Launched: The BRACED Resilience Exchange

Published: 20th September 2017 16:27Last Updated: 6th December 2017 9:55
Harina and Bishnu Khatri

Credit: Bimala Rai Colavito

Summary

Harina Devi Khatri and her husband Bishnu are vegetable farmers with three children who live in Hirapur Doti district in Nepal. Thanks to the BRACED Anukulan project they are now linked to markets and services through their local Rural Collection Centre, and are applying new methods of cultivating their crops. With these new approaches, Harina is growing more vegetables and has increased her household income: previously she earned £153 annually from potatoes only, but with the expanded vegetable production her income has increased to £538. The extra income allows Harina to spend more on her children’s education and nutrition, invest more back into her vegetable farm and save for the future.

Their story is one of twenty-three individual 'stories of change' presented in the BRACED Resilience Exchange, providing insights into how resilience is being built in practice across the diverse DFID-funded programme. Many of these stories cover climate resilient agriculture, from countries including Myanmar, Burkina Faso, Mali and South Sudan, as well as the Nepali example mentioned.

The climate is changing rapidly. With limited resources and time to build resilience, we must learn what works, how it is working, and how this can be scaled up, if we're serious about supporting the people whose situation makes them most vulnerable to the impacts of climate extremes and disasters. The collective ambition of the 120+ organisations that make up BRACED is to do exactly that. Part way through the journey, the BRACED Resilience Exchange shares what has been learned, presenting partners' experiences on activities to build resilience in practice, as well as how to support learning, and assessing key issues on evaluating impact in resilience building.

In the Resilience Exchange

Go to the Resilience Exchange website to find out more and to browse the full report, or use the links below to jump to sections of interest.

  • Stories of change: BRACED projects work across 13 countries to assist up to 5 million people to become more resilient to climate extremes and disasters. This section of the Resilience Exchange presents stories of how BRACED is doing this in practice, looking at what activities are being implemented to build resilience, and how individuals and communities are benefitting.

  • BRACED activities to build resilience: This section identifies some of the environmental and socio-economic processes challenging development and affecting individuals and communities in BRACED countries. Many of these are becoming more entrenched as a result of climate change. Working in consortia, BRACED partners are attempting to build the resilience of vulnerable and marginalised groups through a wide range of activities aimed at addressing different risks. 

  • Evaluating progress and supporting collective learning: This section covers learning from BRACED relevant to the operation of a large-scale resilience-building programme, providing information for those planning resilience programmes and for organisations leading consortia. In particular it reflects on the experience of evaluating progress in resilience building, and collective learning activities to support partners in a programme such as BRACED.

Key Messages

  • Natural resource management: Livelihoods based on natural resources are particularly vulnerable to climate change. BRACED aims to promote adoption of climate-resilient farming techniques and increase the sustainability of agriculture. Activities such as agroforestry, improved water and soil management and storage facilities are increasing food supply and dietary diversity, and helping diversify incomes. To move beyond supporting subsistence livelihoods towards building resilience over the longer term, projects must ensure that any new activities are resilient to changes in climate, economically viable and socially acceptable.

  • Supporting local economic development and access to financial services: An increased and stable income, supported by access to appropriate financial services, can help build people’s capacity to manage hard times, particularly if they are linked to climate services that help households choose the right investments each season. Financial services such as loans should be sustainable in the face of climate shocks and take into account effects on economic development.

  • Promoting gender equality and empowerment: Enabling vulnerable people and communities to gain more control over decisions that affect their lives and increasing their access to services and opportunities enhances their livelihoods and wellbeing. This is particularly true for women and girls, but also many rural communities. However, challenging and changing social norms –around access to land, information or decision-making – through resilience projects requires long-term, deep engagement with communities. All projects, whether they are gender sensitive or explicitly trying to bring about gender transformation, must take into account local customs and issues such as gender-based violence.

  • Using climate information in decision-making: Climate shocks and stresses can be more easily managed with on-time, reliable climate and weather information. However, information is often hard for users to access, understand or use to inform decisions. Some BRACED projects have helped better translate and communicate this information, tailoring it to community needs. Building trust in forecasts and their continued provision has been central to BRACED; now a key challenge is ensuring user-oriented climate services are invested in at national and international level to avoid service disruptions that erode that trust.

  • Shock-responsive service delivery and programming: The delivery of development and resilience projects can be severely affected when a shock or stress – such as a drought, flood or conflict – requires emergency redirection of resources, which can erode project progress. Contingency funding for local crises can be used to help protect development gains, particularly when it is based on forecasts and helps people prepare for foreseeable extreme events. Flexible funding could help agencies embed resilience in their programmes and into the systems in which they are working.

  • Strengthening risk governance: BRACED projects are working predominantly at a local level to advocate for changes in risk management and adaptation policy and practice. They report that it takes time, persistence and meaningful engagement with government to secure its buy-in. There is no one correct entry point with government, but projects may need to work with national agencies in parallel to strengthening local Disaster Risk Reduction plans. Working with regional institutions can also support scaling-up of effective local practices.

  • Evaluating progress: Measuring the progress of a resilience programme is challenging, complex and resource-intensive. Different evaluation approaches and methods are needed to understand changes in resilience at the intervention, project and programme levels. Evaluations need to be useful to practitioners, their partners and the communities in which they are working. Appropriate timing of evaluations is crucial, with some interventions likely to produce an impact only after the main project activities are concluded – a reality that should be taken into consideration in project, programme, and evaluation design. For example, to budget for impact evaluations after programme completion.

  • Collective learning: When designing activities to support learning, a range of approaches is needed to accommodate different learning styles and priorities, and the timing of learning activities is crucial. Flexibility to accommodate serendipitous learning – including budget and incentive structures for doing so – can enable project teams to discover valuable new connections, knowledge and insights.

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