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Sudan Humanitarian Fund brings clean water and latrines to hundreds of displaced people

02 Jun 2017


People’s lives have dramatically improved thanks to a water and sanitation project from the Sudan Humanitarian Fund and the Al Salam Organization for Rehabilitation & Development

Sana Adam was displaced to Khor Ramla, some 60 km from her home village in South Kordofan, back in 2015. The recent improvements in access to water and toilets, and the hope of returning home one day, help her remain positive. Credit: OCHA/Laksmita Noviera

Access to clean, running water and sanitation facilities is a daily struggle for many displaced people in Sudan. Across the country, some 3.5 million people need clean drinking water and latrines. In rural areas, water for the family is traditionally collected by women and girls. But for many of the 1,200 people living in the Khor Ramla displacement site in South Kordofan State, this simple task involved a four-hour walk every day because the closest riverbed often ran dry for several months a year.

Sana Adam, a 22-year-old widow and mother of three, recalls her twice-daily trip to the nearest well. “We women and girls used to plan so that we could walk to the well together early morning and before dark, when it wasn’t too hot. Sometimes, that meant our girls would miss school, as the queues at the well were often long, even if we started walking before sunrise.”

Some women had donkeys to carry water, but most carried all the water for their entire family by themselves.

Khor Ramla IDP site in South Kordofan currently hosts some 1,200 people displaced by fighting between government and opposition forces. Credit: OCHA/Laksmita Noviera

South Kordofan is beset by a conflict between the Government and opposition forces. This has triggered a plethora of humanitarian challenges and caused many people to struggle, including Sana. First, her husband died. Then in March 2015, she and her children had to flee their home in Tadour village, in northern South Kordofan, due to the conflict. They walked 60 kms to safety in the Khor Ramla displacement site.

Access to latrines in Khor Ramla was also a major concern. “We don’t usually talk about it, but there were no toilets, so we also had to plan each time we needed to relieve ourselves,” said Sana. “We walked together to an area outside the camp, always in a group, as we didn’t feel safe going alone.”

Sana collects water from one of four pumps installed by the national NGO Al Salam Organization for Rehabilitation & Development, funded by the Sudan Humanitarian Fund. Credit: OCHA/Laksmita Noviera

But a project funded by the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF) and run by the national NGO Al Salam Organization for Rehabilitation & Development (AORD) has literally changed people’s lives. Four hand pumps and 30 household latrines were installed in the Khor Ramla displacement site. The daily water supply in Khor Ramla has now increased to 23 litres per person, which is above the emergency standard. Residents can now access clean water for daily consumption and personal hygiene.

“Improving access to water and latrines means that women do not have to leave the camp so often, reducing their exposure to the risk of violence,” explained Faisal Ismail Bushara of AORD. “Through funding from the SHF, we have not only improved the water and latrines situation in the site, but also increased the protection of women and girls.”

30 latrines have been installed in Khor Ramla IDP site, improving people's sanitation and hygiene. Credit: OCHA/Laksmita Noviera

Despite the difficult times, Sana remains optimistic. “This project has made our lives much safer and more stable,” she said. “Now we drink clean water and don’t have to worry about getting sick. I’m happy that I have more time to provide a living for my family and that my daughters won’t miss school any more. These are great improvements, and I hope that we will be able to return to our home village soon.”

The SHF supports the emergency relief response in Sudan, channelling contributions from donors into a pooled fund. By ensuring funds are in place at the beginning of the year, country-based pooled funds such as the SHF, enable humanitarian actors to reach people in need with predictable and timely assistance, including during unforeseen emergencies and disasters.

In 2016, the SHF allocated US$38.8 million from eight donors (Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK) to 113 projects across the country.