Nahid Ali Awadelseed


Nahid is Gender Officer in Practical Action's office in Kassala, Sudan

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Posts by Nahid Ali

  • Water is life for villagers in Darfur

    March 20th, 2018


    A simple solution like a solar powered water pump can have a profound impact on a community. This is eloquently demonstrated in these first-hand accounts from residents of two villages in drought-prone North Darfur.

    These stories were collected and written by Hamid Bakheet. 

    “We were at the margin of survival. Most of the villagers have moved elsewhere to find water. It’s really hard to leave your homeland but the even harder to survive without water.

    We used to travel for about three hours on our donkeys to seek water for our families. You can imagine what that means. Going for water every other day meant you could only work fifteen days a month reducing our income.  The amount of water we could transport was not great.  At best we had enough to shower three times a week but usually only once a week.

    Now through this work with Practical Action everything has changed.  Our solar water pump has which has changed our life dramatically.  Now it is the easiest thing to get water, even the children can go alone to bring water for their families.”

    Believe it or not when I saw water coming out from the pump for the first time I felt something like a cloud covering my eyes.  It was tears of happiness, although is shaming for a Darfurian man to show tears!”

    Altayeb from Kweim village, north Darfur

    Hawaa from Mugabil village also expresses her joy at the new facility

    “In the past when there was no water in our village, pastoralists and farmers often came to blows. Now it’s very rare to hear that a conflict has happened. We women were usually exhausted because we had to go for about four kilometers to bring a small amount of water for all our needs, drinking, cooking, washing and showering.

    When we had a guest and there was no water, we used to borrow water from our neighbours!  And it was not good for our donkeys to carry water all that distance. A donkey might be expected to live for twenty years but the lives of our donkeys were reduced to only about five years.

    We also faced the risk of gender based violence on those long water gathering trips, but now with water become available here we are safe.  And the time we were spending in going for water we now use for other domestic, economic and personal activities. 

    We even become more beautiful because we can wash and shower every day,” laughed Hawaa!

    This project was designed by Practical Action and financed by the Swedish Postcode Foundation to provide water for both settled and pastoralist communities in the villages of Mugabil and Kweim in north Darfur. It benefits more than 8,000 individuals who live in the areas surrounding Mugabil and Kweim as well as 2,000 pastoralists.

    The most obvious impacts of this project are an increase in water access and quality in the area. Now clean water for drinking and cooking is available for the whole community and for pastoralists and their livestock.  This will have a significant benefit to the health of the community.  The community water management committee is taking responsibility for managing the water supply to ensure its sustainability.  And the pump is operated by clean, renewable solar power so is helping keep both people and the environment safe.

    Seeing how happy these villagers are about the positive change in their life with water makes me proud to work for the organisation that made this possible.



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  • Agriculture extension in rural Kassala

    October 1st, 2015

    Rural and agricultural development is integral to any strategy to alleviate poverty and promote broad-based growth. The figures confirm that poverty in Sudan is deeply entrenched and is largely rural, especially considering that traditional subsistence agriculture in rural areas has gradually been replaced by market-based or commercial agriculture. This is due to many factors, including rapid economic growth, introduction of new technologies, market expansion, market liberalization, increased demand for food, decreasing farming population as a result of urbanization and liberalized economic policies.

    Training forWorking in the field of Communication and Development, I have observed that human resource development is essential for food security and market integration. Achieving sustainable agricultural development is less based on material inputs (e.g. seeds, fertilizers, etc.) than on the people involved in their use. Agricultural extension makes a real contribution and impact in improving the welfare of farmers and other people living in rural areas, thus, I have come to love my focus on Practical Answers interventions for technology justice; such as assisting knowledge and information management and sharing information about agricultural components, as well as using appropriate delivery approaches, channels and tools.

    Delivering agricultural extension messages

    Agricultural extension is central to sustaining the livelihood of rural communities. Local practitioners, along with paravets, have a fundamental presence in local communities, as they are becoming increasingly valuable and responsible for communicating and providing services and knowledge to their communities.

    Practical Action collaborated with the the Technology and Extension Department of the Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture, as well as Civil society organisations like the Al-Gandoul Network for Rural Development, who initiated these interventions in Kassala using multi-communication tools to disseminate and deliver the extensions messages. The objective of the extension messages is to raise awareness in the rural community and adopting good practices in order to contribute to an increase in their production, income, and livestock through carefully selecting potential local Village Extension Agents (VEAs) and local paravets – one woman and one man from each communities (20 communities targeted) – with specific criteria, agreed upon by village community members. Under the supervision of a qualified agriculture extension practitioner, they were trained in identify community needs, developing key extension messages and testing the massages, communication skills, and setting an action plan to be implemented in their communities.

    Practical Action broadcast extension messages through various outlets to ensure circulation and coverage. However, the effectiveness of face-to-face and community radio selected as a source of information;  the radio became a main media outlet for communicating extension messages articulated using local languages and dialects and the VEAs collected the enquiries and respond to the direct audiences.

    Wasil Phone for reportingThe remarkable indicators of success were:

    • Evident income increase in some families,
    • The dedication shown in protecting and nurturing livestock
    • The increase in the community’s commitment toward their own development.

    I believe that receiving useful and correct information have been a key for success, and radio programs, especially, were a powerful tool for extension because of its wide coverage and contextual relevance.

    It is important to note that extension services are organized and delivered in a variety of forms, with the ultimate aim of increasing farmers’ productivity and income. The question then becomes: how can farmers gain access to knowledge, information on improving practices along the value chain to adopt, increase and yield income?

    I believe improving agricultural extension delivery in the future of extension messages should provide information along the whole value chain, including marketing extension, farmer empowerment, facilitating formation of self-motivated farmer’s groups, private extension services and environmental extension for sustainability.

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  • Let us fight to make markets work for poor women

    March 6th, 2015

    8 March is International Women’s Day and I would like to reflect about the change made in women’s lives during my time working at Practical Action in Sudan. I was fortunate enough to gain diverse experience and learned many different sides of women development achievements. I am so proud of the impact of Practical Action’s work towards technology justice mainly in improving rural women’s capability to move beyond subsistence livelihoods.

    HibiscusThere is, of course, no reason to be complacent. The gender gap in Sudan remains significant and when we consider women’s rights across a wide range of areas, including economic, social and cultural, it is clear that there are still very tangible barriers to women’s access, success and equality in many fields. One of those barriers is the lack of a level playing field in market access. This needs to be addressed through engagement with private and public sectors to provide fair terms of trade to poor women.

    In my experience working with poor women, economic poverty is a function of markets.  The pro-poor market is attempting to draw lessons from experiences in how women can and should engage with private and public sectors to meet their goals of addressing (economic) poverty through intervention in markets. We should challenge ourselves to assist these women in their right to access the market as entrepreneurs through framing the local economic development agenda.

    Making markets work for poor women by:

    1. Helping poor women access financial services such as savings and credit on market terms that are non-exploitative and reliable
    2. Collaborating with the private sector to enhance their understanding of the poor and encourage the expansion of market networks ‘for’ and ‘with’ women
    3. Facilitating women’s to exercise their right to ICTs for markets.

    I believe in the power of women and suggest that we should help them more to have a unique and critical role in fostering collaboration between the private sector and poor communities.  We should engage with public policy makers in making markets work.

    Let us appreciate women, especially those who have the biggest but quietest influence in our lives, It can be mothers who balance work and home beautifully or grandmothers and we should continue to think about how to make life better for them?

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  • Going to work on an egg

    January 11th, 2013

    To find out how a very small project can show so much meaning about the real values of rural poor people, which make them happy and give meaning to their lives, read about the day I made a visit which made that day exceptional.

    My visit to Silkyay village in the rural area of Kassala was a routine field visit like many others but my encounter with a woman called Nafisa changed that visit into an inspirational lesson.

    Nafisa is involved in Practical Action’s “chicken for eggs” project.  This aims to enhance nutrition and provide income for poor households.  She has 20 hens in her small, clean den, and managed and cleaned this den every day, until she began producing 20 eggs per day.  Some of these she consumes and the rest she sells. The day I met Nafisa happiness overwhelmed her and joyfully she told me that now she has work, and she owns something, she has control of her life.

    In the beginning she faced difficulties marketing her produce in her village, because people weren’t used to eating eggs.  The varieties of food they ate were very limited –  mainly porridge and milk and this culture led them to refuse anything unfamiliar and prevented them from having a healthy and diversified diet.

    Nafisa started introducing the egg as a main meal in her own house, as breakfast for her children before school.  Then she began an awareness campaign about the nutritional value of eggs.  Gradually the skeptical village changed to be less hesitant. In a short period the whole village began to depend on eggs for breakfast.  Nafisa proudly stated that now she alone cannot supply the increasing demand and has other five women working in this project.

    Nafisa said that now she feels appreciated by her family and community, and she is happy about the simple tangible change her project introduced to the life of the people in the village. The happiness of Nafisa and her pride at her achievement taught me that helping women to access and control  resources, is the right approach for justice and for improving the status of women and mothers in our communities. Productive work gives women a proud feeling of ownership and control of their resources as Nafisa reflected as she enthused about her hens.

    The change happened when people began buying eggs after being convinced of their nutritional value.  This taught me the meaning and practicality of such small activities when they relate to people’s real needs.

    Before concluding this story, I would like to tell you about my own experience when I bought some eggs from Nafisa and cooked them myself.  I learned something else important – that the home-produced egg from this village is a natural egg, free of chemicals and is tastier and more beneficial than the ones we purchase from markets which are produced by companies using chemicals and hormone injections.

    How inspiring are these small works when powered by a strong will and the strength of women like Nafisa!

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