Web page | 30 March 2021

Sudan’s Transitional Government’s Post-Revolutionary Challenges Ahead

In 2019, a large popular uprising led by Sudanese women and youth toppled the incumbent regime demanding freedom, peace and justice. The transitional government, which took office in September 2019, is committed to address the root causes of the protracted economic crisis and conflict to stabilize the economy and create fiscal space for sorely needed investments in infrastructure, education, health and economic development for all.

However, due to decades of economic sanctions and violent conflict, the humanitarian and economic situation is complex. Around 9 million Sudanese households receive assistance, 2.5 million people are internally displaced, and 1.1 million are refugees. All these people are in dire need for assistance.

In response to this, the ILO, UNHCR, UNICEF, the IFC and the WB, spearheaded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, came together leveraging their respective expertise under the PROSPECTS partnership. The partnership works towards delivering change within the refugee, internally displaced, returnees, and host community populations in East Darfur and West Kordofan across three pillars:
    Pillar 1: Quality Education and Training

    Pillar 2: Employment and Livelihoods

    Pillar 2: Protection and Inclusion

The Partnership is focusing its technical assistance on improving the quality of life for forcibly displaced and host communities from al Nimir camp and the nearby settlement of Assalaya in East Darfur, and El Meiram and Kharasana Settlements in West Kordofan. Together with our UN sister agencies, we are working to improve the quality and availability of locally relevant livelihoods skills training, strengthening the links between small plot farmers and agro-commodity buyer networks, restore access to critical water resources and grow markets.

The Situation in Target States

As of January 2020, more than 76,000 South Sudanese refugees and more than 60,000 IDPs reside in East Darfur. Most of them live in settlements in close proximity to 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.

East Darfur.
West Kordofan hosts around 60,000 South Sudanese refugees and more than 86,000 IDPs almost all of which live in self-settlements across the state. Under the PROSPECTS programme, the Partners have committed to developing interventions to support improvements in access to education, livelihoods, and protection systems along the Keilak/Kharasana corridor as well as in the deep field location of Al Meiram.

West Kordofan.
In both these states, the vast majority of beneficiaries depend on subsistence farming and agro-commodity production. Recent baseline data confirms that for both FDPs and HC members there is insufficient access to (i) markets, (ii) finance, (iii) education and training, (iv) government services and (v) healthcare facilities. This lack of economic opportunities and public goods is reflected in the fact that almost the entire population lives below the internationally defined poverty line of 1.90$ per day (see graph).

Reported individual income vs. 1.90$ poverty line by state and migration status in % (n=1,172).

What is more, populations are frequently exposed to inter-communal conflicts and violence and feel that access to decision-making, healthcare, and economic opportunities is not even between groups.

Perceived access to opportunities and services in West Kordofan, in % (n=1,172).
Female-headed households, which constitute 42% of forcibly displaced and 22% of host community households, face additional challenges. They are more likely to be illiterate, have little education, and fall below the poverty line. What is more, 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 do

Together with our UN sister agencies, the ILO is working to improve the quality and availability of livelihoods through four key avenues:
    Strengthening access to education and skills through mobile vocational training platforms and inclusion in upgraded informal apprenticeships.

    Improving market links between small plot farmers and agro-commodity buyer networks by strengthening cooperatives and value chain development.

    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 integration into value chains.

Wherever points of entry exist, the ILO remains a committed champion to mainstreaming gender into our interventions as well as working towards reducing decent work deficits in the workshops and small-scale enterprises we work with. This multi-dimensional approach is expected to provide an important start for local commercial exchange, bring in much needed finance from buyer networks, and help to improve social protection systems for both FDP and HC members.

Where we stand

To date, we have completed a number of programmatic assessments on pressing issues such as employment, decent work, skills development, child labour, social protection, value chain analyses, and the impact of COVID on local labour markets. Moreover, we have identified a number of water sources and two health care units for rehabilitation in close collaboration with local communities.

In addition, we have consulted with a wide variety of stakeholders identified governmental appropriate governmental counterparts for collaboration and begun to formulate implementation agreements with a number of local and international NGOs. Currently we are building partnerships with the private sector to develop contract-farming agreements, towards building inclusive value chains attracting national and international investment.

Finally, a range of tools for skills development and, employment and entrepreneurship promotion are currently being adapted to the reality encountered in target states, to better adapt them to leaners needs.