Impact evaluation of the WFP Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters and the Effects of Climate Change programme with a specific focus on the resilience dimension


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The Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters and the Effects of Climate Change (ER) programme is a joint initiative by the Government of Bangladesh and the World Food Programme (WFP) that aims at addressing the vulnerability of the rural population (especially the ultra-poor) exposed to natural disasters and to the effects of climate change. It was started in 2011 in two distinct parts of the country: the river erosion prone areas of the northwest and the cyclone and salinity affected coastal belt in the south. Through a 3-year cycle of support and training activities one of its main expected outcomes is to strengthen the resilience of the targeted communities.
Although several components of the ER programme have already been internally and externally assessed, the specific objective of building the resilience of the targeted population has not. In this context, the WFP office in Bangladesh commissioned an evaluation of the ER programme in 2015, with the particular objective of assessing the programme’s effectiveness in terms of improving beneficiaries’ resilience. This report presents the key findings of this evaluation.
The assessment draws partially on recent conceptual advances made in the understanding of resilience in the context of food security, where resilience is understood as “the ability of individuals, households, communities, institutions or higher-level systems to adequately deal with shocks and stressors” (the terms ‘adequately’ referring to the ability to avoid short and longer term negative impacts).
In the absence of any resilience baseline data, an ex-post treatment versus control approach was adopted where the responses (outcome) and ability to recover from shock/ stressors (impact) of the treatment group (households who benefited from the programme by being participants in the activities) were compared to the responses and ability to recover of control households (non-recipients with similar demographics and socioeconomic background living out of found to be similar between the two groups, but others differed. In particular (despite our effort to ensure that control and treatment groups were comparable) households in the treatment group were observed to be exposed to a higher number of shocks/stressors than those in the control group. The nature of these shocks/stressors also differed slightly, with control households more frequently affected by some idiosyncratic shocks such as serious illness or accident, while treatment households seem to be more exposed to covariant shocks and stressors such as flooding from excessive rainfall. On the other hand both groups reported similar levels of exposure to other co-variant (in particular cyclones) and idiosyncratic shocks (such as e.g. loss of small livestock) and showed similar self-assessed levels of shock/stressor severity.Further analysis shows that, although treatment households reported to be more exposed to shocks/stressors, they appear to display a statistically lower propensity to engage in detrimental responses (including reducing food consumption; changing the type of food consumed; reducing family expenses; taking loan; and seeking assistance from community members) than the control group.

  • Publisher: World Food Programme

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