Greening Darfur

Natural resource management

The purpose of this project has been to rehabilitate and develop natural resources and natural resource based livelihoods in Darfur, Sudan. The project covered 43 communities around El Fashir. The total population who could potentially benefit was estimated at 70,296. Livelihoods in the area are mainly based on small scale farming complemented by livestock and forestry products.


North Darfur is home to 6.5 million people, 80% of whom live in rural areas where their livelihoods rely on natural resources. The dominant energy source in urban as well as rural North Darfur is firewood and charcoal. Resource management institutions are non existent in the area and more than 25% of the population have been diplaced.

Conflict and drought has led to serious degradation of the natural environment. Low rainfall linked with poor water use efficiency had led to a decline in crop production and degradation of forest and rangelands. The collapse of rural economies due to conflict and drought has caused increased migration to urban centres where services have failed to cope with the influx.

Based on the understanding that improved livelihoods are fundamentally dependent upon natural resources, related income and access to adequate food and water, the project will take a multi-sector approach to provide target communities with access to a wide array of interventions that suit their priorities and needs. The project will support sustainable social, human, environmental and economic processes of poor rural communities in North Darfur. It will place particular emphasis on building the capacity of local structures, particularly grassroots organisations; and will link them with local institutions and other stakeholders who will be fully involved in the project.

Expected outcomes

  • Civil society organisations have the capacity to lead the outreach and extension of successful social and technological practices among rural communities in North Darfur and neighbouring
  • Rural communities have increased access to water for agriculture, livestock and potable use, leading to increases in food production and reducing pressures on rangelands
  • Regenerate natural resource management systems for sustainable human and livestock use and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of human exploitation of environmental resources

The project will try to show how the expansion of some of Practical Action Sudan's key successes of the last 20 years can have a major impact on rural poverty reduction, natural resource integrity, consensus building among resource users, and opportunities for a more inclusive role for Darfur civil society. Two areas of work will be fundamental to this vision. The first is a social dimension that will build on existing networks of civil society organisations in north Darfur that Practical Action helped establish, enabling them to take forward their development plans and priorities. The second is a technological focus agreed with the civil society networks which will focus on using major rainwater harvesting initiatives to improve the sustainability of the natural resource environment.

Expected results

  • Democratically elected and legally recognized networks of women and men function as an effective pressure group
  • Increased productivity and production
    This is expected to increase by 30% and cultivable land by 50% through introduction of water harvesting, terracing, agricultural implements, loans and improved seeds varieties. The project will also improve crop diversity through awareness-raising on community seed saving, construction of grain storage and establishment of seedling nurseries. This should improve the food security of the target population and increase their incomes through selling any surplus produce.
  • New income generating activities introduced and incomes increased
    Community networks gain legal status by registration and will be able to approach service institutions and demand services and rights. Access to lending institutions will increase production and income. The technical training provided to them will increase their income generating opportunities.
  • Improvement of women's status
    Training and participation in development interventions at the community, women will learn about new approaches and will raise their awareness on gender related issues. Womens development associations will give more strength for demanding their rights and will expose them to service providing institutions including technical government departments and financial institutions. By belonging to these committees and women's interest groups, their status, role and image will be raised through participation in decision-making.
  • Land tenure secured for small holder farmers
    Through the process of organization and formation of associations, Practical Action will provide technical and managerial training to the women associations and market networks in lobbying and advocacy. Workshops and conferences will be organized and networks built across the country to influence land tenure policies and to protect the rights of traditional communities.
  • Conflict between farmers and pastoralists will reduce
    Training on conflict resolution and consensus building will have a positive impact on the lives of pastoralists and farmers. Support to farmers and pastoralists associations will enhance their ability to defend their cases and they will have a stronger voice for demanding their rights.
  • Environmental degradation will be reduced
    Income generating businesses and improved yields of agricultural activities will reduce dependence on woodcutting and charcoal making as a source of income. The project also targets water harvesting, range and forest rehabilitation, planting of fodder crops, seedling production and plantation campaigns in addition to environmental awareness education, all of which are expected improve the natural environment.
  • The project will be replicated and scaled up
    Documenting the traditional knowledge of producers, improving on it and sharing it with the target groups and other stakeholders, nationally and internationally, will contribute towards replication and scaling up. Influencing policy makers and implementers will increase the potential impact.

Sharing 15 Further information
More on this project can be found in the following articles from Practical Action Sudan's Sharing newsletter:
Green is beautiful: Regenerating vegetation cover in Darfur
Promoting the concept of Community forest: the case of Majdoub village community forest

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