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  • Learning from sharing in Sudan

    Manal Hamid

    February 23rd, 2017

    Wadi el Ku catchment management project is an EU funded programme jointly implemented by Practical Action, UNEP and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Irrigation in North Darfur.

    Wadi el Ku is situated near El Fasher town and covers an area of 50km with 34 villages.  There are a number of internally displaced people and the area suffers from conflict, poor government resources and poor water use which lead to environmental degradation and negative effects on people’s livelihoods.

     The project supports

    1. Development of inclusive Natural Resource Management (NRM) with a focus on water
    2. Promotion of better livelihood practices and techniques
    3. Building institutional capacities

    The project organised a learning visit to East Sudan for North Darfur extension officials and community leaders on Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), agriculture, livestock and forestry innovation.  This formed part of the project’s capacity building programme for government institutions.

    Objectives of capacity building for this project are: 

    1. To improve the state government’s capacity to deliver services to local communities through enhancing the knowledge and skills of government staff
    2. To coordinate natural resource management institutions for joint policy decisions at different levels of government and local community through relationship building.

    Objectives of the visit:

    Wadi el KuTo demonstrate relevant technological innovations, practices and approaches  in the fields of agriculture, livestock, forestry and IWRM in Sudan to government extension officials and community leaders that would be applicable and useful to North Darfur and to the Wadi El Ku catchment in particular.

    Specifically the in-country learning visit is aimed at the following objectives:

    • To provide exposure to extension officials and community leaders from North Darfur to successful IWRM and NRM practices in other parts of Sudan
    • Learn about successful agricultural, livestock and forestry technology adoption and practices in Sudan
    • To bring a rich learning experience on NRM and IWRM practices, an agricultural/livestock/forestry techniques to North Darfur

    On  August Ms. Mariam Ibrahim from UNEP, Sudan visited the Eastern States on a scoping mission to prepare for the visit. In October 2016 team from North Darfur visited the Ministries of Livestock, Agriculture and Forestry.  The met with His Excellency the Minister of Livestock and made field visits to Gedarif Center for Improved Animal Production Techniques, Shwak Quarantine Station and the Regional  Veterinary Laboratory.

    Meeting our brothers from west Sudan was a once in a life time opportunity that give the whole group the chance to interact on both a professional and humanitarian level.

    The visit provided a valuable opportunity to observe and learn about NRM practices from other parts of Sudan and allowed participants to share their own experiences from Wadi El Ku, making it truly a two-way learning exchange.

    The two parties presented their activities at a final work shop.  This was a great opportunity for the Gedarif State participants to learn about the Wadi el Ku project.

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  • Establishing a water catchment network

    Entisar Mustafa

    February 17th, 2017

    Integrated water resources management (IWRM) is an important approach for the sustainable use of water resources, involving different sectors, while maintaining sustainability and observing regulation.

    Active community involvement is vital for a sustainable natural resources management approach. The principles of IWRM applied at a local level require a participatory community-driven approach where all water users and water sources are considered and prioritized by the communities.

    Aqua4East project in Kassala

    Under this project, IWRM committees were formed with 22 male and eight female members.  All were  experienced in water management and were trained to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

    Aqua4East workshopOne of Aqua 4 East activities carried out by our partner the Elgandual network of rural development, was a 3 day training workshop about establishing catchment networks. Participants represented  all members of catchment committees in addition to Elgandual staff members and HAC representatives.

    The workshop introduced participants to:

    1. The concept of networking
    2. Preparing the network’s vision and mission
    3. Setting up the organizational structure
    4. Job descriptions for network members
    5. Developing a facilitation and coordinating committee for the network of representatives of participating committees.

    Aqua4East workshopBy the end of the training the network was set up with ten members – eight men and two women. The role and regulation of the network was discussed by HAC representative, network roles agreed and the committee trained on drafting their action plan

    The next step will be to hold a workshop in Kassala with representatives of IWRM committees at the catchment level and partners to identify the objectives of the network.

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  • Sanitation is everyone’s responsibility

    Fatima Mahmoud A/Aziz

    February 16th, 2017

    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.

    sanitation in TalkokThe 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.

    sanitation in Talkok

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  • Energy market development and scaling up

    Izdehar Ahmed Mohamed

    February 14th, 2017

    To increase access to clean fuels and spread the benefits to health and environment, Practical Action is scaling up by using the Participatory Market System Development Approach (PMSD).

    This approaches involves all actors and stake holders in a dialogue with communities to discuss barriers and ways to overcome these barriers to further develop market systems for LPG as a clean fuel.

    DSC03049Workshops were held at state and federal levels with government agencies and ministries, the private sector, LPG companies, LPG distribution agents, the Ministry of Finance, energy research and financial institutions.  They joined community representatives to map the market chain and discuss LPG markets, their constraints and how these could be solved.

    The LPG project team leads an influencing process to address barriers. An environment protection forum including all stakeholders at state level and a sustainable energy network at national level, have been established by Practical Action to advocate for alleviation of barriers to the access of poor people to environment friendly technologies. These cover aspects such as tax and duty charges.

    Other activities include:Asha LPG stoves

    1. Linking Women’s Development Associations to LPG companies and financial institutions
    2. Forming saving and loan groups to access loans where the initial cost is a major barrier to poor people’s access to clean fuel technologies
    3. Awareness raising through local and international media, sharing knowledge and experience with all stakeholders and linking private sector social investment departments to carbon finance experience
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  • Improving latrine usage in Darasta


    January 31st, 2017

    The Aqua4East project in Telkok is working towards its communities becoming Open Defecation Free (ODF).  This will be achieved through practical activities such as latrine construction, burying faeces and keeping compounds and stream beds clean. The project is encouraging the Darasta community to use the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach.

    children Darasta CLTSThe group which was trained in these methods noted an improvement in latrine construction and encouraged people to build their own household latrines. In the past other organizations built latrines for some households but they were not used properly.  Now people understand their importance better and most of them are used.

    Sita Ahmed Adam, aged 25, said that she and her family have started digging and soon they will have their own latrine.  They now understand that their faeces can contaminate their hands and their food if they do not  properly dispose of their waste.

    CLTS in DarastaAmna Omer Hohamoud, aged 20 and her husband attended the CLTS training and recounted the importance of the family working together – wife, husband and children. They have now completed and use their latrine.

    “Now we feel comfortable we have the latrine inside the house and avoid people looked  at us and we go in the open, Also we know how to clean our hands after visiting the latrine with soap or ash.”

    The community members told us that the appearance of faeces on the street are less now that defecating in the open has reduced. They hope soon to be open defecation free.

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  • Participatory market systems development

    Fatima Mahmoud A/Aziz

    January 6th, 2017

    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.

    PMSD workshop Talkot

    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.

    PMSD workshop Talkok

    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.

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  • Involving women in water projects in Talkok

    Entisar Mustafa

    December 19th, 2016

    The DfID funded Aqua 4 East water and sanitation (WASH) project in Talkok aims to increase women’s participation in its project activities despite the status of women in the locality.

    Women’s participation in WASH projects can have many benefits. It can contribute to the achievement of specific objectives regarding the functioning and use of facilities and also to the of wider development goals. Their participation can also be of both direct and indirect benefit to the women themselves.

    women's participation SudanThe potential contribution of women to these objectives emerges logically from their traditional participation in water supply and sanitation as domestic managers. Women decide where to collect water and according to the season, how match water to collect and how to use it. In their choice of water source, they make reasoned decisions based on their own criteria of access, time, effort, water quantity, quality and reliability. In addition, much of the informal learning about water and sanitation takes place through interpersonal contact between women.

    Therefore women’s opinions and needs have important consequences for the acceptance, use and readiness to maintain new water supplies and for the health impact of the supply and for the ultimately of the project.

    Aqua for East SudanWomen’s participation in catchment committees is mainly administrative. For the first time women from Talkok from the Hadandwa tribe, attended training outside their villages. They have a tradition and culture that puts them under men’s control even within the village so meetings in the presence of men are not possible. The Elgandoul network for rural development which is responsible for the implementation of this part of the project, played a very important role is the discussions and negotiations with local authority leaders. As a result, they allowed six women from the areas participating in the three catchments to attend the three day integrated water resource management training workshop together with men in Kassala.

    At the end of the training Talkok leaders were convinced of the value of women’s participation and decided to allow them to attend future training sessions.

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  • Empowering women economically

    Howida Ahmed

    November 27th, 2016

    As one of the activities of the low smoke stove project we established twenty saving and loan committees in El Fasher town to spread the concept of saving among women’s groups. The hope is to empower women and also to contribute to improving women’s lives.

    Economic empowermentMost of our beneficiaries are poor women, the majority did not complete their education and have little or no income. Most of women are small traders in vegetables or handcrafts.  However for those making local perfume, and food processing, their capital is too small to expand their trade to increase their profit.

    We introduced the idea of savings and loans to help women to overcome these economic barriers.  These committees are not new but we are trying to introduce a model of savings and loans that help the women to be more organized, to have a good understanding of the concept and the ability to take on and manage the loan.

    Many women now are very happy following their involvement in savings and loan committees, Some started income generating activities that help to pay school fees for their children.  In addition they are making social relationships among women’s groups which will help them exchange ideas and share knowledge.

    Furthermore women groups have been able to provide equipment based on women’s needs. They pay in advance to acquire LPG stoves and thereafter in monthly installments.  In some cases some women cannot afford to pay the advance, so the saving committee lend them money to pay this.

    We found among the saving and loan committees’ women headed the household and took all home responsibilities.  This group of women needs support to build their capacity in managing a revolving fund and to build managerial skills. This will help encourage the women to start investing and to take a loan from the committees and as well as giving them access to financial institutions.  As the saving model has been successful, other women have been persuaded to copy the idea.

     

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  • A new dawn for livestock health in Eastern Sudan

    Manal Hamid

    November 24th, 2016

    The Livestock Epidemio Surveillance Programme (LESP-ES) aims to improve the livelihoods and resilience to food insecurity of about 427,000 vulnerable rural smallholders in the three Eastern Sudan states Kassala, Gedaref and Red Sea.

    The planned interventions aim to strengthen the technical capacities of regional veterinary services through achieving three results:

    1. Technical capacities for coordinated epidemio-surveillance and control of trans-boundary animal diseases strengthened at state level
    2. Diagnostic capacity of veterinary laboratories and quarantine facilities at state and locality levels improved.
    3. Awareness and skills of rural livestock producers and other stakeholders concerning animal health, production and trade are improved.

    LESP meetingOne of the main concerns is the improvement of the diagnostic capacity of veterinary laboratories and quarantine facilities at state and local levels. Activities that will help achieve this are the improvement of  the work environment through rehabilitation of the Gedarif Veterinary Regional laboratory, provision of  furniture and  increasing the capacity of cold chain facilities for storage of samples.  The Regional Veterinary Research Laboratory plays a crucial role in livestock export through the diagnosis of trade relevant diseases such as Brucella.

    Dr HamadDr. Hatim Hamad, director of the laboratory, indicated that the support he had received from Practical Action through LESP project is unprecedented and could not be afforded by the Ministry of Finance. He indicated that the enhancement of the work environment had contributed positively to best practices and the support to the cold chain facilities enable the laboratory to accommodate the samples of more than 13 veterinary professionals pursuing their Masters degrees as well as the training of veterinarians and veterinary technicians/

    He also noted that the support  received enabled the laboratory to open a new tick identification and classification unit taking in consideration the importance of tick borne diseases. He added that the epidemio-surveillance field missions executed through  the project will enable the collection of tick samples from different state localities and during this period he had successfully  identified Hyaloma species for the first time in Gedarif State.

    LESP activityHe indicated that the provision of better diagnostic tools and equipment will improve the diagnostic capacities of the lab tremendously and help in meeting the OIE requirement which is considered one of the major ways in which the programme has added value.

    Dr Hamad expressed his appreciation for the efforts exerted by Practical Action towards the development of Eastern Sudan States and his wish to continue cooperation between Practical Action and Ministry of Livestock in the future.

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  • Success for savings and loan associations in North Darfur

    Izdehar Ahmed Mohamed

    November 20th, 2016

    People living in poverty in the conflict-stricken area of North Darfur face a severe shortage of money for household needs. They either endure the hardships or try to find someone to borrow money from. When it comes to women smallholders, they lack money for inputs and other cash needs in their household’s.

    To address this problem, saving is a way forward. Those who can save then have funds for unexpected needs in the household and for timely investment in groups.

    Fatima stoves SudanPractical Action Sudan, in partnership with the Women’s Development Association (WDAN) initiated training of horticulture smallholders using the Savings and Loan Association (SLA) approach.

    SLA members save through the purchase of shares with a maximum purchase of five shares allowed per saving meeting. This allows for flexible saving depending on the surplus money members have. They meet weekly or monthly and continue saving for a period of nine to twelve months.

    The project officer for the Community Initiative Sustained Development project within Practical Action Sudan, explained:

    “The aim of SLA is to enable resource-poor households to access financial services in order to finance income generating activities that would increase their income and lift them permanently above the poverty line. It enables money to be available at the right time for purchase of inputs and other energy costs.”

    SLA groups are providing smallholder women with the opportunity to save and borrow flexibly without having to go to the bank. With this savings methodology there are no problems of high minimum deposit requirements, hidden charges, complicated procedures, or difficulty in accessing loans.

    The funds assist in building resilient communities and provide social safety nets, as they are used for inputs purchase, diversifying into other income generating activities, immediate household needs and provide room for assistance to members in case of death, disease or natural disasters. Such diverse services are not provided by local moneylenders, as they are not willing to provide for the poorest.

    The process is very transparent as it involves each and every member within the sharing and lending processes. The fund is shared out at the end of each cycle which is normally nine months to a year.

    This SLA methodology has proved to be a success.  This year 20 SLA groups have been established in Elfashir in North Darfur. Shares accrued range from a minimum of 500SDG (£62) to 700SDG from monthly savings. In addition, the groups also pay towards a social fund, which can be used, when a member is having acute problems, such as unexpected medical expenses.

    Villages using this method have been successful in helping women to learn about saving, to enhance social links within their communities and to make their first investments.

    The project team conducted monthly field visits to monitor the progress of loans saving committees. Committee members contributed an average amount of 25-30 SDG (£8) each month. 345 women have benefited and saved a total amount of 74,101 SDG. At the end of a cycle the money is distributed back to the group members. It is very important that every member’s money is placed in their hand.

    In total  879 households have accessed LPG through this savings program in Elfashir in different districts and 76 women have access to loans to establish income generation activities.

    Women were thankful to Practical Action and the Women Development Association Network for empowering them and enabling them to finance themselves and their family in the face of extreme economic hardship.

    Now I can confidently grow for the market because I have access to finance for inputs from my savings group. I was about to give up due to lack of money.”

    Access to clean sources of energy, livelihood and finance has led to the building of self-respect and self-reliance in the community.

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