Harnessing Local Sources of Social Cohesion in Niger

A group of people sitting together.

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The brief, part of the Resilience Rapid Learning series, examines factors that contribute to local-level variation in social cohesion in order to improve programming. Hypothesized to reduce violence, social cohesion is a necessary component for building resilience and improving long-term well-being outcomes in areas prone to ongoing conflicts, natural disasters, and other shocks and stresses. 

Analyzing baseline survey data from USAID’s Preventing violent Extremism Actions through increased social Cohesion Efforts (PEACE) program in the Tillabéri region of Niger, this brief considers six dimensions of social cohesion: trust, tolerance, inclusion, cooperation, interactions between groups, and collective action. Additionally, the brief looks at contextual factors that are associated with variation in local cohesion, including governance, the participation of women and youth in conflict management and peacebuilding, and patterns of peace and security within the community.

Key findings from Niger provide examples of both strong and weak dimensions of social cohesion and demonstrate the variations in these relationships across villages. Incorporating social cohesion considerations across programs enables implementation to be more inclusive and better target social cleavages, laying the foundation for long-term peace and resilience.

Resilience Rapid Learning Series

Lessons for Building Resilience in Protracted Crises and Conflict-affected Settings

The Resilience Rapid Learning Series provides practitioner and donor communities with insights and emerging evidence on how to build resilience in protracted crises and conflict-affected settings by documenting promising program approaches and contextual insights.

This series was inspired by a Conflict and Resilience Roundtable in June 2020, organized by the Resilience, Evaluation, Analysis and Learning (REAL) Award and the USAID Center for Resilience, and framed by Mercy Corps’ paper Towards Resilience: Advancing Collective Impact in Protracted Crises

Research questions for each brief in this series align with the framework presented in the Towards Resilience paper, calling for collective action around three practice areas to drive  resilience:  

  1. Rapid, real-time analysis of risk factors that drive and perpetuate fragility.
  2.  Support to local market and social systems to strengthen sources of resilience to the  shocks and stresses defining protracted crises. 
  3. Short-term violence prevention paired with efforts to transform the structural drivers  of conflict. 

Other briefs in this series include: