The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing social inequalities and vulnerabilities, with the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups bearing the greatest health, social, and economic burdens. Beyond documenting these vulnerabilities, there is a need to mitigate them and support the resilience of marginalised communities.

‘Community resilience’ can bolster community capacity to cope with the pressures of various shocks; this brief explores how its concepts can be applied to epidemics. It reviews the grey and academic literature on different approaches to community resilience.

It covers 1) terminology, 2) lessons from practice, 3) the context of community resilience, 4) a systems approach, and 5) key human and social capacities. Social justice, inequality, equity, and fairness are highlighted as themes in need of further development for resilience as it relates to epidemic preparedness and response. This brief was developed for SSHAP by IDS (led by Megan Schmidt-Sane with Tabitha Hrynick) with Anthrologica (Eva Niederberger).