Supporting Community Resilience in Conflict

Resilience is an increasingly debated concept among humanitarian and development actors assisting communities impacted by natural disasters and armed conflict. Generally, there is acknowledgement of the need to strengthen individual, community and institutional mechanisms for coping with violence. Yet there is little agreement as to what resilience actually means, especially in the context of communities affected by conflict. Some consider resilience to be an end goal, while others consider it to be a process of adaptation.

A new study from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative uses the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict as a case study to explore some manifestations of community resilience and self-protection mechanisms. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has carried out a reign of terror across four African countries over the past two decades, originating in northern Uganda and later moving to the border region between South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The group is known for its longevity and cult-like qualities, and its extreme violence against civilians.

In conversations with key experts and practitioners, this podcast will focus on lessons learned from the LRA conflict. We’ll draw on findings from the study’s two companion reports, which detail community experiences with and responses to violence, as well as illuminate the LRA’s internal structure and motivations. We’ll explore the practical and policy implications for humanitarian actors seeking to support communities affected by the LRA, or other non-state armed groups such as Boko Haram or Al Shabab.

November, 2015