Bangladesh is one of the poorest and most disaster-prone countries in the world. To address both problems simultaneously, sustainable livelihoods (SL) could be better connected with disaster risk reduction (DRR). For this purpose, one initiative implemented in Bangladesh is called the Vulnerability to Resilience (V2R) programme which ran from 2013 to 2016. This programme was primarily initiated and funded by the British Red Cross in a consortium with the Swedish Red Cross and the German Red Cross. This article presents the first evaluation of the V2R programme with three objectives. The first objective was to measure whether the selected communities have achieved community resilience characteristics as defined by the programme. The second objective was to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for the intervention. The third objective was to analyse V2R’s impact on the communities in terms of DRR and SL. Community-based focus group discussions and household-based surveys were conducted before and after the intervention (2013–2016) in two coastal communities in Patuakhali district, Nowapara and Pashurbunia. The analysis found that community members are now engaged with many hazard-resilient and vulnerability-reducing livelihood activities, using SL to implement DRR, yet these approaches were almost absent prior to V2R. Consequently, the communities have achieved resilience characteristics, being more well-organized and better connected; having better access to infrastructure, services, and economic opportunities; are more knowledgeable and healthier; and are better managing their available resources. Critiques of the concepts are discussed, although in this case, DRR based on SL has shown positive results, exactly as development theory suggests.
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