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The Road to Resilience: Case Studies on Building Resilience in the Horn of Africa

The Road to Resilience: Case Studies on Building Resilience in the Horn of Africa   

How can relief and development programs promote resilience in regions that experience recurrent crises? The six case studies in this document describe some of the ways that CRS has responded to the following challenges in the Horn of Africa:

  • Drought-related climate change
  • Environmental degradation
  • Floods
  • Crop pests and diseases

Download the PDF (2.2 MB)

You might also be interested in the Building Resilience manual.


In recent years, recurrent crises have threatened to undercut important development gains, particularly in the greater Horn of Africa. Extreme weather events are increasing both in frequency and severity, likely as a result of climate change. Drought occurs more often, degrading land further, which leads to flooding when rains finally come. These hazards can become disasters if communities are unable to cope with the resulting impacts using their own resources—a risk that increases as each event further depletes the resources required to respond and rebuild.

For communities to escape chronic poverty, they must increase their resilience to withstand shocks. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) defines resilience as the ability of people, households, communities, countries and systems to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth. Catholic Relief Services has been helping to build people’s resilience for decades across the Horn of Africa through traditional food security programs as well as emergency response activities. In 2001, CRS began implementing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) programming in Ethiopia, expanding over time to seven other East Africa country programs. Now CRS helps communities to enhance their resilience through a wide range of initiatives that reduce disaster risk and increase community skills, assets and incomes.

This publication presents six resilience case studies from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Each case study provides project details, including community involvement, key actions taken, achievements and recommendations. CRS’ aim is to promote the use of best practices and joint learning among development professionals implementing resilience initiatives by sharing these studies as part of its Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CM-DRR) Learning Alliance.

By building resilience between and throughout hazard cycles, we can save lives and reduce the cost and scale of future humanitarian responses. Moving forward, CRS will continue to work toward long-term food security by building resilience through agriculture, water supply, health and nutrition, income generation and natural resource management projects.


Acknowledgements ii
List of abbreviations iv
Drought-Related Climate Change 3
Kenya: Drought Safety Net in Garissa County
Environmental Degradation 16
Ethiopia: Integrated Watershed Management in Harbu 17
Tanzania: Soil and Water Conservation at Saramay Hill
Floods 29
South Sudan: Community Participation in Flood Management in Bor County 30
Sudan: Reducing Disaster Risk within IDP Communities in Khartoum
Crop Pests and Diseases 41
Uganda: Innovative Responses to Cassava Disease
Conclusion 48
References 49


Publication details

Publisher: Catholic Relief Services (August 2013)
Booklet: 56 pages
Language: English
Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

Posted on September 4, 2013

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