How Do You Know “Resilience” When You See It? Characteristics of Self-Perceived Household Resilience Among Rural Households in Burkina Faso

Results of a series of interviews over seven months with 46 women

The goal of this paper is to identify the characteristics of self-perceived resilience among a small sample of women in rural Burkina Faso. This analysis contributes to the ongoing efforts to better understand the factors that contribute to household resilience for practitioners interested in helping project participants build their resilience. This paper is written with financial services practitioners in mind, but is applicable to any organization interested in resilience. 

Using a resilience diary methodology with 46 women to understand how households anticipated and responded to shocks over a seven-month period, a household’s self-perceived resilience status was established and then compared to a series of variables that women used to qualitatively describe resilient and non-resilient households. The diaries consisted of a series of 10 interviews with the same participants that focused on participants’: 

  1. Demographic background, hopes, and dreams;
  2. Shock-coping strategies;
  3. Use of financial services;
  4. Food security;
  5. Income-generating activities (IGAs);
  6. Social capital;
  7. Household decision-making dynamics;
  8. Health;
  9. Attitudes and perceptions;
  10. Program participation and future outlook.

About this Publication

By Gray, B., Gash, M., Crookston, B. , Aleotti, V.