Social Resilience

Supportive communities, strong livelihood options and confidence in the face of challenges are elements of social resilience that help people cope with shocks and stressors.

Community Ties

Social Capital Builds Community and Resilience

Social Resilience in Practice

Social Support in Crises

Whether it be in the context of violence or displacement as was the case in South Sudan, during famine in Somalia, or in the aftermath of natural disaster in Haiti or Japan, research is telling us pretty loudly that households rely on each other for lifesaving support like food, shelter, cash, information about livelihood, and safe passage. And we know that during crisis people’s own social networks are often far more important than formal humanitarian aid.

Dr. Jeeyon Kim, Senior Researcher, mercy Corps

Human Capital Development for a Better Future 

Human capital development means helping individuals achieve valuable skills and knowledge, which allow them to contribute to their communities, pursue lucrative work opportunities and ultimately lean on their abilities to weather stressful events.  

Investment in this kind of human capital starts with public access to services that meet basic needs. Long-term resilience requires investments in nutrition, health and education to decrease the intergenerational transmission of poverty to future generations. Better outcomes establish assets for future generations to access a variety of livelihood strategies and increase economic growth. 

Public services, such as sanitation, water and electricity, also contribute to a healthy life and productivity. When governments are unable or unwilling to provide these services, or when communities or populations are excluded from access, the result is often food insecurity and malnutrition, illness and limited livelihood options and social interactions. 

These advantages result in better outcomes and establish assets for future generations to access a variety of livelihood strategies to increase economic growth. 

Psychological Well-Being and Coping Strategies 

Understanding the perceptions, subjective motivations and social and cognitive elements of individuals, households and communities is critical to understanding best approaches for resilience. Emerging research suggests that specific mindsets — self-efficacy, aspiration and confidence to adapt — are associated with better outcomes for people facing serious challenges. 

Social resilience contributes to a sense of confidence in a future. People with a greater sense of control over their lives are less likely to engage in negative coping and life strategies — pulling children out of school, taking on debt or liquidating assets — that damage their ability to absorb and recover from shocks. 

el salvador girl in classroom

Human Capital

Investments in human capital can drive sustainable growth and poverty reduction, creating more resilient societies.

Who We Are

Social Capital

Social capital builds resilience by enabling individuals and communities to support each other in times of need.

Psychosocial Dynamics

Psychosocial Dynamics

Self-efficacy, aspiration and the confidence to adapt can boost households’ resilience by reducing negative coping mechanisms and encouraging people in crisis to seek formal assistance. 

A woman works as a livestock vendor at a market in Marsabit County, Kenya. Through the market business, she can feed her family and pay education fees for her children. USAID has constructed 20 livestock markets in northern Kenya, enabling livestock producers and local women to sell food and livestock and have a source of livelihood.     Photo Credit: Nevil Jackson, ACDI/VOCA

Gender Equity

Gender equity and inclusion influences resilience from the global level to the community and household level, increasing everyone’s ability to cope with shocks.