Resilient Development Practical Guide: A guide developed by practitioners for practitioners

Post date Monday, 10 September, 2018 - 12:22
Document Type Tools and Guidance, Manual/Guideline
Content Themes Resilience, Development, Early Recovery
Sources Oxfam

What you will find in the Guide

This practical guide complements The Future is a Choice, Oxfam’s Framework and Guidance for Resilient Development. It is intended for Oxfam staff working on developing and implementing long-term development programmes and/or humanitarian response, as well as programmes to support resilient development. It follows the programme cycle and draws on the voices and experiences from our country work on resilience. It is not a comprehensive “how to” guide, as work on resilience is context specific and is a lively learning process. Rather, we hope the guide will provide inspiration and useful ideas, experiences and tools, as well as practical peer-to-peer tips.

The guide aims to help Oxfam put our Framework for Resilient Development into practice, by following the phases of the programme cycle.

It is divided into six sections:

1 Identification and assessment phase
2 Design and planning phase
3 Implementation phase
4 Evaluation and exit or transition phase
5 Integrating Gender Justice in resilience programming
6 MEAL, Iterative learning and adaptive management

Each section contains the following categories:

Country Experience

How was the guide developed?

The guide was developed by drawing from our country programmes in Burkina Faso, Nigeria,
Uganda and Vanuatu. We used Oxfam’s Resilient Development Framework as an analytical lens and to organise the learning from the different country programs. As the Framework had only been recently disseminated, none of the programmes had used it when they were designed. This guide was developed by Oxfam teams and partners from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Uganda and Vanuatu, with the support of Oxfam’s Resilience Knowledge Hub and Teresa Cavero (independent consultant). Material was gathered from 4 country and 1 cross-country learning workshops between August and December 2016. Funds were provided by Oxfam Knowledge Fund and UK Aid from the Department for International Development (DFID).

Who is this Guide For?

This guide is for practitioners. We collected the experiences of field practitioners, the tools they are finding useful, and the lessons they are learning as they implement their work in the hope that others will find it useful, get inspired and look to these colleagues as resources. If you would like further information about the guide and/or other available resources, please contact us at:

Implementing a resilience approach needs new ways of working and an enabling environment. Practitioners need the support of senior managers, and we have therefore developed a set of recommendations for line managers and senior managers.

Senior managers are responsible for creating and supporting the ways of working that a resilience approach requires. There is no blueprint for resilience work. Yet there is increasing agreement that taking a resilience approach requires profound changes in ways of working, both internally and with others.

Some of these changes include

  • Commitment to long-term programming: In general, implementing a resilience approach requires time. Usual programme and project cycles are short (3 years on average, with 6 to 12 months for humanitarian interventions, and 2 years for influencing strategies). Internal plans should look to achieve resilience results in the longer term (7 to 10 years).

  • Commitment to gender justice: Gender justice needs to be central to all outcome areas in any resilience work, and all aspects of the programme / project should be seen specifically through a gender lens. Delivering on gender justice requires the skills and commitment of Oxfam staff at different levels. To make gender central throughout the programme implementation, all gender aspects need to be reflected in team composition, job descriptions, budgets, etc.

  • Capacity development: Project staff – including project management and field teams – should be given support to develop and update their capacity for resilience and gender justice programming. All programme staff should be familiar with Oxfam’s approach to gender justice and gender training should be incorporated into each new employee’s induction and refreshed periodically.

  • Learning enabling environment: Work on resilience requires a strong focus on learning and innovation. Teams, organisational structures, work spaces, tools and methodologies and relationships with others should be aimed at optimising learning to inform resilience programming.

In a more general sense, the resilience framework is a good tool for articulating Oxfam’s One Programme Approach. Resilience work around the three capacities is very much about coordinating and boosting synergies between Oxfam’s different working areas (development, humanitarian and influencing) and sectors. Internal structures, planning cycles and ways of working should promote this coordination. This would help overcome the current feeling (as evidenced during the development of this guide) that programmes are not yet working to enhance transformative capacity.

Last but not least, the implementation of Oxfam 2020 is an opportunity to transform Oxfam and we should take advantage of the process to also strengthen the local capacities of partners and networks.

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