STRESS: Strategic Resilience Assessment - Guidelines Document

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What is STRESS?

STRESS is a methodology that helps teams apply resilience thinking in distinct humanitarian or development contexts. Deepening understanding of risk and the systems communities rely on allows practitioners to adjust what they do and how they do it—helping maintain progress toward well-being outcomes even in the face of increasing instability and fragility.


In an era of rapid change and increasing complexity, we must invest strategically to achieve long-term change--Mercy Corps believes resilience is critical to this work. In helping us apply resilience thinking, STRESS is transforming the scale, effectiveness and impact of our humanitarian and development strategies, getting to the roots of the interconnected challenges driving fragility and reshaping the way our teams learn and work together.

STRESS is transforming what we do by providing new ways of:

  • Analyzing each unique context to understand how complex, interconnected drivers of instability threaten progress; how these drivers impact groups differently; and what specific resilience abilities and resources these groups need to learn, cope, adapt and transform in the face of growing risk.
  • Designing a contextualized resilience theory of change based on this analysis, which allows teams to create more robust strategies and targeted interventions aimed at supporting communities in achieving long-term well-being outcomes and transformational change.

STRESS is transforming how we do it by improving the way teams work together, helping us become more:

  • Proactive by developing an evidence-based understanding of each context.
  • Connected by restructuring roles and processes to address the interconnections between instability and vulnerability.
  • Adaptive by leveraging the resilience framework to test, measure and enhance work over time.