Sudan’s transitional government’s post-revolutionary challenges aheadIn December 2018, mass unrest forced the 30-year-old government of President Omar al-Bashir in Sudan to step down. A transitional government was put in place in 2019, which initiated socio-economic reforms leading to development and improving Sudan’s relationships with the international community. However, this progressive run was short-lived, and in October 2021, a military takeover destabilized the political situation once again.
Today, plagued by civil unrest and internal conflicts, Sudan’s political future remains uncertain, and the country continues to face a complex humanitarian crisis with around 9 million Sudanese households receiving assistance and a displaced population estimated at 3.03 million (UNHCR, 2022).
In response to this, the ILO, UNHCR, and UNICEF, spearheaded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, came together and have been leveraging their respective expertise under the PROSPECTS Partnership to help transform the way in which governments and other stakeholders, including the private sector, respond to forced displacement crises. Targeting to improve the lives of refugee, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and host community populations in East Darfur and West Kordofan the Partnership contributes to three pillars of the Partnership:
- Pillar 1: Quality Education and Training
Pillar 2: Employment and Livelihoods
Pillar 2: Protection and Inclusion
- enhance the quality and availability of locally relevant skills training,
- strengthen links between small plot farmers and agricultural produce buyer networks,
- improve access to healthcare services and critical water resources and
- grow markets and develop the mechanism to expand social health protection for both hosts and forcibly displaced.
The Situation in target statesAs of February 2022, more than 102,200 South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers and more than 99,600 IDPs reside in East Darfur. Most of them live in settlements near the host community or in one of the UNHCR’s camps. In East Darfur, the PROSPECTS Partnership is focusing its work on the target localities Assalayaa settlement and El Nimir camp.
West Kordofan hosts around 74,000 South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers and more than 91,000 IDPs who live in their own settlements across the state (as of 28 February 2022). The PROSPECTS Partnership supports communities along the Keilak/Kharasana corridor as well as in the deep field location of Al Meiram.
In both these states, most beneficiaries survive with the subsistence farming and production of agro-commodities remains underdeveloped. Recent baseline data confirms that both forcibly displaced and host community members have insufficient access to markets, finance, education and training, government services and healthcare facilities. In fact, the entire population in targeted communities live below the internationally defined poverty line of US$2.15 per day (see graph).
In addition, populations are frequently exposed to inter-communal conflicts and violence. The access to resources and economic opportunities is not balanced among groups.
Female-headed households, which constitute 42% of forcibly displaced and 22% of host community households, face additional challenges. They are more likely to be deprived of education and fall below the poverty line. They are less likely to see a significant improvement to their situation when pursuing income-generating activities and face numerous cultural barriers in accessing livelihoods.
What we plan to doTogether with the PROSPECTS Partners, the ILO is working to improve the quality and availability of livelihoods through four key avenues:
- Strengthening access to education and skills through improved school facilities, capacity-building of technical skill trainers and relevant government institutions, and through the deployment of mobile vocational training platforms into remote and underserved locations.
Increase the participation of small plot farmers in local value chains by raising agricultural productivity and strengthening agro-cooperatives.
Restoring access to clean water and expanding access to healthcare, through employment intensive infrastructure investments.
Developing financial services and products that are accessible to both forcibly displaced and host communities and support their integration into local value chains.
Where we standTill date, the ILO has completed several programmatic assessments on pressing issues such as employment, skills development, child labour, social protection, value chain analyses, and the impact of COVID-19 on local labour markets.
On field, in close collaboration with local communities, the ILO will be completing development of two new water borehole sites and restructuring of two health care units. In consultation with the local stakeholders and government counterparts, three Local Economic Development Committees have been established. They will guide and monitor the implementation of PROSPECTS initiatives and are expected to contribute towards the sustainability of the programme initiatives.
Partnerships for contract-farming are being developed to build inclusive value chains attracting national and international investment.
The programme has adapted range of ILO’s tools for skills development and, employment and entrepreneurship promotion to suit the target population and learner’s needs.