With the support of USAID, Mercy Corps and our partners conducted a Strategic Resilience Assessment in Karamoja, Uganda to identify which groups are most vulnerable to shocks and stresses, and the resilience capacities people need to learn and adapt.
Mercy Corps works in places characterized by fragility and crisis, where the impacts of shocks and stresses threaten people’s ability to get ahead. Through shared analysis, learning and action, our Resilience Approach helps communities identify and address underlying vulnerabilities, minimize exposure to risks and strengthen resilience capacities to achieve positive, inclusive change.
Resilience thinking deepens our collective understanding of complex and dynamic systems and the people who rely on them. To help navigate the uncertainty and unpredictability inherent in these systems, we regularly revisit a set of guiding resilience questions (illustrated above in yellow):
- What boundaries and systems shape a community’s development?
- What goals do communities have for their future?
- What shocks and stresses threaten these goals?
- Which groups are most vulnerable to these threats, and why?
- What capacities will help people cope with and adapt to these threats, and transform their future?
As illustrated in Figure 1, answering these questions enables our teams and partners to design resilient development strategies that adapt as contexts shift, helping us learn how to support vulnerable rural and urban communities in achieving their long-term goals.
Because we recognize that an effective approach to resilience must take into account differences due to gender and identity, we have invested in research and toolkits to better understand and apply important principles around the intersection of gender, inclusion, and resilience.
Our Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS)
Mercy Corps developed the Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS) methodology (pictured above in blue) to help practitioners use resilience thinking to prevent instability from derailing communities’ progress toward humanitarian and development objectives. STRESS enables teams to analyze their contexts and develop resilience theories of change, which allow teams to create more robust strategies and targeted interventions that support communities in achieving long-term well-being outcomes and transformational change.