This year, Sudan has felt the impact of tremendous disruption of political authority and factioned governance that has long ruled the country. Amidst this pro-democracy movement, with your support, Sudan’s resilience to the challenges this transformation continues to bring is a testimony to NEF’s affinity for positive change — irrespective of the soil we are on.
The Fall of Bashir
- February 22nd, Omar Al-Bashir declares state of emergency, all unofficial protests are deemed illicit
- April 11th, Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan’s President since 1993, had been ousted
- More than 100 dead and or missing after protests, mainly including members of the SPA, Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella alliance of Sudanese professionals formed to defend their rights, livelihoods and working conditions, and a high percentage of women
- Ongoing formation of a transitional government; on July 5th, Sudan’s military and pro-democracy forces agreed on a power-share agreement: a rotating, joint sovereign council for the next three years
- Bashir is facing criminal charges for the illegal possession of foreign currency and corruption
Within the past few months, this new transition period has further heightened pre-existing challenges in Sudan. Due to ongoing obstacles endemic throughout Sudan such as the lack of diesel, an inability to access cash timely, and a shortage in bread, sectors under cultivation, transportation, and general transactions are being negatively impacted. The consequences alongside the rise of demonstrations and protests between community members and the government has provoked tension, making it difficult for humanitarian groundwork to be executed by many international and local organizations. Rising hostilities between civilians, Sudanese Armed Forces, Jihadists, and other militias has led to the displacement of thousands of individuals which has resulted in devastating consequences for not only their health and livelihoods but also for the local populations in the areas where they have resettled. This has manifested in rapid food insecurity, inadequate access to clean water, deteriorating sanitation and hygiene conditions and diminished opportunities for a sustainable life.
Despite the increasing conflict and evolving needs in Sudan, NEF has remained steadfast and uninterrupted in the implementation and approach of our programs. NEF’s current work focused on water, sanitation, and hygiene humanitarian interventions (WASH), uses a market-based approach to improve livelihoods and health for the recently displaced and conflict-affected populations in and around Central Darfur State and South Kordofan. Bringing safe and reliable means of access to clean water, latrines, and hygiene practices to communities in Sudan has reduced the unsafe distances in which women, and sometimes children, have had to travel in order to collect water. The proximity of water has also drastically cut down the time it takes to retrieve water for drinking, sanitation or cultivating purposes. These responsibilities formerly equated to lost opportunity for women’s education, employment, and even leisure. Now, there are more hours in the day for women to earn an income, provide for their families, teach and perform other household duties. Up-to-date hygienic practices and the implementation of latrines has significantly improved the health amongst the Darfur communities. Arbaba Ahmed, 34, a mother of five, suffered a great deal due to the inaccessibility of clean water. Often, Ahmed’s children getting sick disrupted livelihood duties and finances:
“Before this project we were going through a long path of sufferings and hardships… We used to suffer from lack of water even for drinking. We fetched water from really far away distances. Also, the water used to always [be] contaminated and with the lack of a latrine (toilet), my children used to always [be] sick with diarrhea and fevers. This is something I spent a lot [of] money on. I even thought of going to another area, where my children can be safe from these diseases…
Children are often the most at risk when it comes to unsanitary conditions. When a child becomes ill, the mother, not only the primary caretaker but also the bearer of household duties, must sacrifice time and finances. In a community like the one in Darfur where unsanitary water-borne illnesses are abundant, women leaving their work to look after their young results in the diminishing of the community’s overall economic viability – further exacerbating the challenges that persist in Sudan.
… Yet thank God, unexpectedly, this project started with the construction of the water yard and the latrines. Now, all these problems just vanished. No diarrheas, no fevers. We drink safe water and we don’t have to go out [because] we have our own latrine. Not only that, the whole area now is away from these symptoms which we suffered from for a long time. The good thing is, as a result of that, I started a small business at home and my children are now doing well at schools in terms of punctuality and studying.”
The project has so far improved access to potable water and adequate sanitation and hygiene for 116,000 individuals.
As a Result of NEF’s Direct Efforts:
- Water availability increased to 18.7 l/p/d for the displaced communities. Beforehand, depending on the village, water availability was below the minimum SPHERE Guideline of 7.5 l/p/d
- Repaired or built 550 latrines
- Trained 40 WSC (Water and Sanitation Committees) members, 8 community Mobilizer and 7 community leaders.
- Distributed 2,655 hygiene and jerry (jugs) kits
- Reduced open defecation
- Installed an electric submersible pump & water distribution system
By collaborating with WES, the sector lead of WASH in Central Darfur State, NEF has enabled the most vulnerable community members access, training, and tools for maintaining sustainable and positive progress beyond NEFs longevity in Sudan. Training from WASH included water source management, monitoring and evaluation, household awareness and information dissemination.
Hygiene and sanitation training enhanced community willingness, collaboration, participation, understanding, and commitment toward achieving the overarching project goal. The kinship between the participants led them to commence an agency of change by creating a forum that maintained open communication and support with one another. Within this is an upheld aim to collect money and store it as emergency reserve assets. This marked a unique precedent of preparation that NEF helped establish. Through the ongoing training of local craftspeople, resilience to change and challenge is evident.
When crisis strikes again, the community’s capacity to address these issues will be much greater and will profess persistence above surrender.