Population and the Environment

Measuring Resilience in Africa

Integrated approaches to community development try to address multiple issues and their interlinkages in order to achieve greater positive impact. PRB empowers others to apply integrated approaches in projects encompassing the elements of population, health, and the environment (PHE).

In February 2016, under the USAID-funded Evidence Project, PRB’s Kristen P. Patterson, Smita Gaith, and Kristin Bietsch led a workshop in Arusha, Tanzania, for staff from the Tuungane project in western Tanzania along Lake Tanganyika and Blue Ventures in Madagascar. The workshop focused on brainstorming about what sort of data the projects can collect to measure their impact on communities’ climate change adaptation and resilience to environmental and other shocks.

PRB workshop leaders and attendees in Arusha, Tanzania.

Resilience and adaptation have been international development buzzwords for years but PHE projects have not always collected or analyzed the data in a way that effectively illustrates their contribution to these goals. Resilience and adaptation can only be achieved when individuals, their households, communities, and countries can withstand crises, recover from them, and adapt so as to better cope with them in the future. These concepts are abstract, making them difficult to measure or evaluate.

However, an “aha” moment from the workshop was when participants realized that they had already been collecting data on relevant indicators of resilience and adaptation but had not been applying an analytical lens to them. PRB continued to support the Tuungane project after the workshop in data collection and data analysis to inform their project implementation.