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Resilience

Children are living today in a more complex world and fast changing environment.  While access to health and education has improved and poverty reduced in the last 15 years, inequalities are on the rise, more than 50% of the world’s population live in fast growing cities and the world is increasingly threatened by conflicts, climate change and environmental degradation.

To adapt to such disruptive environment, the concept of resilience has emerged in the last decade and Save the Children has identified “resilience” as one of its 3 main cross-cutting topics for its 2030 global strategy. Resilience is commonly defined as a complex multi-dimensional and dynamic ability embedded in individual or complex system that emerges at time of shocks, stresses and trauma. For Save the Children, resilience is the ability of children, families and systems to protect and safeguard all children against shocks and stresses in order to ensure the realisation of their rights to survival, development, education and protection.

The resilience of a child, family or a community with respect to potential hazard events and threats is determined by the degree to which they have the necessary resources (physical, social, financial, human, natural) to maintain their development and keep planning for their future projects and plans despite shocks, stresses and adversities.

Our DRR and CCA work are important factors of building resilience, but ensuring also that basic needs are met and that children have access to education, health services and opportunities for play and social interaction is critical. Efforts to strengthen families is a priority, as it is widely acknowledged that a loving and caring family is one of the key protective factors which can strengthen a child’s resilience and support their healthy development in spite of a crisis.

Effective resilience supposes a transformation, putting issues of people, power and politics at the centre of the change process. Because vulnerabilities and risk are rooted in deprivation, inequalities and human rights violation, resilience is thereby built by influencing policies that relate to power imbalances in society that encourage, create and sustain vulnerabilities.

For example, Save the Children’s Child Rights Governance work contributes to resilience of institutions by institutionalizing children’s rights in governance systems and mechanisms enabling the fulfilment of children’s rights in all contexts. Moreover, improved transparency, participation and accountability and fair (re)distribution of resources is supporting a healthy social contract between citizens and government and can prevent conflict. 

Photo: Hedinn Halldorsson/Save the Children

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