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Practice Paper

Improving resilience measurement: Learning to adapt – Itad Practice Paper 01

Strengthening resilience is critical if communities are to respond positively to extreme events, climate change and disasters. The concept of resilience has gained prominence in science, policy and practitioner circles, as a positive attribute of people to be strengthened.

The heightened interest has led to an increase in the number of approaches to measuring resilience. In international development settings, this is so implementers and donor agencies can demonstrate results and understand whether resilience-strengthening programmes are achieving their objective to reduce poverty and improve people’s wellbeing. There is a plethora of theoretical frameworks and approaches available and in use, which are compelling but often hard to apply. This has left the evaluation field grappling to provide meaningful evidence on resilience.

This paper represents a point of reflection based on Itad’s experience of applied approaches across major resilience programmes. The paper shows how we navigated some of these challenges and found pragmatic ways to capture insight and understanding about resilience. Since Itad began supporting development agencies and practitioners to monitor and evaluate resilience interventions in 2013, we have learnt a great deal about how best to go about it and also what to avoid. Our innovations and learning from the UK former DFID’s global flagship resilience programme Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED), and other significant resilience initiatives, such as the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) have been invaluable in this regard. While we recognise that there will be no definitive ‘right’ way to assess resilience, we now have a better understanding of ‘what works’.