Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Why Do Social Connections Matter for Resilience and Recovery?

Event Date: 
Sep 05, 2019
9:30 am to 11:00 am EDT
Online Event


Across a range of contexts, research has shown the critical importance of social connections - especially during times of crisis - in enabling populations to manage shocks and stresses. In South Sudan, these social connections are a lifeline for many households during the ongoing crisis. The South Sudanese rely on their social networks - often more than they rely on external aid - to cope and recover. When humanitarian actors fail to understand the role and importance of people’s social connections, they risk inadvertently harming these underlying support structures.

Marketlinks hosted a webinar on September 5th, 2019 with Alex Humphrey, Jeeyon Kim and Vaidehi Krishnan from Mercy Corps, to present on the ongoing USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)-funded research in South Sudan. They discussed their effort to understand and measure how household social connectedness links to resilience, and highlighted the implications of research findings for returns and recovery in South Sudan. Participants gained insights into how they might unpack the role of social connectedness in their own program contexts.


Photo: Alex Humphrey headshot
Research Manager, Mercy Corps

Alex Humphrey manages field research programming for Mercy Corps in South Sudan.

Before joining Mercy Corps, Alex worked as a Policy Associate with the Open Society Foundations on issues related to refugee and human rights policy. Alex has a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of British Columbia. Alex is the lead author of The Currency of Connections: Why local support systems are integral to helping people recover in South Sudan.

Jeeyon Kim headshot
Senior Researcher, Mercy Corps

Jeeyon Kim is the Senior Researcher for Resilience at Mercy Corps, where she leads research related to resilience in fragile contexts.

Her recent research focuses on social connectedness, food security, migration and linkages between resilience and women’s empowerment. In her mandate, she works closely with practitioner, research partners, and policy colleagues, to design and implement actionable resilience research. As a Visiting Fellow at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, Jeeyon also works on a number of projects, including: Promoting Agriculture, Health, and Alternative Livelihoods initiative in Nepal, The Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis project, and Food Security and Resilience in Somalia. Jeeyon holds a Hon. B.Sc. from University of Toronto, a M.S.P.H. from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and a Ph.D. from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Vaidehi Krishnan headshot
Researcher, Mercy Corps

Vaidehi Krishnan (Vai) has a background in program management and technical support for Mercy Corps’ cash and economic opportunity programs in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Vai is currently a Researcher for Mercy Corps’ cash and markets in crises portfolio. She supports research initiatives in South Sudan, and in the Middle East, with a key mandate on operationalizing research evidence into new program design. Vai is a co-author of The Wages of War research in Syria, and a co-author of The Currency of Connections.

Photo: Laura Meissner headshot
Economic Recovery and Markets Advisor, USAID contractor

Laura Meissner is the Economic Recovery and Markets Advisor for USAID’s Office of U.S.

Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), where she provides guidance on assessing, mitigating, and repairing the effects of disasters on local markets and vulnerable populations’ livelihoods as well as on cash and voucher-based interventions. In her work at OFDA she has contributed to the disaster response and recovery in Syria, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the Philippines. Prior to joining OFDA in 2010, Laura managed the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards initiative for the Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network.

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