Gender and Resilience

Gender, Inclusion, and Resilience

Resilience thinking deepens our collective understanding of complex and dynamic systems and the people who rely on them. At Mercy Corps, we recognize that women, men, girls, and boys have diverse and intersecting identities that result in unique needs and capabilities. Our resilience approach responds to complex gender dynamics and increases social inclusion at multiple levels. We seek to decrease individuals’ vulnerability and strengthen their capacity to recover from crisis.

We believe that all people can be powerful agents of resilience in their households and communities, and we are committed to supporting this transformative potential to build more resilient communities.

Through the BRIGE (Building Resilience through the Integration of Gender and Empowerment) Program, Mercy Corps invested in generating knowledge around the intersection of gender and resilience in practice. From 2015-2018, BRIGE worked alongside resilience-focused programs in Nepal, Niger, and Indonesia to refine our gender-sensitive approaches to building resilience to natural disasters. Many of the toolkits, research reports, and case studies shared below were produced through BRIGE. All resources are intended to be shared and adapted to help programs understand, implement, and measure inclusive approaches to building resilience.


Priming Resilience through Intra-Household Change: Addressing Gender Norms

Resilience approaches often focus on community and systems levels. Our research in Nepal and Niger highlights how intra-household socio-cultural norms impact resilience strategies, through exploring the effects of the “Household Dialogue,” an intervention designed to foster inclusive decision-making and gender equity in the household.

Read the report: EN, FR | Read the brief: EN, FR

Intervention Toolkit: Household Dialogue

The Household Dialogue activity, piloted in the Far West and Central Regions of Nepal and the Tillaberi Region of Niger, successfully shifted gender norms around women’s participation in decision-making and activities outside of the home. The toolkit provides user-friendly tools for implementing the Household Dialogue activity. It includes a training manual for participants and facilitators, best practices, a household decision-making tool developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and additional resources to support gender integration and women's empowerment. The toolkit can be easily adapted to fit your context and specific needs.

Learn more | Download the Toolkit: EN, FR

Measuring Gender Dynamics in Resilience: Tools for integrating gender into resilience-focused programs

The Building Resilience through the Integration of Gender and Empowerment (BRIGE) program in Nepal, Niger, and Indonesia identified three critical areas for women’s participation in building resilience: household decision-making, meaningful participation in community groups, and access to market linkages. This toolkit, produced in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), presents three tools to assess these gender-related opportunities for strengthening resilience strategies.

Learn more | Download the Toolkit

Gender and Resilience Assessment Toolkit

The Gender and Resilience Assessment Toolkit incorporates resilience thinking into Mercy Corps’ existing gender analysis framework. It may be used as a guide or template for future gender assessments in Mercy Corps’ resilience-focused programs. This toolkit may be used in full, or in part, to augment resilience assessments such as Mercy Corps' Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS) and/or gender assessments. This toolkit supports staff to view programs through a gender and resilience lens, identify key gaps, and improve resilience programming.

Download the Toolkit

Resilience in Action Brief

This "Resilience in Action" brief produced through the USAID Resilience Evaluation, Analysis, and Learning (REAL) award provides real-world examples and concrete recommendations for strengthening resilience strategy through integrating principles of gender equity and social inclusion.

Download the Brief

Research from the Sahel: Rethinking Resilience

From 2013-2014, Mercy Corps conducted a study in Mali, Niger, and Northern Nigeria to explore how systemic gender inequality hinders efforts to build resilience to food insecurity. This report shares major findings and provides recommendations to implementing organizations, both for programming and organizational processes, and to donor agencies and national governments.

Download the Report

Case Studies

Indonesia: Trust-building as a foundation for resilience

In Bima and Dompu, Indonesia, women’s groups build social capital, which strengthens their collective power and access to financial systems and critical agricultural information. This provides an important safety net for women corn farmers in the unfortunate event of a natural disaster that might threaten their crop.

Read the report

Indonesia: Women as agents of resilience

When natural disasters occur, women and girls are among the most vulnerable because they may have limited access to information (e.g., early warning systems), because of social norms (women are often the last to leave a household), or because they lack important physical training (e.g., not knowing how to swim). However, they can also be powerful agents of resilience in their households and communities. See how two women – Ms. Kusmiyati and Ms. Ika Yudha – are leading innovative initiatives to help their city of Semarang, Indonesia, become more resilient to flooding.

Ms. Kusmiyati | Ms. Ika Yudha

Nepal: Why should we invest in building capacity around gender?

International NGOs play an important role in development processes in Nepal; however, the majority of programming activities are led by local organizations. See how one of Mercy Corps’ local programs in Nepal is leading transformation within the organization following a training on gender and inclusion.

Read the report