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The Horn of Africa Crisis in 2011 highlighted the vulnerability of poor people in the marginalised arid and semi-arid lands of northern and eastern Kenya to environmental, security and market shocks and stresses. DFID Kenya is investing in medium and long-term programmes to strengthen the ability of vulnerable households to withstand such shocks. To achieve this also requires these programmes to be able to flexibly respond to sudden spikes in need, which occur on a regular basis. This paper outlines recommendations for building resilience in light of these factors.