Advancing resilience evidence, practice and investments

As a network of 180+ resilience measurement and learning specialists from around the world, the Resilience Measurement, Evidence & Learning Community of Practice (RMEL CoP) aims to build evidence of what works to strengthen the capacities of individuals, communities, and systems to survive and even thrive in the face of shocks and stresses – evidence that can inform and influence development practice, policy, and investments across diverse sectors and geographies.

With financial support from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Community of Practice is excited to announce awards to four collaborative teams for initiatives that promise to move resilience measurement, evidence, and practice forward in these new and emergent areas:

  • advancing resilience measurement in urban development with a focus on inclusion and equity
  • applying resilience measurement approaches to support adaptive management
  • validating the use of new technologies in resilience measurement.

Congratulations to:

Detailed descriptions of the awards follow. Updates on the Open Innovation Awards will be available during the coming 6 to 12 months on the Community of Practice website and through webinars and events.

Photo Credit: Slum Dwellers International (SDI)

Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and Global Infrastructure Basel (GIB) Foundation for Driving change through alignment of community driven data, sustainable and resilient infrastructure project data and systems driven data

“Global struggles for poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and resilience will be won or lost in informal settlements.”

The challenge. Inequality and climate change are defining challenges of our time; acute underinvestment in basic infrastructure and shelter manifest as sprawling slums characterized by poverty and vulnerability. With a billion people now living in slums around the world, it is critical to increase and shape investment in climate-resilient infrastructure in ways that enable slum dwellers to inform and partner with city government and development partners to scale inclusive solutions.

The innovation response. To speed-up the attraction of public and private investors towards investments in sustainable and resilient informal settlement upgrading by bringing existing infrastructure investment certification tools together with community data.

The initiative will apply the Standard for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure (SuRe®) Smartscan, a tool that assesses – and seeks to improve – infrastructure projects against 75 criteria on sustainability and resilience. This pilot will combine the use of this tool with informal settlement data from the SDI Know Your City data system. In this way, the pilot will build evidence and incentives for resilient informal settlement upgrading that can inform decision-makers implementing the Resilience Strategy for the City of Durban, South Africa. Using participatory learning and action (PLA) methodologies, the partners will build collaboration with various stakeholders and slum communities to develop the business case for risk management and illustrate the value and benefits of collaborative approaches to infrastructure projects.

To promote wider application of the experience and the results, SDI and GIB will collaborate with other members of the RMEL CoP, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) and the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET). There is potential to replicate this approach in other 100RC cities in South Africa, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Kenya. Using the Know Your City data systems and the SuRe® Standard, cities will be able to carry out impact measurement of any sustainable and resilient infrastructure, and to prove the business case for sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

Itad in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) – and Slum Dwellers International (SDI) for Collaborative Resilience Evidence and Action in Cities Characterized by Informality

“When a billion slum dwellers are engaged in the process of defining, planning, monitoring and evaluating resilience we lay the ground for truly transformative contributions to resilience learning and influence.”

The challenge. “Generally, urban frameworks focus primarily on systems, institutions, and policies that deliver resilience, rather than on the agency of people and the resources available to them” (ODI and the RMEL CoP)

The innovation response. To pilot ways to strengthen the connections between city-level resilience planning and slum dwellers, through integrating SDI’s Know Your City data into the 100RC Resilience Strategy development process in Accra and Cape Town.

This pilot will demonstrate pathways to support “bottom-up” city resilience planning in a way that is driven by informal and often marginalized groups such as slum dwellers, particularly women. In doing so, it will provide insights for other 100RC cities in how to use data and knowledge from informal settlements to inform their resilience strategies. It also will deepen relationships between slum communities and city governments, increase understanding of the possibilities for inclusion of informal settlements in a city’s resilience building, and promote appreciation among resilience measurement and monitoring, evaluation, and learning specialists of the value addition that comes from applying community-gathered data to resilience planning, action, monitoring, and evaluation in the urban context.

Itad in partnership with Mercy Corps for Understanding how adaptive management can support resilience strengthening

“Transferring resilience measurement information and systems into front-line practice could help implementers to take the “small-bets”, use rapid feedback loops, and change activities that bolster people’s resilience capacities in real-time.”

The challenge. How to direct and tailor interventions to boost latent resilience capacities in at-risk communities, especially when an approaching threat is identified. How can resilience measurement and learning be used to design and shape real-time, adaptive management decision-making?

The innovation response. To bridge the gap between evaluators of resilience outcomes and implementers of resilience interventions.

This collaborative scoping study will explore how resilience implementers currently make decisions and the ways in which resilience measurement and evidence can support decision-making and adaptive management.

Working with members of the CoP, the team will produce a synthesis report, distilling major lessons for resilience implementation practice, and identifying the types of tools needed to integrate resilience measurement into decision-making and management processes.

Flowminder Foundation in partnership with Mercy Corps and the Feinstein International Centre (FIC) of Tufts University for Mobile Phone Data for Resilience Analysis

“Resilience can be defined as ‘the capacity that ensures adverse stressors and shocks do not have long-lasting adverse development consequences’ (FSIN). But measuring resilience in the field is challenging; a critical obstacle is the lack of high frequency data on individual and household well-being.”

The challenge. Current approaches to high-frequency data collection are costly and have limited geographical coverage. Mobile phone call detail records (CDR) are passively and inexpensively produced at high spatial and temporal resolution. Can these records – which indicate phone top-up expenditures, call duration, size and structure of calling networks – provide indicators of socio-economic status and well-being, help to signal resilience to shocks, and monitor recovery?

The innovation response. To establish the link between individual well-being and mobile phone CDR, providing a methodology through which researchers and practitioners can use CDR to derive proxies of well-being at high frequency, with fine spatial resolution and across large geographies.

These data that are automatically generated by mobile network operators across the world can potentially be applied to strengthen existing early warning systems, and to better target, monitor, and evaluate the outcomes of resilience interventions.

The collaboration team will explore the relationship between CDR data and food security, and construct and validate a model for predicting food security with CDRs. This work will be applied by practitioners in the form of a dashboard to inform programming. The outcomes will be shared through a working paper.

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