Archive

Resilience: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Science and Humanitarianism (Volume 1)

Table of Contents


Astier Almedom

Editor's Note


Ted Mathys

EFFECTIVENESS OF ZOOPROPHYLAXIS FOR MALARIA PREVENTION AND CONTROL IN SETTINGS OF COMPLEX AND PROTRACTED EMERGENCY

Zooprophylaxis is a malaria prevention technique involving the use of animals for diversion of blood-seeking mosquitoes away from humans. This article examines the potential effectiveness of zooprophylaxis in the prevention and control of malaria in settings of complex and often protracted emergency. A brief background and history of zooprophylaxis research is presented; and the salient characteristics of mosquito vector biology for zooprophylaxis identified, using the evaluative framework proposed by the Inter-Agency Field Handbook for Malaria Control in Complex Emergencies, with reference to three forms of the technique used in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. It is suggested that zooprophylaxis is most promising in regions where the dominant mosquito species prefers to feed on animals instead of humans; prefers to rest outdoors instead of indoors; and is sufficiently dominant relative to other local species. Particular attention is paid to Anopheles arabiensis because it holds these characteristics. The literature further suggests that zooprophylaxis is most effective when the animals used are bovine and when human-cattle habitat separation is maintained. The effectiveness of zooprophylaxis is site-specific. Where it can be employed, it is relatively more effective than other environmental management techniques in protracted emergency situations, but it should be considered supplementary to primary techniques such as the use of insecticide treated bed nets. Zooprophylaxis is considered low cost, although there are no published accounts of systematic cost-effectiveness analyses of the technique, particularly for emergency settings. Presence of cattle, the capacity to conduct experiments on mosquito biology and feeding habits, and nuanced understanding of the socio-cultural value attached to cattle, all contribute to the effectiveness of zooprophylaxis in particular parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Areas for future research and collaboration among humanitarians and public health professionals are discussed.


Sara Jackson

PETS AS GENERATORS OF SOCIAL CAPITAL: A PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF PRIMARY EVIDENCE

The past few years have witnessed an increase in research investigating the social benefits of pet ownership. This preliminary review examines primary research evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies, and attempts to “connect the dots” between companion animals and the ability for people to generate social capital of the bonding and bridging types. Pet owners appear to be more likely to interact with others in their communities, and to have longer conversations with other people. The studies also indicate that seeing people out and about with their pets is conducive to positive feelings of community dynamics, with a sense of security, civic engagement, and reciprocity between neighbors. In addition, companion animals help improve social networks and elevate their owners’ sense of psychological well-being. Further research into the social capital benefits gained from interactions between pet owners and others in the community, with a focus on the practical implications of human-pet interactions is suggested.


Nicholas Cooper

A PROPOSAL TO HARNESS CAPACITIES FOR PROMOTING RESILIENCE OF EGYPTIAN YOUTH FOR NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

The percentage of the Egyptian population aged 15-24 surpasses 22 percent, resulting in a ‘youth bulge’ on the Egyptian population pyramid. This is of urgent concern to Egyptian decision-makers, who must harness young people’s potential for fueling economic growth and maintaining social and political stability. While a successful demographic transition offers the promise of the ‘demographic dividend’ as a large proportion of the population moves through the productive phase, failure to provide attractive and viable livelihood choices to Egyptian youth may lead them to become destabilizing social forces who may turn to violence to meet their livelihood needs. An adapted Sustainable Livelihoods framework is proposed for the purpose of assessing Egyptian youth’s access to financial, human, social, natural, and physical capital with the aim of promoting resilient strategies for sustaining livelihoods. The policy applications of the proposed model are explored, and the limitations of crude indicators of social and other forms of capital obtained from available population-level databases acknowledged. Nevertheless, it is argued that providing Egyptian policy makers a general framework for practical ways to simultaneously enhance the sustainability and resilience of livelihood strategies, while actualizing youth’s potential as agents of peace and development is worthwhile. Further research to examine the overlap between the different forms of capital is suggested.


Orach Godfrey Otobi

UNTAPPED POTENTIAL: HOW THE SPHERE MINIMIM STANDARDS FOR DISASTER RESPONSE COULD PROMOTE HUMAN AND INSTITUTIONAL RESILIENCE IN NORTHERN UGANDA

Effective disaster response is essentially influenced by people, their institutions and policies which have long-term impact on adaptation and prospects of resilience of social- ecological systems. This article employs lessons learned from Northern Uganda during 1986 to 2009 (where the author grew up and later launched his professionally career in disaster response with local NGOs and most recently as a local employee of CARE International in Uganda) in hindsight, to identify possible ways in which local and international humanitarian response could have built on local capacities/resources by recognizing and building on traditional social support systems. It is argued that if understood and implemented correctly, resilience theory and practice can inform effective disaster response strategies which safeguard the most valuable assets of affected populations: human capital and wellbeing and the natural environment, all of which promote adaptive capacities to sustain lives and livelihoods. Possible contributions to the recently announced and invited 2010 revisions of the Sphere Handbook of Minimum Standards for Disaster Response are outlined.


Alok Kanojia

MEDITATION AND DEPRESSION: A NOVEL SOLUTION TO THE BURDEN OF MENTAL ILLNESSS IN INDIA?

Treatmentparadigms for mental illness tend to be developed in affluentcountries, particularly in the United States and countries in Europe.These paradigms are based upon a certain level of resourceaccessibility as well as western cultural norms, which focus on theindividual. India, with a population over 1 billion, has fewerresources per person than many countries in North America or Europe. Asa result, many impoverished or illiterate Indians lack the knowledge ormeans for medical treatment of mental illness. This article explores apossible solution to this problem: one that is not resource-intensiveand can be provided to groups, thus maintaining cultural relevance toIndia. The relative merits of Meditation or Mindfulness-based CognitiveTherapy (MBCT) are considered. The literature indicates that MBCT hasbeen validated in scientific trials, and can be part of an effectivetreatment for depression or anxiety. In practical terms, it requiresonly an initial training investment to learn MBCT, after which thepractitioner has free reign. MBCT is group-oriented, allowing thementally ill to form social networks that their illness would otherwiseprevent. Furthermore, mindfulness-based meditative practices mayincrease an individual's resilience, an important factor in combatingdepression. It is suggested that meditation has many of its roots inIndia, where it is commonly practiced widely in the general population.Due to its economic viability, effectiveness in forming social groups,mental health benefits, and cultural appropriateness, meditation may bea “novel” and yet old solution to the burden of mental illness,specifically depression in India.