Date of Award

Spring 2017


M.S. in Climate Science and Policy


Professor Jennifer Phillips

Second Reader

Professor Gautam Sethi

Third Reader

Professor Monique Segarra


International development organizations are increasingly attempting to improve the resilience of the communities they serve through their projects in these communities. However, these projects often fail to address key concepts from the resilience theory literature, calling into question their ability to effectively promote resilience. This thesis attempts to locate these gaps in understanding by analyzing proposal documents from projects intending to promote agricultural resilience to climate change. A content analysis approach was used to analyze 55 projects from three international development groups—the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Program—proposed or completed between 2006 and 2016. A list of 20 keywords was developed based on the resilience theory literature. Project documents were scanned for these keywords and weighted based on the document section in which they occurred and the depth of understanding apparent in their use. Overall, the projects were found to have far more superficial occurrences of these keywords than occurrences illustrating an understanding of the underlying resilience theory concepts. Further, the projects were not always successful in carrying through resilience concepts from their stated objectives to their methods of assessment and evaluation. This thesis suggests that resilience training and better methods of measuring the resilience of agroecosystems would allow international development groups to more effectively integrate and increase resilience in their projects.

Access Control

Open Access