Aid agencies call for direct support for Sudan's civil society

NAIROBI, Jun 14, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Aid agencies working in Sudan have called for more direct support for civil society to take a lead role in recovery and reconstruction of Africa's largest country.

Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday, the six agencies said while 4.6 million US dollars was recently pledged by the international community to support Sudan's recovery from war, much of this funding will be directed through the UN and the World Bank's Multi Donor Trust Funds, with limited direct support to Sudanese organizations to ensure they have sufficient capacity and financial support to lead in the reconstruction.

Representatives from CARE International, Christian Aid, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, Save the Children UK and Tearfund were speaking during the launch of a new film on Sudan " Just Peace" which offers unique window into the lives of children who have grown up in conflict but dreamed of peace.

"International involvement was critical to the agreement of peace. The engagement and involvement of the international community in Sudan must be continued to ensure that peace holds," said Sorcha O'Callaghan, spokesperson for the group.

They said that work now has to be done to ensure that Sudanese people are included in the peace process and that Sudanese organizations are given the space and support to take a lead role in peace and development in the country.

She said while new plans from the UN will provide support packages to those making the long journey home, they are concerned that without careful management, support to individuals may cause tension between returning and host populations.