The concept of resilience has gained attention because it recognises the importance of addressing shorter-term humanitarian needs while simultaneously supporting communities to face future crises induced by climate change, conflict, and other factors. Many institutions, including the World Food Programme (WFP), have increasingly used the concept as a basis for their programming. WFP's integrated packages of interventions aim to improve food security and nutrition by smoothing food consumption in the short-term, while supporting livelihoods and addressing barriers to development (e.g., better climate information, access to markets, education, WASH, etc.) in the long-term. While all programme activities are potentially important for building resilience, livelihood activities are clearly connected to both immediate and future wellbeing. These activities include cash or in-kind transfers to the household and support for creating assets that could benefit the household or the community in the future. Therefore, livelihood activities have the potential to support households in improving and maintaining their wellbeing when facing future shocks and stressors.
This pre-analysis plan describes policy experiments to estimate the impacts of experimentally varying WFP's activities on resilience as measured by community and household wellbeing. This approach follows others in conceptualizing resilience through changes in wellbeing (Knippenberg et al, 2019, Phadera et al. 2019, Jones and Tanner, 2017; Barrett et al, 2020). We design and run these experiments in the context of livelihoods programs implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) across 6 countries. Beyond testing the overall impact of livelihood activities on wellbeing, a key ambition of this paper is to investigate whether activities themselves can be timed to accommodate households’ vulnerability to seasonal fluctuations and shocks that are often connected to weather patterns and agricultural cycle. We identify two such mechanisms: adjusting the timing of cash transfers and labor requirements; and/or allowing for re-targeting participants over time to account for changes in vulnerability status.