After years of growing violence and humanitarian needs, Sudan tipped over into war on 15 April 2023. Six months of brutal violence have exacted a devastating toll on civilian lives and infrastructure, and threaten to consume the entire country. The humanitarian crisis has now reached epic proportions. Thousands of lives have been lost, and countless of homes and displacement camps have been reduced to ashes in Khartoum, Darfur and Kordofan.
As of September 2023, at least 5.1 million people have fled within the country or across its borders since April, turning Sudan into one of largest and fastest-growing displacement crises in the world. About half of the population – 24.7 million people – need humanitarian aid and protection. That includes nearly 14 million children, whose future is now at risk, and close to a million refugees (South Sudanese, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Syrian, Central African and others). As markets and the economy collapse, almost 6.3 million people are one step away from famine while basic services are shattered.
24,267people benefited from our education programme
41,957people benefited from our food security programme
40,524people benefited from our shelter programme
21,115people benefited from our camp management programme
19,984people benefited from our ICLA programme
54,412people benefited from our WASH programme
65,025people benefited from other NRC activities
NRC returned to Sudan in 2020, and currently operates in four area offices, although has temporarily suspended work in Khartoum and North Darfur. We are dedicated to helping people affected by war, protracted displacement and natural disasters by supporting their survival, protection and dignity.
We provide lifesaving multi-sectoral emergency responses prioritising cash assistance. We respond through education, protection, livelihoods and food security, access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, and information, counselling, and legal assistance programmes, as well as site management support. We use technology to improve our programmes, work closely with local partners and grassroots networks, and advocate for those in need.
Protection from violence
NRC is an active member of the Protection Working Group, the National Protection Sector, the Protection Cluster Strategic Advisory Group, and the MHPSS Working Group. Alongside the well-established site management programme, NRC is piloting the NRC Protection from Violence programme focussing on protection monitoring, analysis, individual protection assistance, and civilian self-protection through community-based protection. The protection programme is supported by NRC’s advocacy work, to ensure that evidence from the ground is taken to the attention of decision makers and contributes to change. Our teams:
- conduct protection assessments, analysis, and advocacy
- maintain a proactive presence and individual response services to reduce and address protection concerns
- support civilian self-protection, through working with local groups
- provide comprehensive coordination of services through mobile site management and an urban displacement out-of-camp (UDOC) approach
In coordination with the Ministry of Education, we support formal and non-formal education to ensure that displacement-affected children, adolescents and youth enjoy access to appropriate, quality schooling in safe and protected environments. Our teams:
- provide basic access to formal education at primary and lower-secondary levels
- build the capacity of teachers, education personnel and school-based management committees in core teaching, non-specialised classroom-based psychosocial support, and socio-emotional learning skills
- support formal schools to increase their absorption capacity for the integration of displacement-affected and out-of-school children and adolescents
- support displaced and out-of-school children to catch up through alternative education programmes
- support displacement-affected children to remain connected and protected, and ensure they have the opportunity to learn through emergency non-formal education programmes
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
Our response supports displacement-affected communities to access legal documentation such as the national number, national identity cards, birth registration and marriage registration, so they have better access to services. We strengthen mechanisms of dispute resolution at the local level to help resolve property and land issues. We also promote access to essential services and help mitigate and resolve issues arising from labor/employment relationships. Our teams:
- create awareness through the provision of tailored information sessions – in-person and digitally – on access to legal documents, essential services, overcoming labour- and employment related challenges, and dispute resolution
- provide one-on-one counselling and legal assistance to support displacement-affected communities to enforce their rights to access legal documents, essential services, dispute resolution and resolution of employment-related challenges
- support collaborative dispute resolution of conflicts through capacity building of local authorities and community structures
- advocate for displaced people’s land and property rights as the co-chair of the Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Task Force, including through research and publication of reports and briefing notes
Livelihoods and food security
We support refugees, displacement-affected people and vulnerable host communities to help them meet basic food needs in areas with high levels of food insecurity. We aim to increase access to income-earning opportunities through small-scale off-farm income generating projects, on-farm food production and smallholders’ access to input, output and financial markets. Our teams:
- support vulnerable, food-insecure IDPs and refugees to have access to healthy and balanced food through cash-based interventions
- provide refugee, IDP and vulnerable host community youth, men and women with the soft and technical skills and cash grants for demand-driven small business projects, thus fostering self-reliance and promoting economic inclusion
- assist IDP and host community families with safe access to small backyard gardens and support them with seeds, tools and appropriate training, targeted to increase household income and improve dietary diversification
- support host communities and displacement-affected communities with improved natural resource management
Shelter and settlements
We provide access to adequate housing for displacement-affected people. We support site preparation and allocation, distribute and pitch tents, help repair damaged shelters and build durable ones, while training communities in basic carpentry skills. We provide technical support for flood mitigation and distribute essential relief and household items. Our team:
- responds to inadequate shelter conditions and provides essential household items (primarily in refugee camps and IDP gathering sites in eastern and central Sudan)
- provides technical support for flood mitigation measures, including targeted provision of non-food item kits to help keep refugees safe from extreme weather conditions, and dewatering of flooded gathering sites
- distributes core relief items and emergency shelter kits
- supports construction of durable shelters to provide refugees and IDPs with protection from the elements, ensuring most materials are locally sourced
Water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH)
We address acute WASH needs and reduce protection risks through the delivery of life-saving assistance, restoring and sustaining existing WASH facilities which are inclusive. We seek to engage local resources (people, businesses and authorities) in the provision of WASH services. Our teams:
- support rehabilitation and construction of water supply systems and facilitate their management to improve sustainability
- use, support and develop markets to meet affected population’s WASH needs like WASH NFIs
- promote positive hygiene practices through hygiene awareness campaigns
- provide inclusive sanitation facilities with appropriate waste disposal and treatment mechanisms and improve living conditions through public- and community-supported solid waste management
- improve WASH infrastructures in schools to offer a safe environment to children
- respond to emerging disease outbreaks by ensuring infection, prevention and control protocols are in place in the affected locations such as camps and settlements
Through the Rapid Response Mechanism, we provide immediate lifesaving support to displaced populations within the first 14 days of a crisis. Our first line interventions include multi-purpose cash assistance for basic needs, provision of emergency shelter, non-food items solutions, and water and sanitation services. We have invested in strengthening our presence in hard-to-reach locations through a team of trained staff and volunteers which enables us to deploy as early as possible to affected locations to conduct assessments and provide lifesaving support, until a longer-term solution can be found in coordination with other humanitarian partners.
Advocacy and policy
We advocate for the protection of civilians across Sudan, including those forced to flee violence, respecting International Humanitarian Law. We press the world’s leaders to address the crisis in Sudan, end the suffering and engage with humanitarian community to improve the quality of the response. Our positions and policy recommendations are informed by the reality on the ground and by the people we serve.
Cash and markets
We design and deliver comprehensive, emergency cash responses to ensure that displacement-affected populations acquire their preferred items with choice and dignity. Cash transfers are part of our efforts to integrate a markets-based approach in our programming. We empower local public and private actors to take the lead in responding to the needs of their communities and to benefit host communities’ struggling economies. NRC also explores digital transfer options to reach the most vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach areas where the banking system is disrupted and financial infrastructure damaged in the wake of the April conflict.
Digital modes of assistance
We developed a digital hub to allow a two-way communication channel between NRC and displacement-affected populations. This enables people in need to raise questions and trigger emergency alerts, communicate their needs and obtain referrals for specialised services. They may also provide feedback and voice complaints. We use the channel to send information in bulk on aid distribution, and to promote hygiene and nutrition best practices. We also leverage the digital hub to conduct remote data collection, including displacement monitoring through key informants, initial needs assessment, and post distribution monitoring, in locations where access remains a challenge.
Partnerships and collaboration
We coordinate through the cluster system in Sudan, the Refugee Consultation Forum, and the INGO Forum. Our approach to coordination goes beyond participation, as we share our knowledge and expertise. We co-chair the housing, land, and property rights sub-sector and the education sector’s assessment working group. We invest in state-level coordination in each of our areas of operation.
Building upon the local partnerships that we already have in place, we are further developing our approach to building partnerships with local organisations. We aim to ensure collaboration with strategic local NGOs across all projects. In 2023, NRC has signed local partnerships implementation agreements with six local partners for interventions in WASH, education, and livelihoods and food security.
- European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)
- European Union (EU)
- Education Cannot Wait Fund (ECW)
- German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA)
- Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
- Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)