Promoting community and women’s leadership in building resilience: Lessons from the Ready for Anything project

This is a summary publication of the main lessons learned from ActionAid flagship project Ready for Anything that was implemented from July 2013 to December 2016. The project promoted a holistic approach to building community resilience in rural communities in Afghanistan, Malawi, Myanmar and Nepal. It aimed to equip women in the target communities with the skills, knowledge and confidence to lead community resilience building. Women and families were supported to adapt farming practices to tackle climate change, using a Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture approach. Communities were also supported to diversify their livelihoods and implement Disaster Risk Reduction strategies. At policy level, the project aimed to influence government institutions to adopt policies and practices which support community resilience.

The lessons presented here are the outcome of an independent evaluation of the Ready for Anything project. This evaluation revealed a few important strengths of the project, including:

  • A community-led and holistic approach to resilience building increased the project’s impact
  • Empowering women is a critical investment to build their resilience and challenge gender norms
  • Working through strong partners and structures contributed to the effectiveness of the project
  • A design that promoted flexibility to explore a multitude of approaches in different contexts

This lessons learned document is intended to guide ActionAid programming, fundraising and policy staff in most effective resilience building approaches. It is also hoped that the wider sector will use these findings in designing and implementing resilience building programmes.