Rethinking Resilience

woman holding produce in field
September 08, 2014

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Prioritizing gender integration to enhance household and community resilience to food insecurity in the Sahel

Nowhere is answering the question of how to increase resilience more critical than across the Sahel, a region plagued by chronic poverty, food insecurity, drought, ecosystem degradation, and conflict. Mercy Corps conducted field research in Mali, Niger, and Northern Nigeria to examine the differing vulnerabilities and capacities of men, women, boys, and girls to understand what helps build the resilience of individuals, households, and communities. We found numerous structural barriers and unequal power dynamics that need to be addressed to ensure a truly resilient Sahel. Among the many factors, one issue looms largest: gender inequality.

Mercy Corps believes that it is impossible to build resilience in households and communities without also addressing systemic gender inequality. As an aid community, when we do not account for and address gender inequality, we ignore factors that entrench vulnerability for the entire population. We also miss factors that would enable us to support households and communities to become more resilient.