Fatima Mahmoud A/Aziz
Information & communication officer in Kassala, Sudan
Recommended reading: http://www.practicalaction.org
Posts by Fatima
Practical Action, in collaboration with Kassala Women Development Association Network (KWDAN), organized an environmental sanitation campaign in four villages in the Talkok area, Toiat, Temegrif, Tahjer Kanjer and Bariay.
The slogan for the campaign was ‘Environmental sanitation is everyone’s responsibility!’
The campaign was launched in Twaite village on 30 January and continued for two days, before moving on to the other villages. The first day in Twaite proved a success with the local community adopting the ideas.
The organisations that participated in this campaign were the HAC, Practical Action, Kassala Women Association Network, and Talkok Health Office. It was a good idea to start in the boy’s school because children are the future, we rely on them.
Children were motivated by the campaign slogan and toured the village urging others citizens to see sanitation as an important part of a healthy life.
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Kassala Talkok village is a place where many people produce and innovate. But there is one big problem – they do not know how to market their products.
To address this Practical Action Sudan organised a workshop centered on the concepts and application methods of Participatory Market Systems Development (PMSD), as part of the Aqua 4 East project.
The rationale behind this training is the need to expand the understanding of project participants about their own obstacles and constraints in order to enable them to engage in community development with extensive perspective and knowledge.
Unlike other approaches PMSD suits such situations where community capability and readiness is restricted by a variety of factors that hindering their applications. Almost all the participants were new to this approach and were excited by its features.
The facilitation of the training was done by an expert who has previous working experiences in the same field with Practical Action, which helped the workshop reach its objective
The objective of this training was to enable representatives of local communities and Aqua 4 East project partners to participate in their communities and institutions to contribute to the achievement of project goals through the application of market development systems.
Specific training objectives
To enable participants to understand the approach to market development systems through identifying:
- Tools used in the participatory market system development
- Guidelines steps involved in development of markets systems
- How to use the application method on the ground
As a result of the training participant acquired the skills and knowledge of practical and scientific PMSD and its application on the ground. They learned the basic steps of the road map approach to market development systems and how to apply them along with a knowledge of the markets systems partners of the market at various levels and roles of each partner’s specific market.1 Comment » | Add your comment
On 15th October each year, Global Hand Washing Day is celebrated to motivate and mobilise people around the world to improve their hygiene habits by washing their hands with soap at critical times throughout each day. Washing your hands with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. In addition to using soap, proper sanitation awareness and drinking clean water are key to preventing disease.
The aims of Global Hand Washing Day are to: promote and support a general culture of hand washing with soap in all societies and raise awareness of the benefits of the simple practice of washing your hands with soap.
There are many health problems in Kassala state due to the recurring floods. Sewage has contaminated drinking water and hence a large proportion of the state’s population has suffered from illnesses such as cholera and diarrhea. Many people, the majority being children, have died from these diseases.
The most important solution to these problems is personal hygiene – a solution that has been marked as one of the outputs for the Water 4 East Project.
Practical Action and the Sudanese Red Crescent organised the celebrations for this year’s Global Hand Washing Day, with the slogan of ‘make hand-washing a habit’ being championed. The celebrations took place in a village that had been affected by the floods, with over 50 houses damaged. However, the village is now benefitting from the Water 4 East Project.
During Global Hand Washing Day, students and communities are taught the importance of washing their hands with soap and water at critical times. With support from the Ministry of Health, people now know and understand the proper way to wash their hands using both soap and water. Validating the awareness day, Ohaj Ahmed explained “we have washed our hands for many years but for the first time, we will follow these steps” and student Hassan Ibrahim told us “we used to not wash our hands with soap for months and did not know the importance of it, but this celebration is clarifying that.”No Comments » | Add your comment
One of Practical Action’s latest projects in Sudan is called ‘Sustainable access to water, and improved sanitation and hygiene behaviour in the three states of Red Sea, Kassala and Gadarif’.
These three eastern states are among the poorest in Sudan. The programme will bring sustainable water supplies, improved hygiene and better sanitation practices to 350,000 people.
ZOA, in collaboration with IAS, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Plan, Practical Action and SOS Sahel (together with the Aqua4East Partnership), will deliver the project over 4 years using an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach.
- To establish regional Water Resources Management Committees (WRMC) to represent key stakeholders, and facilitate the development of management plans through a participatory planning process, including analysis from experts on the feasibility of different options.
- To provide secure access to safe water through renovation and construction of water points and groundwater collection infrastructure
- To promote improvements in hygiene and sanitation practice
- To document and share lessons learnt within and outside Sudan
- Inclusive mechanisms for IWRM in targeted catchment areas
- Raise awareness on the importance of water resources management
- Establish Water Resources Management Committees (WRMCs) for selected catchment areas
- Train WRMCs
- Set up data collection systems
- Conduct catchment-specific feasibility studies on options for water resources management infrastructure
- Develop Water Resources Management Plans (WRMPs) for selected catchment areas
2. Sustainable access to water for all user groups
- Construct appropriate water infrastructures for groundwater collection
- Renovate and/or construct appropriate drinking water facilities
- Investigate and promote appropriate methods for household water treatments
- Train WRMCs and WASHCs on the operation and maintenance of constructed water facilities
- Establish local spare parts supply chains for water points
3. Behaviour change for improved sanitation and hygiene practices
- Community-based sanitation and hygiene promotion
- Hygiene promotion in schools
- Construction of latrines in schools, health centres and public places
- Support to sanitation-related small business
4. Action learning to promote replication of IWRM
- Exchange lessons learnt with other similar projects in Sudan
- Develop technical papers
- External seminars on sustainable WASH community based projects
Effective development committees will be formed in three catchment areas across 22 different villages to improve community and grassroots involvement.
With previous experience in the fields of food security and integrated water resource management, Practical Action was the first to champion the formation of these committees. It is important for local people to participate in the development of projects. Project Manager Emad said, “Always you are the first and best”.
I was working as a volunteer in the women’s development network association in Kassala state when the Practical Answers project began.
The knowledge centre was one of the activities and when I saw it I simply asked myself, can these centres change the behavior of rural communities? We visited four villages in order to assess the needs for these centers.
We found people ignorant of simple things. One very malnourished child, in second grade at school, caught my attention. When I went to visit the village again after a while, I asked after this child and learned that he had died. This increased my fear and apprehension. Would these centres be able to change the behaviour of a poor community if even their most basic rights aren’t found – clothing, food and drink. This is a great challenge for Practical Action.
The centre was furnished with a digital TV and DVD player, chairs, table, mattresses and a generator. We started producing informative materials in Arabic and also translated into local dialects.
When I next came to visit I found a significant change in the children. They were so much cleaner! I asked them about this change and one of the trainees in the organization who spoke the local dialect surprised me with the response of one of the children. He told me that when they watch TV they do not like to their clothes to be dirty. And so a shift is taking place in these villages.
After a while the Country Director of Kassala came to visit one of the knowledge centres and I was worried whether what we were doing would be clear or not. A meeting was called and we asked 45 year old Sadiq Omar Koliel, what interest there is in these centres in the village and he explained.
“We can now make dairy products from our abundant milk. Previously surplus milk would go bad. I felt very proud when I realized that we had reached a turning point from ignorance to knowledge.”
“When you plant a seed and wait for it to grow you are afraid for its future. But when you look at success, you are dazzled.”
This has happened through our knowledge centres and we hope that more and larger communities will benefit through knowledge.
- Challenge poverty with knowledge
- Knowledge centres sustain development
- Developmental theatre is an effective tool for change.
Practical Action has established associations for pastoralists in Gadarif to help improve livelihoods.
Financed by the banks, these associations offer vaccinations and other health care benefits from the Department of Livestock and control of epidemics in Gadarif. There are more than 70 such associations.
The project, working in collaboration with the livestock department, has intervened to raise women’s awareness of how to raise and care for animals. Three training courses have been completed in the region, each with 15 women attending.
These women have been trained on drugs, first aid, wound treatment, injections and optimised animal feed. They were also shown how to identify common diseases among humans and animals, and how to avoid them.
The advantages of this training will be reduced animal mortality, increased productivity, better animal welfare and women’s involvement in primary health care.
At the political level, the Legislative Council praised Practical Action on the training for the women pastoral association about the basics of primary veterinary care and reducing losses of animals.2 Comments » | Add your comment
When you reach the outskirts of the city of Kassala, you will notice a beautiful and modest building, with women entering and exiting. One cannot help but wonder what is taking place in this building. If you are one of Kassala’s rural women, you will understand the importance of this building to women outside the city and its outskirts. This building is located in a neighbourhood called ‘Tagelsir District’, and the building serves as the location of the ‘Women’s Development Association Network, Kassala’ (WDAN).
The Women’s Development Association Network was first established by Practical Action in 1994. It is managed by women and for women to address their social and economic issues. The network has grown to hold over 50 associations, and offers direct and indirect support for women, while encouraging positive change in women’s lives. The association has gained donors’ trust, and the ability to receive funds, all through the effort of women since day one of its establishment. The unique thing about the WDAN is that while they have criteria for membership, a woman’s level of education is not a necessary one. In fact, the WDAN seeks to educate women and eradicate illiteracy through its programs.
WDAN adopts the REFLECT approach, which improves women’s skills through teaching them how to deal with issues they are facing. For example, one can gain skills in the ‘Health Unit’ not only by learning how to read and write, but also through learning solutions to health issues in their communities and an ability to make decisions in development. This brings forth the cases found in the Shambob village, which its association serves as one of the WDAN’s memberships. The Shambob association provides services for women including literacy classes and Income Generation Activities.
One of these remarkable women is Zahra, also known as Zahra Shambob. Zahra was an illiterate woman, and is the mother of five children. Zahra began taking literacy classes which focused on building skills in savings and management of finances, and more importantly, she learned bookkeeping. Through integrating the REFLECT approach in activities, she was able to document financial processes for herself, and other women. This empowered her and made her valuable to her community, and she became a reliable trustee when it comes to savings. On a personal level, Zahra says When my son would send me letters from university, I had to go give the letter to one of the men in my neighbourhood to hear my son’s news. I could not even read or know the difference between my children’s birth certificates, but now, this is possible for me.”
Because of Zahra, and many women like Zahra, we support rural women and encourage partners to support women’s literacy projects; it increases their knowledge, power, capacity and ability to be decision makers at home and in the community.No Comments » | Add your comment
When I started working at Practical Action on a project improving women’s status in the east of Sudan it was the first time I was introduced to this type of work with organizations and was wondering how organizations could manage societies with such limited funds? What was their role in developing and securing poor women’s livelihoods?
The answers to my questions came during one of my visits to a displacement camp called Waw Naar, the location of one of the women’s development association branches. The camp was unplanned and was notorious for selling wine and housing criminals. The surprise came at my second visit as it had changed completely starting from changing its name from Waw Naar to Waw Nour as well as the life style which was changed to a modern life.
I found many women’s associations working on revolving funds, health, education and construction. I was certain that development could be achieved with limited funds such as group sharing when it becomes a registered association and Waw Nour Women’s Association is an example.
Two remarkable women from Waw Nour
Sabella worked as midwife. I visited her house and found a wooden bedroom and she told me her story that I will tell you in brief. Sabella told me that she was trained in carpentry which was a very tough work and men were mocking me because she was a woman.
“Practical Action did me a favor as I became a carpenter and made my own room with my bare hands as well as a carpenter shop that afford job opportunities for many people. If a woman has the willpower she can do wonders.”
Another woman called Amna Alhaj Sapoon was a displaced person from the Nuba mountains and was living in Waw Nour, with her five children. She was jobless with no social position before she came to Practical Action. She joined the women’s development association and trained in food processing. The change at her life started from that point. She created her own business processing food and selling vegetables and was trained on managing her business properly. Her life style changed as she bought and built a house as well as supporting her husband and educating her children at school. She became the chairwoman of Waw Nour women’s development association. She tells us proudly that her second son came first in the Intermediate school exams and she was selected as the ideal mother. Amna’s motto is “Women are an effective tool for change”.1 Comment » | Add your comment
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