Rural India has been in distress long before COVID-19, but over the last few months, the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown have revealed the vulnerability of rural areas to crises. From broken agricultural supply chains to reverse migration—the impact on rural communities has been devastating and has underscored the importance of securing the lives and livelihoods of people across rural India.

One approach to mitigating the effects of crises is building resilience i.e., the capacity of communities to withstand shocks and disturbances, and maintain their usual activities. A core element of this is protecting and promoting livelihoods, particularly agriculture-based livelihoods, given that they are the backbone of India’s rural economy. Focusing on place-based rural livelihoods also has a number of positive knock-on effects such as reducing distress migration, improving food security, and creating educational stability for children.

But how do we build the capacity of rural communities to cope with future crises and shocks? Here are four interrelated pathways that have helped shape the resilience of communities and enabled them to weather crises such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Strengthen local community institutions
  2. Keep women front and centre
  3.  Build incrementally
  4. Partner with the government

Read the full article about routes to resilience by Sneha Philip and Tanaya Jagtiani at India Development Review.