The Resilience Research Centre // rrc@dal.ca // +1 902 494 3050

 

What Works: A Manual for Designing Programs that Build Resilience

The Author

Michael Ungar, PhD, is the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family, and Community Resilience and Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He is also the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre which supports ground-breaking research on resilience, program evaluation, training and program design in dozens of countries around the world.


What Works: A Manual for Designing Programs that Build Resilience

is an easy-to-use guide that is ideal for anyone working with young people in social service or humanitarian settings, as well as community facilitators, counselors, and policy makers. It includes plenty of case examples of programs in both low-and-middle-income countries (where financial and human resources are scarce) and high-income countries (where resources are easier to find but problems can still be very complex).

While the manual is about programs designed for children, adolescents and their families, its 7-step model of program design will be just as useful in any setting where improving resilience is the goal.


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Video Interviews with Successful Program Designers

The playlist below includes five video interviews with program designers mentioned throughout the manual. Click below to play the videos in order, or press the playlist button near the title to open the playlist sidebar where you can navigate through the videos in the series.


The Seven Steps of Program Design

What Works describes in detail seven steps for great program design. To help explain each step, the manual compares program design to cooking for a hungry family.

Step 1: Choose a Program

Just as a great cook knows what people want to eat, the best programs are designed to address people’s most important problems. These will be the problems that people are the most motivated to change.

Step 2: Create Your Program Outline

A program outline (sometimes called a logic model) is very useful when designing a program to build resilience. Much like a meal plan, or menu, it provides you with a map to ensure that program activities create desirable outcomes.

Step 3: Gather Your Resources

Every meal starts with a trip to the market or the garden. Once you know which program is needed (Step 1) and you have figured out what you want to achieve (Step 2), then you are ready to gather the resources necessary to create your program and build resilience.

Step 4: Build Links from Your Program to Other Services and Supports

Great cooks rely on other family and friends to help with meal preparation. Program designers, too, create programs that build resilience by reaching out to other programs and people’s natural support systems (e.g., their family and friends).

Step 5: Adapt Your Program to the Local Context

A great program design can still fail if it is not well-adapted to the context in which it is going to be used. Just as great cooks change recipes to suit local tastes, programs that build resilience change to fit the culture and context of their participants.

Step 6: Track Your Success

Empty plates and heaps of praise tell cooks that their food has been appreciated. Program designers also need ways of measuring their success. Regardless of what evidence is produced, the goal is always the same: convince young people, families, communities, and funders that a program that builds resilience has value and is worth the investment of their time and money.

Step 7: Plan for Sustainability

An effective, well-designed program is also a sustainable program that reaches as many people as possible. Cooks design their kitchens to prepare food day-after-day. Program designers create resilience-promoting programs that last for years.


Inside What Works

  • A brief history of the concept of resilience and its application to practice (with a focus on the needs of children, youth and families in challenging contexts).
  • A definition of resilience that emphasizes a systemic, social justice perspective.
  • A discussion of seven principles that ensure that programs nurture and sustain resilience.
  • A list of the seven most important processes that promote resilience.
  • Detailed instructions for the seven steps which designers use to create their programs and ensure that they’re effective.
  • Inspiring case studies of great programs gathered from around the world.
  • A troubleshooting section that anticipates some of the challenges that may occur when using the manual in different settings and with different types of organizations.
  • Exercises (e.g., a service use satisfaction questionnaire, resilience assessment, appreciative inquiry tool, and a workshop design checklist) and resources to make it easier to use a resilience approach to program design.
  • Guidance on how to monitor program outcomes and convince funders to keep funding programs that work.

Have You Designed a Program that Builds Resilience?

We would love to showcase the work of program designers from around the world whose programs are helping to build resilience. Send us a brief description of your program and, if you like, a link to a video about the work you are doing. We’ll feature these programs on the Resilience Research Centre website and provides links here as well so that other program designers can hear about your work. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to share your story.

Research Centres

 

Canada

Organization: Dalhousie University, Resilience Research Centre
Contact Person: Dr. Michael Ungar
Address:
6420 COBURG ROAD
PO BOX 15000
HALIFAX NS B3H 4R2
CANADA
Phone: 1-902-494-3445
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://resilienceresearch.org/
  Organization: Eskasoni Community Health Centre 
Contact Person: Daphne Hutt-MacLeod 
Address: 
30 Medicine Trail 
P.O. Box 7741 
Eskasoni, NS, B1W 1B3
Canada 
Phone: 1-902-379-2910
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Website: http://www.eskasonihealth.ca/ 
Organization: Sheshatshiu Innu Band Council
Contact Person: Jack Penashue
Address:
PO BOX 160
SHESHATSHIU NL A0P 1M0
CANADA
Phone: 1-709-497-8522
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://sheshatshiu.ca/
  Organization: Labrador-Grenfell Health
Contact Person: Delia Connell
Address:
P.O. Box 7000 Station C
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL A0P 1C0
Canada
Phone: 709-897-2267
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.lghealth.ca/
Organization: The Nunatsiavut Government, Department of Health and Social Development
Contact Person: Michele Wood
Address:
200 Kelland Drive
P.O. Box 496, Station C
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL A0P 1C0
Canada
Phone: 1-709-896-9750
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.nunatsiavut.com/
  Organization: NunatuKavut, Social Sector
Contact Person: Darlene Wall
Address:
370 Hamilton River Road
P. O. Box 460, Station C
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL, A0P 1C0
Canada
Phone: 1-709-896-0592, Ext. 238
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.nunatukavut.ca/home/
Organization: Labrador Institute of Memorial University
Contact Person: Dr. Keith Chaulk
Address:
219 HAMILTON RIVER ROAD
PO BOX 490 STN B
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY
LABRADOR NL A0P 1E0
CANADA
Phone: 1-709-896-6211
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.mun.ca/labradorinstitute/
  Organization: Université de Montréal, Département de psychopédagogie et andragogie
Contact Person: Dr. Nathalie Trépanier
Address:
PAVILLON MARIE-VICTORIN
CP 6128 SUCCURSALE CENTRE-VILLE
MONTREAL QC H3C 3J7
CANADA
Phone: 1-514-343-5726
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.scedu.umontreal.ca/faculte/ Psychopedagogieandragogie.html
Organization: University of Manitoba, Faculty of Social Work
Contact Person: Dr. Maria Cheung
Address:
602 TIER BUILDING
WINNIPEG MB R3T 2N2
CANADA
Phone: 1-204-474-6670
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/ social_work/
  Organization: University of Saskatchewan, Department of Sociology
Contact Person: Dr. Les Samuelson
Address:
1019-9 CAMPUS DRIVE
SASKATOON SK S7N 5A5
CANADA
Phone: 1-306-966-6935
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://artsandscience.usask.ca/sociology/
Organization: Resiliency Initiatives
Contact Person: Wayne Hammond
Address:
11-1715 27TH AVE NE
CALGARY AB T2E 7E1
CANADA
Phone: 1-403-274-7706
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.resiliencyinitiatives.ca/
  Organization: University of British Columbia, Child Study Labs
Contact Person: Dr. Ann Cameron
Address:
2136 WEST MALL
VANCOUVER BC V6T 1Z4
CANADA
Phone: 1-604-822-9078
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: Click here
Organization: Vancouver Island University, Resilience Research Lab
Contact Person: Dr. Caroline Burnley
Address:
900 FIFTH STREET
NANAIMO BC V9R 5S5
CANADA
Phone: 1-250-753-3245
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.viu.ca/resilience/index.asp
   

United States of America

Organization: University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute
Contact Person: 
Dr. Mary Armstrong
Address:
13301 BRUCE B DOWNS BLVD
TAMPA FL 33612-3809
USA
Phone: 
1-813-974-4601
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://home.fmhi.usf.edu/

Latin America

Organization: Universidad de Antioquia, Facultad Nacional de Salud Pública
Contact Person: Dr. Alexandra Restrepo Henao
Address:
CALLE 62 #52-59, OFIC 211
MEDELLIN
COLOMBIA
Phone: 574-219-6868 / 574-219-6856
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.udea.edu.co/portal/page/ portal/SedesDependencias/SaludPublica
  Organization: Universidad de Puerto Rico, El Instituto de Investigación Psicológica
Contact Person: Dr. Eduardo A. Lugo Hernández
Address:
PO Box 23174
SAN JUAN PR 00931-3174
USA
Phone: 1-787-764-0000 x2956
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://ipsi.uprrp.edu/
Organization: Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Centro de Estudos e de Mapeamento da Exclusão Social para Políticas Públicas
Contact Person: Dr. Renata Libório
Address:
RUA ROBERTO SIMONSEN, 305
JARDIM DAS ROSAS
PRESIDENTE PRUDENTE
SÃO PAULO
BRAZIL
CEP 19060-900
Phone: 55-18-3229-5335
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.fct.unesp.br/
  Organization: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Contact Person: Maria del Pilar Grazioso
Address:
18 Avenida 11-95 Zona 15 Oficina G 203
Vista Hermosa III
Guatemala, Guatemala
Phone: +502-2369-0791-461
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.uvg.edu.gt

Europe

Organization: University of Brighton, School of Nursing and Midwifery
Contact Person: Prof Angie Hart
Address:
264 MAYFIELD HOUSE
VILLAGE WAY
BRIGHTON BN1 3RT
UNITED KINGDOM
Phone: 44-0-1273-644051
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.brighton.ac.uk/snm/
  Organization: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Psychology
Contact Person: Dr. Odin Hjemdal
Address:
NO-7491
TRONDHEIM, NORWAY
Phone: 47-7359-7889
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.ntnu.edu/psychology
Organization: Russian Academy of Sciences, Institue of Psychology
Contact Person: Alexander Makhnach
Address:
13 YAROSLAVSKAYA STREET
MOSCOW 129366
RUSSIA
Phone: 011-7-095-283-5150
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.ipras.ru/cntnt/eng/ psychology/about_inst.html
  Organization: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre
Contact Person: Prof Pat Dolan
Address:
SCHOOL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AND SOCIOLOGY
SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY BUILDING
NUI GALWAY
IRELAND
Phone: 00353 91 49 2930
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://childandfamilyresearch.ie/professor-pat-dolan

Africa

Organization: North-West University, Faculty of Education Sciences
Contact Person: Prof Linda Theron
Address:
VAAL TRIANGLE CAMPUS
NORTH-WEST UNIVERSITY
P.O.BX 1174
VANDERBIJLPARK, SOUTH AFRICA
1900
Phone: 27-16-9103076
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website:
http://www.optentia.co.za/
http://lindatheron.org/

  Organization: Protect Children's Trust
Contact Person: Angela Ifunya
Address: TAZANIA
Phone: 255-744-393-046
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Asia

Organization: Tel Aviv University, The Adler Research Center for Child Welfare and Protection
Contact Person: Prof. Zahava Solomon
Address:
PO Box 39040
RAMAT AVIV TEL AVIV 69978
ISRAEL
Phone: 972-3-6409507
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.tau.ac.il/socialwork/adler/
  Organization: Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA)
Contact Person: Hania Bitar
Address:
FLAT 12 4TH FLOOR JULANI BUILDING
PO BOX 54065
AR-RAM JERUSALEM
Phone: 972-2-234-3428 / 972-2-234-3429
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.pyalara.org/
Organization: University of Delhi, Lady Irwin College, Department of Human Development and Childhood Studies
Contact Person: Dr. Neerja Sharma
Address:
SIKANDRA ROAD
NEW DELHI 110001
INDIA
Phone:
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.ladyirwin.edu.in
  Organization: Don Bosco Youth Services
Contact Person: Dr. (Father) Jerry Thomas
Address: INDIA
Phone: 91-385-242-2885
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://dbys.freeservers.com/
Organization: City University of Hong Kong, Department of Applied Social Studies
Contact Person: Dr. Wai Man Kwong
Address:
83 TAT CHEE AVENUE
KOWLOON TONG
KOWLOONG
HONG KONG
Phone: 852-3442-8962
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://ssweb.cityu.edu.hk
  Organization: Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Medicine
Contact Person: Dr. Sombat Tapanya
Address:
110 INTAWAROROS ROAD
T. SRIPOOM A. MUANG
CHIANG MAI 50200
THAILAND
Phone: 66-53-945-422
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.med.cmu.ac.th/
Organization: Capital Normal University, College of Politics and Law
Contact Person: Guo-xiu Tian
Address:
XI SAN HUAN BEI LU 83
HAI DIAN DISTRICT
BEIJING 100089
CHINA
Phone: 86-10-689-00113
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://eng.cnu.edu.cn/
  Organization: Shandong Normal University, Faculty of Education
Contact Person: Dr. Wenxin Zhang
Address:
88 EAST WENHUA ROAD
JINAN 250014
CHINA
Phone: 86-531-861-80178
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.sdnu.edu.cn/esdnu/index.htm
Organization: Kanto Gakuin University
Contact Person: Keiji Akiyama
Address: 3-22-1 Kamariya-Minami
Kanawaza-Ward, Yokohama, Japan236-8502Phone: +81-45-786-7179 or +81-45-753-7574
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://home.kanto-gakuin.ac.jp/~resile/index.html
   

Australasia

Organization: Massey University, Department of Social Work
Contact Person: Dr. Robyn Munford, Dr. Jackie Sanders
Address:
PRIVATE BAG 11 222
PALMERSTON NORTH 4442
NEW ZEALAND
Phone: 64-6-356-9099 ext 2825
Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://youthsay.co.nz/
   

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