Enhancing resilience in the Horn of Africa

Derek Headey and Adam Kennedy
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

In 2011, the Horn of Africa faced the worst drought in 60 years, leading to emergency food insecurity levels in Kenya and Ethiopia and famine in Somalia. At the height of the drought, more than 13 million people across the region required humanitarian assistance, and more than 700,000 refugees fled Somalia.

At the same time, many communities showed resilience in the face of these harsh conditions, demonstrating effective coping strategies that reduced the economic impact of the drought and enabled them to maintain a sufficient degree of food security, health, and well-being.

The workshop, “Enhancing Resilience in the Horn of Africa: An Evidence Based Workshop on Strategies for Success,” held December 13—14, 2011 in Washington, DC, was co-hosted by USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, Bureau for Food Security, Bureau for Africa, and Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning. It was facilitated by USAID’s Office of Food for Peace-funded TOPS program, as well as the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Providing a platform for learning, the workshop identified successful strategies, enabling conditions, and policies for strengthening resilience, as well as approaches that have been less successful. The workshop was principally designed to initiate a dialogue among donors, private voluntary organizations, researchers and academics, and the private sector on evidence-based strategies for enhancing resilience in the Horn of Africa. The dialogue centered on several key issues:

  • What is meant by resilience and resilience programming?
  • What are successful strategies and enabling conditions that can help build resilience, and what lessons can be learned from previous efforts?
  • What value does resilience programming have in mitigating the effects of shocks, speeding recovery from them, and building “pathways out of poverty”?
  • What are the linkages between resilience and economic growth?

All material from the workshop, including videos and Power Points of the plenaries, are available at the workshop: https://www.marketlinks.org/library/enhancing-resilience-horn-africa-evidence-based-workshop-strategies-success-agenda.