More than one in four people in Sudan requires humanitarian assistance. The country is suffering from multiple protracted and recent emergencies, against a challenging, changing backdrop. The political system is in a strained state of transition, the economy is currently in crisis with high inflation, a peace process with multiple non-state armed groups is underway, and the African Union-UN peacekeeping mission prematurely closed at the end of 2020 despite continuing protection threats.
Sudan is the fifth largest humanitarian context in the world, with 13 million people in humanitarian need, including over 2.5 million Sudanese who are conflict-displaced (225,685 people since 1 January 2021 alone). The majority of those displaced are in Darfur, plus Sudan is hosting over a million refugees from various countries, including South Sudan (71 per cent), Eritrea (11%), Syria (9%), Ethiopia (6%), and others. In November 2020, clashes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region sparked an outflow of refugees into eastern Sudan in search of safety, with at least 46,000 registered so far.
Despite these high levels of needs, the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan is currently only 24 per cent funded.
People we helped in Sudan in 2020
NRC re-entered Sudan in 2020 and is establishing its operational footprint in multiple locations affected by conflict and displacement. Our priorities are twofold. In the aftermath of violence and disaster, we give immediate, emergency assistance. Where the effects of long-term displacement have taken hold, we work to find lasting solutions. We implement programming across NRC’s six core competencies, integrating cash and markets-based approaches, advocacy, and digital modes of assistance, as well as co-leading various humanitarian coordination platforms.
NRC uses camp management approaches to enhance communication with communities, community participation, and support to inclusive coordination in urban non-formal camp and spontaneous self-settled site environments. Our camp management teams:
- establish and run mobile teams to facilitate outreach information sessions where displaced Sudanese can access information about services and be referred for assistance
- establish and support site committees who disseminate information and solve problems in their communities
- support local site management coordination mechanisms, including through facilitation of meetings between relevant stakeholders to highlight needs and gaps
- provide capacity building, training and support to community representation and humanitarian structures
- contribute to an early warning system strategy and operational plan through innovative initiatives (i.e. installation of early warning mechanisms linked with contingency and response planning)
NRC’s education programme in Sudan supports formal and non-formal education to ensure that displacement-affected children, adolescents and youth enjoy access to relevant quality education in safe and protected environments. Our teams:
- provide basic access to formal and community-based education at primary and lower-secondary levels
- build the capacity of teachers and education personnel in core teaching and psychosocial skills
- support formal schools to increase their absorption capacity for the integration of displacement-affected out-of-school children and adolescents
- increase access to e-learning to support Ethiopian refugee adolescents and youth to complete their tertiary studies
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
ICLA provides information and legal advice to displacement-affected individuals on a wide range of legal matters within three thematic areas: 1) housing, land and property (HLP); 2) legal identity, including civil documentation (LCD); and 3) employment law and procedures. NRC is currently setting up its ICLA programming across three states in Sudan. Our teams:
- create awareness through the provision of tailored information sessions – in person or using digital modes of assistance – on HLP and access to LCD
- provide one-on-one counselling and legal assistance to support displacement-affected communities to enforce their rights to HLP and access to LCD
- support collaborative dispute resolution of conflicts over land through capacity building of local authorities and community leaders
- undertake research on Sudan’s employment law, procedures, access to employment and livelihood opportunities and the barriers that displacement-affected communities face when trying to access these opportunities
Livelihoods and food security
NRC Sudan’s LFS programming supports displacement-affected communities to meet basic food needs, improve the quality and diversity of diets, and enhance access to income-earning opportunities for placed households and host communities. Our teams:
- support vulnerable IDPs and refugees to have access to healthy and balanced food through cash-based interventions
- provide refugee and vulnerable host community youth with the soft and technical skills required to establish demand-driven small business projects, thus fostering self-reliance and promoting economic inclusion
Shelter and settlements
The shelter and settlements programme works to provide access to adequate housing for displacement-affected individuals by ensuring they can better meet their basic needs with regard to dignity, privacy and physical protection. Our shelter team:
- responds to inadequate shelter conditions and provides essential household items (primarily in Um Rakuba and Tunaydbah refugee camps in eastern Sudan)
- provide technical support for flood mitigation measures, including targeted provision of non-food item kits to help keep refugees safe from extreme weather conditions
- distribute core relief items and emergency shelter kits
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
Water, sanitation and hygiene practices are not the norm in many parts of Sudan, largely due to the lack of infrastructure and behaviour. In NRC Sudan’s WASH activities, our team closely work with the education and camp management teams to promote integration and safe programming. The team:
- provides and/or upgrades water supply facilities and supports good hygiene practices
- provides access to improved sanitation and handwashing facilities in or nearby schools
- supports site management teams in cholera preparedness across displacement sites and in improvement of communal infrastructure (e.g. desludging community latrines)
Advocacy and policy
The advocacy team works to ensure protection of civilians, an adequate humanitarian response and refugee rights across Sudan. Through a data-centred and ground-up approach, the advocacy team works to ensure that refugees’ perspectives are represented.
Cash and markets
NRC Sudan’s cash and markets team lead the design and implementation of more efficient and intelligent cash support programming through multi-platform mechanisms (e.g. cash, voucher, digital) and data-centric implementation. In addition, NRC will focus on market system analysis and solutions that holistically support vulnerable displaced populations by identifying and addressing systemic issues. NRC’s primary approach will focus on working with existing stakeholders in order to support and transform vital market systems.
Digital modes of assistance
NRC Sudan is working on developing a Digital Communication Hub (DCH), which is a customised two-way communication channel that aims to ensure displacement-affected individuals are in a better position to meet their basic needs through increased access to information and services. The platform will enable displaced-affected populations to raise questions and emergency alerts, communicate their needs, obtain referrals for specialised services, and voice complaints or feedback via the hub.
NRC Sudan's digital team is closely collaborating with Twilio, a cloud communications platform, and Zing, a cloud-based complaints response mechanism using interactive voice recording, to establish the DCH.
- European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)
- European Union
- Education Cannot Wait
- German Federal Foreign Office
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- Vitol Foundation
About NRC in Sudan
Darfur's return to war would spell disaster for Sudan
At least 125 people were brutally killed this month, when Arab and Masalit tribesmen fought running street battles in the Sudanese city of El Geneina. Rocket-propelled grenades hit a hospital and UN compound, and families who were already forced to flee their homes because of past fighting were pushed out of camps.