Building resilience in international development

During 2020, the world faced an acceleration in the rate of dramatic shocks: the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting economic turmoil, the ever-gathering climate catastrophe, and the global reverberations of calls against structural racism. These developments occurred against the constant drum beat of rising inequality that erodes the capacity of states to manage the combined effects of these crises. Such developments make the concept of resilience even more salient. People are asking “how can we cope and survive?” and “how can we make sure that we build back better from this crisis?”

This paper considers what resilience looks like in practice, and is based on the work of three organizations – Tewa, Global Greengrants Fund and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. It is divided into four parts:

  • Part 1 gives the context of resilience in international aid. It explains the rapid rise of the term and how it has become a new paradigm in development for the field.
  • Part 2 explains how the current study was conducted.
  • Part 3 describes the experiences of Tewa, Global Greengrants Fund and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative through the lens of resilience.
  • Part 4 reflects on the work so far and suggests ways forward to develop the work.

Published by: Global Greengrants Fund UK, Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace and Tewa

Published: January 2021

Download: ‘Building resilience in international development

Other titles in the PSJP Defining key concepts series include: Dignity and developmentLeadership and development 2.0, Measuring social change and Understanding sustainability

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Waburoko Kizito Michael

Great ideas