Exploring the Global Resilience Partnership

Emma Samman and Emmanuel Letouzé Blog

As mentioned in our Summer Newsletter and a recent article on CGIAR’s website, Data-Pop Alliance is part of an ODI- and CGIAR-led consortium with Kenya’s National Drought Management Authority and Red Cross Society, GeoPoll, and Aspiration, that seeks to get funding for a 2-year research project assessing the value of subjective approaches to measuring resilience in arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya selected and supported by the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) of the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

The proposed project will aim to measure and better understand people’s perceptions of their own resilience through call center and SMS based data collection and how the results compare with those obtained from conventional household surveys. A key goal is to find user-friendly ways of sharing data we collect so that local actors can use them to understand better their own communities and identify areas in need of change. On Data-Pop Alliance’s side, the project has so far involved Emma Samman and Patrick Vinck as team members, with technical support from Marion Dumas and Emmanuel Letouzé.

Building on and feeding into our growing body of work in Big Data and climate change, environmental stress and social resilience—with, among other activities, the forthcoming publication of a Synthesis Report on “Big Data and Climate Change and Disaster Resilience” for the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID)—a specific input we hope to bring to the project is a better understanding of how people’s assessments of risk intersect with the climate shocks we can identify through satellite imagery.

Another avenue we are eager to explore for in the next few months as part of this project, if it is funded, and others such as our World Bank-supported research project on public safety in Colombia, is how cell-phone data may help characterize and quantify community-level social networks, cohesion and ultimately resilience. This line of work will expand on seminal research on friendship networks and job satisfaction by Nathan Eagle, David Lazer and Data-Pop Alliance’s Academic Director Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, as well as risk-sharing strategies in the aftermath of a natural disaster by Joshua Blumenstock. Nathan Eagle and Marcel Fafchamps.

We hope that improving and incorporating these approaches may deepen and extend our collective understanding and ability to affect the social determinants of developing communities’ resilience to various stress factors in the coming years.

Measuring resilience: beyond income and assets to the intangible and subjective by Laura Cramer, Research Consultant (CCAFS Flagship 4), CGIAR