An estimated one million IDP live in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Many of these have fled the conflicts in southern Sudan and in Darfur, western Sudan. While the government aims to ‘re-plan’ all IDP and squatter settlements in and around Khartoum, many face eviction from their residences and are unable to secure a place on the newly re-planned land. Such people face relocation to Al Fateh, an area outside Khartoum that lacks many essential services. Here water, sanitation and healthcare are largely provided by NGOs and the United Nations, while transport is inadequate and costly for the impoverished residents who wish to travel to Khartoum to find work. Moreover, most lack security of tenure, which means they don't own the land they've been moved to and therefore could be evicted again.
The community in Al Fateh represents Sudan's multi-ethnic diversity, including Nuba people, Afro-Arab tribes, Muslims and Christians. Comprehensive community mapping has taken place here for the Active Citizens programme. This has revealed particular demand for intercultural dialogue and social action in areas of tension between different ethnic and religious groups. However, tensions frequently surface between people competing for scarce resources. The mapping identifies that activities like sports, drama and music can bring together people from different backgrounds, and it is hoped these can be used by Active Citizens to promote peaceful co-existence.
Active Citizens was launched in Sudan in 2009, and its partners here are mainly representatives of Sudanese government and civil society, including groups such as the Women’s Union, Karari Locality and the Women’s Centre for Peace and Development. So far, 33 residents of Al Fateh from diverse backgrounds have become participants. They are divided into six groups, each developing a project that aids their community. So far, projects have focused on encouraging sustainable development in Al Fateh, such as micro-finance schemes – in which cash crops are developed to use and sell – education for children and adults, and raising awareness of environmental issues that will ensure careful use of resources and improved levels of sanitation. In areas with little access to electricity, let alone the internet, one of the essential projects is to provide electric generators. There are also plans to hold IT workshops where participants can learn computer and internet skills.
Gerard Lemos, Acting Chair of the British Council, visited Al Fateh City in January 2010 and was keen to discuss these projects with participants. Tilal Salih from British Council Sudan believes “[Gerard’s] background in dealing with vulnerable societies makes him a good listener to what these citizens have to offer. In finding solutions to upgrade and develop Al Fateh City, our participants are indeed Active Citizens, making a huge difference with very few resources.
Links are being developed between Sudan and Cardiff with exchange visits planned for March and May.
Back to Regional Spotlights
Sudanese Women’s Union