Andrea Rehm

MA International Planning and Sustainable Development

The Role of NGOs: Building community resilience in rural African communities

THIS DISSERTATION EXPLORES the role of NGOs in building community resilience in the context of poverty, climate change and political instability in rural Ethiopia. It addresses the question of who communities can engage with when national government is uninterested, unstable or otherwise disengaged, and considers the role of NGOs in this context. Can they leave a lasting and place-appropriate solution that does not immediately necessitate the help or involvement of the national government?

By considering the challenging circumstances of what has been called the ‘climate-fragility-conflict nexus’, this study builds on the concept of community resilience. The more individuals and households can rely on their community, the less dependent they are on higher government powers and the less vulnerable they are to stresses and shocks.

Two case studies are examined; Farm Africa was founded to respond to famine in Ethiopia and designed to ‘test innovative market-based approaches to improve the resilience of vulnerable pastoralist/agro-pastoralist households to climate change’; the other is CGIAR, a global research partnership comprised of funders and research centres aiming at a food- secure future through the transformation of ‘food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis’ and ‘catalys(ing) positive change for climate-smart agriculture’.

Through these case studies, the efficacy of NGOs to create a lasting impact at the local level is explored and how this is best achieved through building relationships with other organisations, agencies or institutions to consider the future of the community after the formal project has ended.

MORE is a part of Open Studio project run by the School of Architecture + Cities at the University of Westminster to make its design, research and practice-based work available online while it is happening.

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