AEA Conference 2013 "Measuring Resilience at the Project and Program Level" - Part 1

The American Evaluation Association Conference took place in Washington DC, 16-19 October 2013.

This panel session at the American Evaluation Association Conference in Washington DC took place early morning on 18 October, chaired by Timothy Frankenberger of TANGO International and presented 4 very interesting presentations on measuring resilience.

Measuring Resilience at a program and project level has been evolving quickly in the last year as donors, academics and implementers gain a deeper understanding of this complex and dynamic concept. Practitioners and academics on this panel shared their experiences either conceptualizing models to measure resilience or testing a variety of methods and drawing lessons from their experiences.

A Model of Resilience Measurement for Poverty and Food Insecurity (Mark A Constas)

Using a theory of resilience as a point of departure, the present paper describes the way in which a proposed measure of resilience may assess the dynamic relationship between shocks and responses related to poverty and food security. As one of the main aims of assessing this relationship is to identify causal mechanism to inform programs and policies, the measurement model we describe is one that seeks to identify the most influential variables and assess how influence of those variables persists or varies across contexts. With reference to data collection tools, we argue for the inclusion of quantitative and qualitative instruments. The quantitative components specify how measures of resilience introduce a special set of demands related to the frequency, intensity, and placement of multi-scalar data that is inherently stochastic. The qualitative component makes use of positive and negative deviance case studies to explain distribution-based variations observed in the quantitative findings.

Measuring Resilience Among Communities in Niger (Heather Dolphin)

In an attempt to find out whether Catholic Relief Services' (CRS) Food for Peace (FFP) programming builds resiliency in the Sahel, CRS partnered with TANGO to test a conceptual framework they had recently developed to measure resilience. The framework integrates a livelihoods approach, a disaster risk reduction (DRR) approach, and elements of a climate change approach (to address the underlying causes of vulnerability). CRS found that its FFP programming had an effect on dietary and income diversity; it seemed to help households buffer against shocks by assisting to preserve land holdings; FFP households used and plan to use more technologies than non FFP households. Less was learned about community resilience. This and other important lessons learned were shared for use in future research regarding the model, the methodology and the context.

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