Increasing access to clean water in Sudan

group photo at NEF  water point

As the Sudanese people return home, they find conditions much worse than when they left. To make matters worse, an influx of internally displaced people (IDPs) in communities across Sudan has placed a drain on the already overstretched resources available.

Basic infrastructure—most notably water and sanitation infrastructure—has either been destroyed or the existing infrastructure has suffered from a lack of maintenance because of inaccessibility due to the conflict. A lack of parts, tools, and trained mechanics, as well as actual damage from rebel activities, has put many hand pumps out of order, or destroyed them completely, and severely reduced the amount of water available to both the local community, including the returnees, and the IDP population. At the same time, a serious lack of latrines and hygiene puts communities at high risk of water borne disease.

To respond to this crisis, NEF’s teams in South Kordofan and Central Darfur are helping to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality of nearly 100,000 people by improving their access to clean water, and education on hygiene and sanitation best practices. Working within local communities, NEF has mobilized Water and Sanitation Committees (WSCs) and Subcommittees across seven village clusters (Abassiya, Rashad, Abu Karshola, Um Dukhun, Nertiti, Golo, and Rokero). WSCs are trained on best approaches to sanitation and hygiene, and on how to identify and prioritize infrastructure improvements—from water pumps to latrines. To further ensure the sustainability of the project, NEF helps to train and employ local craftspeople and artisans to manufacture and/or rehabilitate water pumps and latrines throughout the villages.

Asmaa Dawood_WASH-SKS

Asmaa Dawood, one of the Sudanese women who attended the hand pump mechanics training, was impressed by the value of what she learned. She also commented that this was the first time women in her village were included in such a training.

“We have benefitted a lot from this training. We received knowledge on hand pump mechanics so that we— including women—can respond when hand pumps are broken. We are really thankful to NEF for the good service that has been delivered to our community!”

As of last month, NEF has helped identify 1,720 beneficiaries to receive new latrines, and 85 artisans to help construct them—more than 50 percent have been completed. Furthermore, the WSCs have distributed 1,500 hygiene kits, which include hygiene and sanitation education materials. These efforts have so far benefitted over 50,000 people.

NEF’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) work in Sudan is funded and supported by USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

Hygeine kit distribution in Golo
Hygeine kit distribution in Golo.
Local artisans at work fabricating latrine slabs
Local artisans at work fabricating latrine slabs.
Hygeine and sanitation education for school children
Hygeine and sanitation education for school children.

Improving Access to clean water in Sudan


Despite being one of the most difficult places in the world to operate as an NGO, NEF has been working in Sudan for over thirty years. As one of the few continuously operating NGOs in the country, NEF is seeing much needed progress in Sudan and making important contributions in some of the most challenging areas.

Sudan’s South Kordofan and Darfur regions have seen ongoing conflict and disruption, resulting in more than three million people who are considered internally displaced. Families have had to flee their homes due to conflict and violence, with devastating consequences for both their health and livelihoods as well as for the local populations in the areas where they have resettled. This has manifested in heightened food insecurity, inadequate access to clean water, deteriorating sanitation and hygiene conditions, and diminished opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.

NEF is working to improve hygiene, sanitation, and the water supply conditions in three clusters in South Kordofan and 12 clusters in Central Darfur. Its work there focuses on the health and well being of conflict-affected people by improving access to potable water and adequate sanitation and hygiene.

NEF is similarly working with local organizations to increase their technical and management capacity to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) as well as increase their ability to address management of their natural resources. By improving the effectiveness of these civil society organizations in the region, it allows them to access, prioritize, communicate, and coordinate local needs of vulnerable groups with regard to WASH and natural resource management.

As a result of a trainer of trainers workshop on WASH and natural resource management in August 2016 in Rongataz, Azoum Locality, a group of four young men who live in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp submitted a complete project proposal to NEF’s partners at the Sudanese Organisation for Humanitarian Assistance (SOHA) related to WASH and health promotion in their area.

“We live in an IDP camp and we have seen how people suffer from the lack of latrines in their homes, and how this issue has led to so many problems related to people’s health, such the prevalence of diarrhea and other hygiene related diseases,” one of the applicants stated. “So we prepared this proposal. Thank God this project and workshop came at the right time, addressing our exact need to solve one of the biggest problems that we are suffering from.”

The training workshop team received the proposal so that it can be reviewed and assessed; after which, SOHA will respond to the group.

“I have benefited a lot from this workshop and it has inspired me to work hard in our area to try to solve the problem, by conveying what I have learned in this workshop to the community to raise their awareness, especially in the IDP camps,” said another participant.

To facilitate the peaceful sharing of natural resources among ethnically diverse communities in the region, NEF has introduced new tools—such as “supra-village” associations (representative organizations to manage local resources), local conventions, and land use management plans. These tools help communities work to share much needed resources more effectively and promote inclusive and collaborative economic development. This work leverages a collaborative approach with targeted communities to complete village surveys and asset-mapping, in preparation for training and capacity building exercises in each community.

DSC_0407NEF also promotes peaceful and participatory economic recovery among internally displaced, returnees, and vulnerable populations in Sudan through microenterprise development and income-generating activities. In South Kordofan, non-wood forest products and natural resource management development focused on women has the potential to increase women’s income by 40 to 100 percent, improve climate-resilient food systems, and promote gender equality. NEF is working with women in South Kordofan to develop women’s cooperative associations that support women’s involvement in the cultivation and economic benefit of forest products such as gum Arabic and honey. In the first few months since the project has launched, NEF has organized nearly 500 people around these activities, over 80 percent of them women.

NEF’s work in Sudan is funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), EuropeAID, and Comic Relief.

The U. S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

To read more about NEF’s work in Sudan, click here.


Finding Peaceful Solutions for Nomadic Pastoralists and Farmers in Sudan


Sudan—Subsistence farming is the primary means of income in rural areas of Central Darfur. The vast majority of Darfur’s population consists of rural sedentary farmers and pastoralists. The relationship between the two is sensitive as both rely on the land for their livelihood and their tribes’ survival. A lack of suitable drinking water and rapidly eroding grazing land in the arid region has caused land disputes, often escalating to violent conflict. Drought, depleting natural resources, and unclear boundaries have further exacerbated these tensions.

Having worked in Sudan since 1978, NEF is one of the few organizations with well-established local community support networks and government approval to implement sustainable, holistic solutions to complex regional challenges.

Last year NEF, in partnership with AECOM, implemented efforts to extend resources, economic security, and peace in Central Darfur by reducing tensions between competing users of natural resources through collaborative projects. Working with the local community, NEF is increasing local capacities to implement conflict mitigation and natural resource management techniques while reinforcing peacebuilding efforts.

To achieve its goals, NEF went back to the basics—demarcating migration corridors for pastoralists and farmers from Zalingei to Garsila, digging wells to provide new and crucial water points for people and livestock in the villages of Darlow and Kidibu, and designating 10 hectares of pastures (enriched with drought tolerant seeds) for livestock to graze and rest. These improvements, although seemingly simple, have created opportunity for sedentary farmers and their crops to cohabit more harmoniously with migrating pastoralists and their herds.

2015_Sudan_Mali_ERESP_pasture seeds prep in Delieg   IMG-20150815-WA0004   

In the past year, 1,500 households and 750 head of livestock have benefitted from the new water supply points. In total, enrichment planting and other improvements have enhanced 11,300 hectares of land.

To preserve these structures, the project team has worked with the local community to create and train committees to maintain the water sources and grazing corridors. The committees consist of 15 members, 20 – 30% of which are women.

Community members, including farmers and pastoralists, have noted reduced conflict over natural resources between nomadic pastoralists and settled farmers as the migration corridor has reduced trespassing and damage to crops—addressing a key source of conflict in the region.

Adam Yagoup Hassan, a local farmer, expressed his gratitude and the positive impact these improvements have made on his livelihood when he said, “I have had a good harvest this year compared to other seasons. Because of the pasture enrichment and demarcation, my farm has been protected from nomadic livestock grazing on my crops.”

Government officials have also acknowledged the role that these efforts have made in preventing disputes and curtailing conflict. Mohamed Isehag Mohamed, the Vice Omda (Chief) of Abata said, “NEF has come up with very innovative activities which have really made an impact. We have seen that during this harvesting season, the number of conflicts between farmers has been reduced.”

To read more about our work in Sudan, click here.



Community Veterinarians are Key in Central Darfur’s Economic Recovery


Darfur, Sudan—As a newly minted paraveterinary technician, or paravet, Kharif provides basic animal health care and animal production advice to people in his communities. “Before attending the paravets’ workshop, I was leading a very difficult life because I didn’t have a real full-time job to rely on,” Kharif said. Today, 50 cattle owners—each with about 150 head—rely on Kharif to take care of their livestock’s health. “You can imagine how big my workload is,” Kharif said. “My personal financial distress has been completely relieved and now my children are doing well at school as a result of my economic stability.”

Through its Resources, Livelihoods, and Security initiative, NEF brings together communities in Central Darfur—now emerging from years of devastating conflict—to help them craft sustainable solutions for economic recovery: micro-enterprise development, agricultural production and, natural resource management. Livestock is a cornerstone of the local economy, and animal health is critical for the livelihoods of NEF’s partners.

Through the paraveterinary program, NEF partnered with the Department of Animal Wealth of Central Darfur to create a network of 25 paravets equipped to help maintain livestock health and to treat common diseases. Participants recruited from partner communities attended a 21-day course on fundamentals of animal care and a three-day business development training. The paravets operated as private entrepreneurs, operating sustainably on a fee-for service basis, which helps them recover the costs of medicines and earn an income.

Another new paravet, Hamid was not only able to increase his daily income but also now trains others to take care of animals. Many of the most common animal diseases are easily preventable with better practices and care. With his new skills, Hamid believes he has “a personal responsibility to help raise pastoralists’ awareness of best practices for animal health.”

Before he received training, paravet Abdelkarim used trial-and-error methods to treat animals. “I wasn’t very confident about what I was doing, because I lacked fundamental scientific knowledge and skills. After the training, I feel far more self-confident. I know what I am doing and I can see the positive results of treatments.” Abdelkarim also opened a small store selling veterinary medicine. This is important in this area, because pastoralists lack immediate access to drugs for their livestock.

Since its launch in 2013, the Resources, Livelihoods, and Security initiative has impacted the lives of thousands of people, many of whom have had a history of conflict with each other. Along with the 2,330 people who took part in business-training workshops, 460 people gained access to clean water from 23 water pumps installed in 13 villages, and 7,000 farm families acquired certified seed and tools through NEF-organized agricultural fairs.

NEF’s Resources, Livelihoods, and Security initiative has received support from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, AECOM, and United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Click here to read more about our work in Sudan.


Hawa, An Inspired Entrepreneur

DARFUR – Near East Foundation beneficiaries are known to be industrious and inspired when starting their enterprises. In Sudan, the beneficiaries of NEF and the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance’s Resources, Livelihoods, and Security project are no different. Walking through the markets of Abata, a small area southwest of the Central Darfur State capital of Zalingei, you will find Hawa Zakariya Mohamed, an NEF beneficiary and cloth seller. Hawa, 36, has a recently widowed niece with two children who fell on hard economic times.

“I benefited so much from NEF’s business training workshops,” Hawa says, “and I still remember every bit of it, so I began to teach my niece. Because I have had such good fortune from my business, I gave her money to start her own business.”

Hawa’s niece, 28, did just that. Using the tools and training Hawa taught her from NEF’s workshops, her niece began to sell traditional Sudanese foods in the same marketplace.

“She benefited from my advice and would always apply what she learned,” Hawa says. “My niece has now surpassed the hardship of life she had been in and she is moving forward. This has made me so content and satisfied.”




This story is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the Near East Foundation, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.

Musa Mohamed’s Business Starts Cooking

Musa Adam Mohamed

DARFUR – Musa Adam Mohamed sits in his small business, selling kitchen utensils. He lives in the Abata area of Sudan, 35 kilometers west of Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur State. Musa, 43, is a beneficiary of the Near East Foundation’s and the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance’s Resources, Livelihoods, and Security program. He decided to start this business as part of the NEF project because he noticed a need in the local market.

“I have solved the women’s problems regarding the purchases of the kitchen utensils, which are so important to them,” Musa says. “I make it so easy for them by selling them these commodities in reasonable prices and in convenient installments, especially for those who can’t pay immediately.”

Musa’s business sense and willingness to deal with his customers are paying off. His small business is expanding to the point that he is considering approaching a bank for a loan.

“I am thinking of starting something new in the big markets in Zalingei,” he says. “Thank you, NEF, and all the best for you in your efforts … You’re doing a wonderful job.”




This story is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the Near East Foundation, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.


NEF’s Legacy in Sudan


Since NEF established its Sudan program in 1978, our field staff have worked tirelessly through decades of civil war and regime change to deliver hope and lasting change.

Here’s a brief history of our impact in communities throughout the country.

1970s and ‘80s

Early on, NEF’s projects in Sudan focused on building local institutional capacity for sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry. In 1986, a decade-long initiative was launched to promote beekeeping (with African bees) by collaborating with a group of young Sudanese professionals to form the Sudan Bee and Agricultural Association in central Sudan and Darfur. The training center in Kabum in South Darfur continues to function—nearly 20 years after NEF’s direct support ended.


NEF expanded its technical training capacities to include programs in project design, participatory development, gender sensitivity, finance, and community health. NEF staff trained more than 2,000 Sudanese government officials and local development professionals through experiential learning workshops.

In the late ‘90s, NEF launched a micro-credit program for low-income people in the states of North Kordofan, North Darfur, and Blue Nile, and eight large communities of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) around Khartoum. NEF staff also worked with three communities in North Darfur to train midwives and set up revolving funds to assure availability of affordable over-the-counter and prescription medicines. The program ultimately expanded to 10 communities, where the funds continue to function even after years of conflict in the region.


NEF began a series of integrated projects in the Dar Es-Salaam al-Rabwa IDP community outside of Khartoum, whose more than 40,000 residents lacked access to basic health care, education, and water. The first task was to construct the community’s only health clinic. Originally designed to provide basic services to local residents, the center expanded to offer pre-and post-natal care, primary health care, and maternity services to nearly 2,000 patients per month. Management of the health center has now transitioned to a local aid organization experienced in health care delivery.

Beginning in 2004, NEF mobilized local communities to repair and improve their water supply systems. By the project’s close in 2008, more than 2,100 individuals had access to potable water, and the community health clinic and local schools were connected to the new pipe network. In addition, NEF staff worked with community associations to construct and renovate local primary schools, organize women’s literacy classes, and establish microcredit and microenterprise programs.

Today, NEF’s projects in Sudan focus around peace building through collaborative natural resource management and livelihood support, raising awareness on HIV-AIDS, and developing income-generating skills among internally displaced people. 

Click here to read more about our past and ongoing work in Sudan.

NEF Welcomes Ian Bremmer to President’s Council

New York, NY (April 16, 2014) — The Near East Foundation (NEF) is pleased to announce that Ian Bremmer, distinguished political scientist and author, has joined its President’s Council.

“The Near East Foundation represents a spirit and commitment to political stability and economic well-being needed now more than ever in the world,” said Mr. Bremmer. “I’m honored to join the President’s Council and support NEF’s critical efforts.”

Mr. Bremmer is Founder and President of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm. His firm provides financial, corporate, and government clients with information and insight on how political developments move markets.

As a member of the President’s Council, he joins other diplomatic and global leaders who provide strategic guidance for NEF’s economic development and participatory governance efforts throughout the Middle East and Africa.

“Ian is one of the world’s foremost experts on global issues, and we are very grateful that his strategic insights will help inform our work to reduce poverty and build cooperation throughout the region,” said Shant Mardirossian, Chair of NEF’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Bremmer created Wall Street’s first global political risk index and has authored several books, including the national bestseller, Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World. He is a columnist for the Financial Times, Reuters and Politico Magazine, and is frequent contributor to numerous other print and television media outlets.

He holds a PhD in political science from Stanford University and was the youngest-ever national fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is a global research professor at New York University, and has held faculty positions at Columbia University, the EastWest Institute and the World Policy Institute.


Eurasia Group is the world’s leading global political risk research and consulting firm. By providing information and insight on how political developments move markets, we help clients anticipate and respond to instability and opportunities everywhere they do business. Founded in 1998, the firm’s name reveals its early focus on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, but today our research platform is global. Our analysts monitor political, economic, social, and security developments in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. Headquartered in New York, we have offices in Washington, D.C. and London, as well as on-the-ground experts and resources in more than 100 countries. Our analysts are highly trained political scientists with extensive experience in the public and private sectors. To learn more visit

The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international NGO leading innovative social and economic development in the Middle East and Africa since 1915. For nearly 100 years, NEF has worked to empower citizens in disadvantaged, vulnerable communities. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to find grassroots solutions to their development challenges. NEF’s “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” approach is helping build more prosperous, inclusive communities throughout the region. To learn more visit  

Significant Income Increases Among NEF Partner Farmers in Sudan

North Kordofan, Sudan (March 25, 2014) — In the first few months of 2014, Sudanese farmers who participated in Near East Foundation (NEF) trainings increased their average income from 200 SDG to 900 SDG per month – or nearly USD $120 per month.

This amount is substantial for vulnerable families in this impoverished region of Sudan.

NEF conducted the training in Um Rawaba, where farmers learned successful strategies in gum arabic farming techniques and gained access to microfinance.  The skills farmers gained at the workshop have translated into increased gum arabic production – and contributed to the increases in household income.

Huda Muhammad, a gum arabic farmer and mother of 9 in North Kordofan, learned through the training session how her techniques were actually inadvertently damaging her production and destroying the crop on which her livelihood depends.

“Before taking part in the training workshops, I had little idea of best practices for cultivating and collecting gum arabic from the local Acacia woodlands,” Huda said.  “Without much consideration for the trees, we used them for many things: charcoal production, firewood, and gum arabic.”

With support from NEF, Huda and other farmers like her are actually increasing their income while helping to preserve the Acacia tree.

“The workshops taught me the how to harvest gum arabic in a way that actually stimulates tree growth,” Huda said. “It has also shown me how to manage loans and revenue.”

For over three decades, NEF has pioneered innovative solutions to economic development challenges impacting communities throughout Sudan. Moving forward, we will continue helping farmers like Huda Muhammad build a more prosperous and sustainable future for their country.

Learn more about NEF’s work in Sudan


The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international NGO leading innovative social and economic development in the Middle East and Africa since 1915. For nearly 100 years, NEF has worked to empower citizens in disadvantaged, vulnerable communities. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to find grassroots solutions to their development challenges. NEF’s “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” approach is helping build more prosperous, inclusive communities throughout the region. To learn more visit

Youth Inspired By NEF Trainings See Real Change in Sudan, Help Stop the Violence

Zalingei, Sudan (March 17, 2014) — Abdullah Jidah and his colleagues at the Zalingei Youth Committee are hopeful for the future. They have courage, resourcefulness, and a tenacious vision for a peaceful Darfur.

Their budding movement is called “Youth of the Tribes.” Their members number 75 in the village of Zalingei and 500 throughout the State, representing 35 different ethnic groups.

Committee leader Abdullah and others are making their vision for peace a reality using conflict resolution skills learned from the Near East Foundation (NEF) through a project funded by the Darfur Community Peace & Security Fund (DCPSF).

Abdullah and many of the new movement’s members are among 385 people who participated in 14 leadership and conflict management training workshops. The approach was developed in partnership with Syracuse University’s Program on the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration.

The trainings are a component of a larger project bringing diverse communities together to manage shared natural resources that are so often a flashpoint for tensions.

Empowered by their conflict resolution training, Abdullah and others traveled 60 kilometers to the village of Traige to meet with key members of the warring ethnic groups and deliver their message of peace. Violence there caused many to flee their homes and join Darfur’s 1.8 million internally displaced population.

Leaders from opposing groups gathered to hear Abdullah make a passionate speech about the impact of conflict and the need to stop the fighting. Afterwards, leaders from both sides admitted they were ashamed that it took a group of young people to get them to think more seriously about the importance of peace, the destructive nature of their feuds, and the need to stop the cycle of retaliation that perpetuates violence in Darfur.

Abdullah’s plea for peace inspired the change he and his group had hoped for—there have been no incidents of conflict reported in four months in Traige.

Meanwhile, NEF trained community leaders from more than 20 villages are using the inclusive approaches to conflict resolution introduced in the workshops to manage disputes that do arise, and to inspire more young people like Abdullah in the cause of peace.

Learn more about NEF’s work in Sudan


The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international NGO leading innovative social and economic development in the Middle East and Africa since 1915. For nearly 100 years, NEF has worked to empower citizens in disadvantaged, vulnerable communities. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to find grassroots solutions to their development challenges. NEF’s “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” approach is helping build more prosperous, inclusive communities throughout the region. To learn more visit