New Christian Aid framework for empowering poor communities

By agency reporter
March 25, 2016

International development agency Christian Aid has launched a new framework outlining one of its ‘priority approaches’ to tackling poverty – building the resilience of women, men and children in poor and marginalised communities.

Published this week, the organisation’s new Resilience Framework has been developed as a practical tool designed to bridge the gap between humanitarian and development work.

It will guide Christian Aid’s overseas programmes and partners as they help people in poverty to exercise their rights, act on their own behalf, access resources and respond to the many risks and pressures they face. 

This framework is outlined in a new paper setting out Christian Aid’s understanding of resilience, which it defines as “a capacity-building process to enhance the ability of individuals and communities to anticipate, organise for and adapt to change”.

At the heart of this approach is a belief that “individual and community resilience can be enhanced by empowering poor and vulnerable women and men, boys and girls to manage risks and improve their wellbeing, so that they can live with dignity”.

Christian Aid’s Head of Humanitarian Policy, Practice and Advocacy, Michael Mosselmans, explains: “Poverty, inequality and vulnerability are interconnected: poor people face disproportionate exposure to a variety of pressures that limit their ability to improve their lives. They lack the power to make decisions that can help them withstand continual change and exploit its potential benefits.

“This is why Christian Aid aims to put power into the hands of poor and marginalised people, so that they can live with dignity, develop a strong voice in the decisions that affect them, grow more resilient to risks and gain opportunities to thrive.”

The Resilience Framework contains principles for creating sustainability and long-term impact. Among them is the need to improve integration across different programme areas, namely: disaster risk reduction; community health; humanitarian response; tackling violence and building peace; livelihoods; climate resilient agriculture and natural resource management; and shifting power relations.

“Our experience shows that any approach to building resilience must be holistic, flexible, and integrated,” says Michael Mosselmans. “These principles are also key to achieving the global sustainable development goals. What’s more, this process must be inclusive, accountable and partner-focused, led by people and communities.

“Through this new framework we hope to promote a virtuous circle, whereby people are supported to strengthen their livelihoods by capitalising on opportunities, while simultaneously managing risks that threaten them.”

Christian Aid’s Resilience Framework is a tried and tested approach that builds on a 2012 framework developed by the organisation, as well as on subsequent lessons from its work in countries such as Mali, Nicaragua, Bangladesh and the occupied Palestinian territory.

* A copy of the framework can be downloaded here.

* Christian Aid has also published a new report, ‘Putting power into resilience: Case studies from around the world’, available here

* Christian Aid http://www.christianaid.org.uk/index.aspx

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