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Community Resilience Performance Measurement Methodology and Standard Indicators
August-September 2014, for IFRC

Though the concept of resilience has become omnipresent and increasingly applied in the aid sector, questions of how to measure resilience or the results of resilience-building programmes remain complex and pose numerous difficulties for operators. To help with internal discussions at the IFRC, Groupe URD carried out a study in order to propose a methodology (tools, standards, indicators, etc.) for measuring resilience and evaluating the effectiveness of activities carried out in favour of community resilience.

The concept of Resilience has become omnipresent in the field of humanitarian action. It has been endorsed by bilateral and multilateral organizations and NGOs are now increasingly exploring how it can be implemented in the field.

Nevertheless, measuring resilience or the performance of resilience programmes remains very challenging, due to the following issues: the definition of resilience, establishing the appropriate level of analysis and the standardization of a measurement method.

For the IFRC, resilience is defined as the ability of individuals, communities, organisations, or countries exposed to disasters and crises and underlying vulnerabilities to anticipate, reduce the impact of, cope with, and recover from the effects of adversity without compromising their long-term prospects [1].

Thus, resilience to shock and stress is the result of a complex and multi-layered process, which has to be analyzed at several interconnected levels involving individuals, communities, national and global actors. Community resilience puts the focus on the ability and capacity of communities to deal with shocks and stresses. This resilience is strongly influenced by external factors and institutions.

Thus, community resilience can be measured in terms of the impact of resilience building activities on communities or the level of progress towards resilience. This raises the question of when to measure: the final stage (impact on communities) or during the resilience building process? In parallel, it is essential that the measurement of resilience should be contextualized and relative to specific risks.

The objective of the present study was to:

  • analyse the main theories and practices related to measuring community resilience in connection with internal discussions within the IFRC about its road map for resilience;
  • draw lessons from this analysis, and propose a methodology (tools, standards, indicators, etc.) to measure resilience capacity (at the community level) and evaluate the effectiveness of activities aimed at building resilience.

[1] IFRC (2012), « The road to Resilience - Bridging relief and development for a more sustainable future », IFRC discussion paper on resilience, June 2012.