Social capital builds resilience by enabling individuals and communities to support each other in times of need.
In certain contexts, social capital allows people to lean on each other during times of need. This is often achieved through both formal and informal support networks. Bonding social capital entails the horizontal links between family members, close friends, and neighbors. Bridging social capital connects communities and groups. And linking social capital connects social networks with some form of authority. Social capital helps protect against, mitigate, and manage shocks or stresses.
Social capital contributes to women’s empowerment, promotes behavior change, and transforms social norms — all of which strengthens resilience capacities. Self-help groups or socioeconomic networks supporting marketing facilitation can strengthen bonding and bridging social capital. Social capital as a source of resilience is highly context specific. Different communities have varying existing and potential forms of social capital. Social capital is an important factor in communities’ ability to mitigate and recover from shocks. However, some groups, such as religious or ethnic minorities, may be excluded from community networks.
A multi-country study in Uganda, Nepal, and the Philippines suggests bonding capital contributes to resilience. Evidence on the role of bridging social capital in making households more resilient is weaker. The results across groups, context, and type of disaster or shock are highly variable. Evidence on linking social capital and resilience is mixed.
Evaluations of USAID resilience projects in East and West Africa demonstrate social capital’s role in building resilience. Bonding and bridging social capital were significantly associated with households’ ability to maintain and increase food security during droughts. Linking capital was positively associated with households’ ability to maintain food security during shocks. However, this was only true in certain countries.
More About Social Capital
The Currency of Connections
01 Oct 2021 - Mercy Corps , Tufts University Feinstein International Center
Why do social connections matter for household resilience in South Sudan?
USAID Kuza and Impact for Northern Kenya Fund
28 Jul 2021 - USAID Kuza Activity, USAID Resilience Challenge Fund and ACDI/VOCA
In October 2020, the Impact for Northern Kenya Fund (“the Fund”) was launched to finance clients that are drivers of economic and social growth.
Towards Shock-Responsive Social Protection: Lessons from the COVID-19 Response in Six Countries
24 Jun 2021 - Oxford Policy Management
The research "Towards shock-responsive social protection" examines how the social protection programs have been used to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
What Are Future Financing Options for Shock Responsive Social Protection?
31 May 2021 - Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19 Expert Advice Service, DAI Global
How can development partners finance shock-responsive social protection? This resource provides approaches to financing, financing instruments and more.