A new approach to eradicating extreme poverty
The world has made great advances in reducing poverty over the past few decades, but it is becoming more difficult to reach the most vulnerable in the hardest places (fragile contexts), which have become the center of the global development crisis. Overlapping crises of the pandemic, climate change and disasters, inflation, conflict, and global food insecurity are having the greatest impact on the most vulnerable people in the hardest places.
These challenges call for a new approach to eradicating extreme poverty. Conventional development has focused on meeting short- and long-term needs. What is missing is a focus on identifying complex risks of shocks (like cyclones and epidemics) and stressors (like chronic unemployment and forced displacement) that disrupt development agendas and peoples’ lives and livelihoods, and then fostering resilient solutions.
Food for the Hungry has made resilience a central focus of its work with vulnerable communities in fragile contexts, taking an overarching “shared resilience approach.”
What drives resilience?
Since fragility is an imbalance of higher risks and lower capacities to manage those risks within fragile settings, international efforts must work with societies and governments to foster a range of resilient and positive coping capacities to better absorb shocks and stress, adapt in the face of crises, and to transform formal systems and institutions to get to the root causes of risks and crises that cause extreme poverty.
A core driver of resilience building is what we call social capital, which involves “bonding” within communities, “bridging” across communities, and “linking” between communities and formal institutions and systems for access to information, resources, and responsive action. Social capital helps to better mitigate risks and cope with shocks and stressors.