Building resilience from below: the vital role of ‘reliability professionals’ and their networks

Published on 19 May 2023

Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

Tahira Mohamed

The numerous external interventions focused on resilience are often disconnected from local realities, as we discussed in the first blog in this series. Certain standard formulations of problem and solution are offered, informed frequently by a negative narrative about pastoralism and the need for its transformation. The result is a predictable set of standardised ‘resilience’ projects. Ranging from the mundane to the fantastical, they all too often fail or, worse, create forms of dependency on external aid in the face of recurrent crisis.

So, what is the alternative? Can resilience be built from below drawing on local practices and networks? Even if alleviated by some rainfall in March and April, the on-going drought is of course, not the first time people that have faced a severe drought-induced crisis. People point in particular to 1982-84 or 1991-92 and elders list numerous droughts going back a century. Drought is part of normal life in a highly variable environment. However, climate change is making matters worse, as droughts are more prolonged and the pattern of rainfall changes, and vulnerabilities are changing as land access is squeezed and alternative options for movement become constrained by conflict and other factors.

This article is from PASTRES, a research programme that aims to learn from pastoralists about responding to uncertainty and resilience, with lessons for global challenges. PASTRES is co-hosted by IDS.

Read the full story on the PASTRES website

Related content