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Quantifying community resilience in South Sudan: The FEED project (Fortifying Equality and Economic Diversification)

Martin J. Bunch, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Sohrab Pathan, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Antoinette G. Battaglia, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Bryn Greer-Wootten, Department of Geography, York University; Institute for Social Research, York University
Alana Mascoll, World Vision Canada
Trevor Russell, World Vision Canada
Josh Folkema, World Vision Canada


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An analysis of community resilience in South Sudan, based on household survey data, is presented in this paper. The data were collected as part of the Fortifying Equality and Economic Diversification (FEED) Project (a consortium project of World Vision, Oxfam, and CARE). The goal of the project was to meet basic food security needs and reduce vulnerability amongst empowered communities and households in Greater Bahr el Ghazal and the Equatorias in South Sudan. Three dimensions of resilience (absorptive, adaptive, and transformative) were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA). In this analysis, the components identified those characteristics of households, such as avoidance of negative coping strategies, capacity for disaster management at the community level, and access to social capital, that are important factors in resilience with respect to food security. Some of the principal components point to targets for programming. For example, in times of food scarcity, programming could target capacity building to construct storage facilities that are resistant to pests, rain, and dampness. This finding supports positive coping strategies, e.g., drawing upon stores of food in times of food scarcity. Similarly, building social capital is another programming opportunity indicated by these results, because drawing upon social networks to feed household members is a better coping strategy than, for example, selling liquid assets, harvesting immature crops, or simply going hungry. Furthermore, the analysis using PCA lends itself to the development of indices of resilience. Household scores on three resilience indices are produced: absorptive, adaptive, and transformative resilience. This allows for the identification of most and least resilient households. With this approach household scores on these indices can be aggregated to higher levels, such as the village level.

Key words

community resilience; development resilience; food security; international development; principal component analysis; resilience; South Sudan

Copyright © 2020 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087