This online tool is intended to support practitioners who want to run a VRA.

Have a question about the VRA? Or want to share how you’re using it in your work? Contact us here.


Why do one?

  • To promote dialogue, trust and shared action amongst different groups and stakeholders.
  • To collaboratively generate useful information and action to inform a country strategy.
  • To collaboratively support the design of a programme or project in a new area.
  • As part of baseline assessments and end-term evaluations of a MEAL plan.
  • To inform an advocacy, campaign or influencing strategy.
  • To broaden the scope of resilience, livelihood, DRR or climate change adaptation programming.

What is it?

As necessary, consider holding separate conversations with women and/or with ethnic or other minority groups to consolidate arguments ahead of the Knowledge Group analysis. Photo: Oxfam in Ghana

A VRA is a multi-stakeholder process. It brings together women and men from different livelihoods, religions and socio-economic groups, including the private sector, with decision-makers from local and/or national governments. Together these stakeholders build an understanding of how different groups of people are vulnerable to different types of risks and agree actions that can be taken to enhance social and economic well being, and promote resilient development.

The VRA also highlights the wider issues which influence people’s vulnerability, such as gender and inequality, power and governance, global trade and investment, and access to natural resources.

At the end of a VRA, the solutions that stakeholders and Oxfam can jointly promote are not just about community-level change, but about changing the rules of the game and tackling the root causes of vulnerability and risks.

How the VRA supports resilience

Resilience: The ability of women and men to realize their rights and improve their well being despite shocks, stresses and uncertainty.

Building resilience requires joined-up interventions that can simultaneously address immediate crises while contributing to long-term change. People’s pre-existing vulnerabilities means they are affected by risks in different ways. Programming needs to address the impacts of hazards on different people and tackle the root causes of vulnerability and risk.

The VRA helps turn this ambition into a practical reality.

Rather than basing programmes on our own pre-existing assumptions or out-of-date information, the VRA engages with traditional and non-traditional actors to undertake fresh analysis that explores current and future trends and needs. It builds relationships between different stakeholders which can support short term change as well as longer-term, systemic and transformative change. It brings power, rights and vulnerability into the conversation and makes transparent the ways in which different groups actually are more vulnerable and why.

The VRA contributes to implementation of Oxfam’s Framework for Resilient Development by: (add link)

  • Supporting multi stakeholder collaboration
  • Supporting contextual analysis
  • Contributing to all six social change processes: gender justice and empowerment, informing, accountable governing, learning and innovation, forward and flexible planning and the outcomes of the VRA may contribute to securing and enhancing livelihood.

The VRA approach:

  • Ensures projects are driven by real needs and what is appropriate and viable, rather than what makes sense in theory.
  • Supports dialogue with stakeholders and encourages collaborative solutions.
  • Enables participation and contributes to women’s empowerment.
  • Integrates indigenous, traditional and scientific knowledge.
  • Strengthens existing coping mechanisms.
  • Builds a sense of accountability and mutual responsibility amongst duty-bearers, stakeholders and citizens.
  • Can improve efficiency and value for money in programme design and delivery.

The VRA process actively supports the full participation of women. By facilitating women’s participation, highlighting their capacities and giving them a safe and meaningful way to be involved in decision-making, the VRA contributes to greater gender justice. Read more.

Find out more about the related themes

Related Themes