« 100 YEARS – 100 LIVES » | SUDAN - “Starting a local business made it possible for us to cover our needs and even to save some money”

An ILO project provided training to vulnerable communities in the Darfur region that led to the creation of small businesses.

Reportage | Sudan |
KHARTOUM - The Darfur region has been an area that was seriously affected by a civil conflict which created increased vulnerability. Pastoralists and agro-pastoralists are one of the groups that have been identified as particularly vulnerable.

This led to the creation of an ILO project sought to enhance livelihood recovery of vulnerable pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the region.

In addition to constructing and rehabilitating 55 water facilities, it provided some 700 beneficiaries with technical skills aimed at enhancing their entrepreneurial potential and linked them to financial services for business start-up.

The project was jointly implemented with other UN agencies. They coordinated closely with the government, NGOs and the private sector in Darfur.

Hanan Abdulmajed and several other women from Milliet locality benefitted from an ILO training. Soon after they were able to start
a baking business. By selling cookies and pastries in the surrounding communities, members of her business group were able to better meet their basic needs and even to save some money.

The project also aimed at improving crop and livestock production and productivity through the sustainable management of natural resources, including land, water, forest resources, and the promotion of alternative energy sources.

Business opportunities

In addition, the programme promoted alternative employment opportunities through technical training and the development of entrepreneurial potential. What’s more, cooperatives, self-help groups and potential operators of micro-small enterprises were trained in the use of a wide range of relevant ILO tools on gender, entrepreneurship, and cooperatives.

The 700 beneficiaries were able to identify market and business opportunities in their communities; they acquired new skills in their business domain and were able to adapt the learning skills to their respective environment, and to share their knowledge with others.

Since taking part in the ILO training, Mazahir Mohamed and
her group have been selling goods
to markets and offices, using a donkey cart as a means of transport. The group has been able to save some money and plans to expand its business once they register as
a cooperative and obtain funding.

“Before, I thought that starting a business required a lot of money. But I learned through the project that skills, motivation and confidence were even more important and the critical first step,” she said.

Reducing vulnerability

As a result of the project, the two Ministers of Social Welfare (of North and South Darfur) became very interested in adopting and replicating the rural and agricultural value chain concept in their two states.

They also began discussing the feasibility of developing social development institutions to encourage the rural production. This has played an important role in accelerating the transition from relief to development by creating jobs for vulnerable groups.

As such, it helped contribute to the peace process while laying the groundwork for scaling up the intervention to reach many more youth and women in the region.

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