Awok’s story: A South Sudanese refugee in Sudan
Awok Kuel Ngong, a 41-year-old refugee, lives with her husband and three children on a farm in Sudan’s Ailiet locality. She was a victim of armed conflict. “We are originally from North Bahre Alghazal State in South Sudan. We escaped in early 2018, after conflict broke out. Back home, we cultivated crops during the rainy season and used to own a few goats,” remembers Awok.
Refugee and internally displaced populations have limited income sources to access food in markets. Farming and rearing livestock provide them with the opportunity to earn an income. Efforts to enable them to produce their own food is therefore essential.
Women and girls in refugee communities are especially vulnerable. They often walk long distances to fetch water daily, sometimes up to 14 km a day, which puts them in danger. They lack the means of transport, such as donkey carts. Donkey carts in Sudan are used for many purposes, including carrying water.
With generous funds from the European Union, through the European Commission Host Organization (ECHO), FAO enhanced the food security and nutrition of vulnerable populations through seeds and tools during the 2018 main planting season, and income-generating activities to decrease their dependency on food aid.
FAO was able to provide each family with two goats, a sheep, concentrate animal feed and mineral licks. The animals provided under this project were either in late pregnancy or in early lactation with offspring. All animals were vaccinated and treated to control diseases prevailing in the area. Project beneficiaries also received a one-day training on improved husbandry practices, such as animal health, management and feeding.
“I received two pregnant goats and a pregnant sheep. I also received 300 kg of concentrate animal feed and 40 kg of mineral lick. A month after the distribution, my animals had given birth. Now, my female animals are lactating,” explains Awok.
A lucrative business
The average income per month varies between USD 75 to 100, while the total cost of the cart including the donkey is USD 250. Furthermore, the average daily milk yield per goat under a traditional system is 1.1 kg, while a goat under improved feeding and health conditions is 2.2 kg. Under the same conditions, the amount of milk can increase from 0.3 to 0.5 litre per day, and lactation from an average of 180 to 210 days per season. Training and feed could significantly increase the quantity of milk available per day for a family. For three children, that could mean an increase from 85 to 169 days of milk.
“Before this project, there was no milk for my children. Now, we have about 2 litres of milk every day. The amount of milk increases day by day. We even give some milk to our neighbours who do not have any animals. Sometimes, we turn the additional milk into yoghurt,” explains Awok.
Access to safe water
FAO also complemented efforts to improve access to water and mitigate competition over resources by rehabilitating the only hafir or earth dam located 5 km southeast of Ailiet town. Areas in North Darfur, like Ailiet locality, rely on wells for their water supply. But, water facilities in the locality are in poor condition, inadequate for human and animal consumption, and often overused.
FAO-ECHO partnership helped strengthen the immediate survival and medium term self‐reliance of South Sudanese refugees, internally displaced people and vulnerable host communities by enabling them to cover their own food requirements, through increased production and generation of income. The project promoted nutrition-rich food production and consumption at the household level, taking into account local preferences and eating habits.