As the unequal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is a need to robustly support vulnerable communities and bolster ‘community resilience.’ A community resilience approach means to work in partnership with communities and strengthen their capacities to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, including its social and economic fallout.

However, this is not resilience which returns the status quo. This moment demands transformative change in which inequalities are tackled and socioeconomic conditions are improved. While a community resilience approach is relatively new to epidemic preparedness and response, it frames epidemic shocks more holistically and from the perspective of a whole system. While epidemic response often focuses on mitigating vulnerabilities, there is an opportunity to use a resilience framework to build existing capacities to manage health, social, psychosocial, and economic impacts of an epidemic.

This makes a resilience approach more localised, adaptable, and sustainable in the long-term, which are key tenets of an epidemic response informed by social science. This brief presents considerations for how health and humanitarian practitioners can support communities to respond to and recover from COVID-19 using a community resilience approach. This brief was developed for SSHAP by IDS (led by Megan Schmidt-Sane with Tabitha Hrynick) with Anthrologica (Eva Niederberger).