The Program to Enhance Resilience in Somalia (PROGRESS)

The Program to Enhance Resilience in Somalia (PROGRESS), funded by USAID, aims to increase the resilience of 16,000 Somali households (around 96,000 individual beneficiaries) to recurrent shocks in the Afgooye district of Lower Shabelle region, Baidoa district of the Bay region, and Belet Hawa district of the Gedo region in Southern Somalia.

Summary

The Program to Enhance Resilience in Somalia (PROGRESS) is a USAID-funded effort led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to strengthen resilience among populations in Somalia. PROGRESS partners- CRS, Benadir University’s Somali Disaster Resilience Institute (BU/SDRI), and the George Washington University’s Institute for Disaster and Fragility Resilience (GW/IDFR), conduct resilience research to deepen understanding of coping and adaptation and pathways to strengthen resilience.

The 2017 data on coping and adaptation were collected during the drought in Somalia, in which 6.7 million people in Somalia experienced acute food insecurity. This report provides a deeper understanding of the real-time effects of and responses and adaptations to the crisis, as well as recommendations for future program development.

  • When the cumulative number of training courses is taken into account, overall drought impact on food security tended to decrease with more training. Training in health and nutrition, community and/or disaster leadership, water resource management, entrepreneurship, conflict resolution, and/or early warning training was the most associated with reduced food insecurity.
  • While the composite women’s empowerment index was not significantly associated with proactive coping, the sub-components of relational and environmental empowerment increased the use of proactive coping. However, the composite empowerment index had a significant negative association with the use of reactive coping strategies. This implies that overall, the higher a woman’s level of empowerment, the less likely she is to apply negative coping strategies. Women’s personal and relational empowerment have a direct and positive association with food security (i.e., negative association with drought impact on food security, but not significant for personal empowerment).
  • Women’s environmental empowerment has no direct association with food security but a positive and significant association with training (unlike personal and relational empowerment, which have a significant and positive association with food security (negative association with drought impact on food security).
  • Structural equation models show that Women’s environmental empowerment has a positive and significant association with training, which in turn has a significant and positive association with food security (i.e. a negative association with drought impact on food security).
  • Women’s personal and relational empowerment have a direct and positive association with food security (i.e., negative association with drought impact on food security).

These findings are consistent with programmatic adjustments made by PROGRESS staff following initial qualitative resilience assessments. Adjustments included overlapping training and group membership opportunities to strengthen larger networks and encourage multi-level interventions and increasing the role of women as peer counsellors and outreach workers to facilitate broader participation not only in training but also in civic and advocacy roles. The findings emphasize the importance of training and women’s empowerment in driving drought adaptation.