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A community on the edge of survival

28 Jun 2022


Tamay Village, Kassala: Practical Action staff assess the amount of water delivered through water trucking supported by the SHF . 
 Credit: Entisar Mustafa/Practical Action

For the second consecutive year, Salih Ahmed has been forced to sell his livestock due to the current dry spell in Kassala, Sudan.

“A few years ago, I would not have thought of selling my livestock, because my family relies entirely on it for survival,” he said. Last year, Salih had to sell his entire herd of 10 goats when he could no longer afford to buy fodder at the market.

He explained: “With the little money I made, I started trading in household items. Later, when the rains came, I bought six new goats to start rebuilding my herd, only for the dry spell to hit again this year, and I found myself forced to sell my goats again. Under the current tough economic situation, I’m afraid I will not be able to buy new animals like I did last year.”

Luckily, Salih can keep his remaining two goats, as he is now receiving fodder through a project funded by the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF) and implemented in Kassala by a consortium led by the NGO Practical Action, in cooperation with Friends of Peace and Development Organization and Deutsche Welthungerhilfe.

The project aims to mitigate the adverse effects of the ongoing dry spell on agricultural outputs and livestock and water access for affected people. It will stem the anticipated loss of livelihoods and avert possible conflict over resources and subsequent displacement by providing fodder to pastoralists, agricultural inputs to farmers, nutrition support, and access to drinking water for people and livestock.

This project is part of a US$16 million SHF allocation covering the dry spell response in the most affected localities in nine states. A $20 million allocation from the Central Emergency Response Fund complements the SHF response to the prolonged dry spell.

Losing livestock not only stretches people’s coping capacities but also negatively impacts rural household nutrition by reducing or removing milk from their diet. This is because animals stop producing milk when they are not calving, in response to lack of food or water. Young children without alternative sources of protein are the most affected.

Practical Action’s Project Manager, Nariman Hassan, explained the extent of the dry spell and crop failure: “In previous years, farmers planted on average 60,000 acres annually throughout Kassala state. However, this season only 14,000 out of a possible 80,000 acres were cultivated due to lower-than-normal rainfall, less flood waters and the poor state of the irrigation canals.

“A worrying indicator is that the Gash River recorded in 2021 half the water flow of the previous year. With four times fewer acres cultivated and half the amount of water, this region is severely affected, with a devastating impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.”

Multisectoral response to drought in Kassala through water trucking and rehabilitation of defunct boreholes, canals and hafirs; hygiene and sanitation; nutrition support; and provision of fodder for 9,000 heads of livestock.
Kassala State
$1.9 million
Food Security and Livelihoods; Nutrition and Water, Hygiene and Sanitation
Implementing partners
Practical Action (lead), Friends of Peace & Development Organization and Deutsche Welt hunger hilfe e.V. (German Agro Action)
Implementing period
01/03/2022 - 31/08/2022
Allocation type
2021- SHF Reserve for Emergencies – Drought Response