions not only replace damaged assets. They also strengthen the capacity to cope with recurring hazards,  prevent them from turning into disasters, and to bounce back faster in case a new disaster occurs.

When working on long term development interventions for resilience building, hazardous events can happen. Cordaid works on the nexus of development relief and rehabilitation by flexibly addressing immediate needs when they occur. This ensures that people can bounce back from a crisis more easily and focus faster on addressing the root causes of vulnerability.

Partners for Resilience

In order to promote CMDRR, urban resilience and district resilience, we work with the Partners for Resilience (PfR) strategic partnership. PfR is an international alliance, consisting of Netherlands Red Cross, CARE Netherlands, Cordaid, Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre and Wetlands International and over 50 local partner organizations working with a wide range of civil society organizations, multi-stakeholder platforms, academia and networks who are  committed to enable vulnerable people to become resilient to climate and disaster risks and ecosystem degradation by making policies, practices and investments risk-informed. From 2016 to 2020, PfR focuses on strengthening capacities of civil society organizations to engage in policy dialogue to integrate disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and ecosystem management in international, national and community level programs and policies. PfR works in ten countries in Central America, Africa and Asia.

Enhancing Resilience
In the Teso region of Uganda, Cordaid and partner organization SOCADIDO support female farmers who struggle to maintain their livelihood because of climate change, land depletion or a lack of tools and agricultural knowledge. Cordaid and SOCADIDO provide seeds, tools, technology and training. Image: Mickael Franci/Cordaid.