ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) is one of the eight university-based Development Labs making up the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) established by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and existing within its Global Development Labs core partners include Stanford University, Tulane University, and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Within Africa, RAN brings together 20 Universities in 16 countries. The Network is led by Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and the secretariat is located at Makerere University’s School of Public Health.
RAN is structured around four core establishments referred to as Resilience Innovation Labs (RILabs) which include: the Eastern Africa RILab (EA RILab) based in Uganda and hosted byMakerere University, the West Africa RILab (WA RILab) based in Ghana and hosted by the University for Development Studies, the Horn of Africa RILab (HoA RILab) based in Ethiopia and hosted by Jimma University, and the Southern Africa RILab (SA RILab) based in South Africa with University of Pretoria as host.
By applying science, technology, innovation, and partnerships, and using evidence-based approaches, RAN seeks to identify, develop and scale innovative solutions that will strengthen the resilience of African communities afflicted by natural as well as man-made shocks and stresses (http://www.ranlab.org). The RAN development lab was launched in November 2012.
RAN has three main objectives:
1) To design and operationalize a scientific, data-driven, and evidence-based resilience framework for sub-Saharan Africa;
2) To strengthen resilience at the individual, household and community levels through innovations; and
3) To enhance resilience-related knowledge generation and sharing.
RAN’s Vision is ‘Resilient African communities through innovative solutions’, while it’s Mission is ‘to strengthen resilience of African communities through university-led, local, innovative solutions using evidence-based approaches respectively’. RAN defines resilience as the capacity of people and systems to mitigate, adapt to, recover and learn from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces vulnerability and increases well-being.
Rationale for the RAN: Development and humanitarian aid have been historically project based. Although these efforts have saved lives, they have not sufficiently built resilience of target communities to recurrent shocks and stresses. This is the reason why the same shocks and stresses result in the same consequences year in and year out. RAN seeks to break these negative cycles by tapping into the adaptive capacities of target communities to strengthen their resilience to challenges affecting them. Therefore, RAN’s primary reason for existence is the identification, development and piloting of resilience building innovations, and bringing these to scale so as to significantly impact on communities in sub-Saharan Africa.