From 20 July to 11 December 2020, DRC Staff conducted a Multi-Sector Needs Assessment in Central Darfur. In total, 1530 households were surveyed from all 9 localities in the state. Data was collected through in-person interviews. Covid-19 social distancing and mask-wearing measures were upheld to mitigate the potential spread of the virus. Below are some of the key findings of the report, organized by sector.
43% of respondents are host community members, while 30% are IDPs and 27% are returnees. 47% of all households surveyed are female-headed households and 14% are elderly-headed households. The average house has 9 individuals. 50% of households have a member living with a disability.
Displacement and Intentions
63% of IDPs feel they have less access to rights than host communities, particularly regarding land rights and access to basic services. Only 37% of IDPs intend to return to their place of origin, largely due to conflict or a lack of services in their area of origin.
Throughout the state, most households lack access to government IDs, largely due to cost, preventing them from being able to access government protection services. Protection risks are widespread, as conflict is quite prevalent, with 36% of respondents stating that conflict between armed groups is a monthly occurrence. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable, and are regularly exposed to harassment, physical violence and forced marriage. Men and boys also face protection risks, primarily harassment, insecurity and difficulty accessing services, but in lower rates than women and girls.
Food insecurity is widespread throughout the state. 79% of respondents rely primarily on household agricultural production to meet their food needs. In addition, 23% of respondents rely solely on household agricultural production as both their primary and secondary livelihood. 69% of households had failed to meet their basic food needs in the past 7 days from the time of the interview, forcing them to either skip meals or reduce portion sizes. 69% of respondents have a market in their community. However, prices are rising heavily, suggesting that food insecurity is a function of poor purchasing power for most in the state.
Food production is the primary livelihood strategy for 80% of respondents. Many respondents complement this livelihood strategy through raising livestock, wage labor and small businesses. 42% of households own livestock, primarily donkeys and goats. 56% of households have a wage earner, but most employment is either unskilled or temporary. The average household earns 4,300 SDG per month in the dry season and 4,000 SDG per month in the rainy season. Female-headed households appear to have less livelihoods options, as they are more likely to engage in unskilled labor and have lower average earnings per month.
Education rates are low throughout the state. Only 43% of households have a member who has completed primary school. 67% of households have a child of school age not attending school. The main barriers to education are either high school fees or the lack of schools in targeted communities.
Only 28% of survey respondents are able to access health facilities in their community, primarily midwives, routine vaccination services and primary care hospitals. Overall, quality is generally considered to be poor by respondents. 48% of all respondents must travel an hour or more to access health services.
25% of respondents regularly observe problems feeding babies, including issues with breastfeeding, poor hygiene and a lack of support for non-breastfeeding babies. 28% of respondents observe similar problems feeding infants, primarily linked to a lack of food, poor food quality and a lack of food variety. Despite the widespread needs, very little nutrition support has been provided in Central Darfur.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
96% of respondents stated that there is a water point in their community. The most common is an open water source. Lined wells and boreholes are also prevalent. 51% of respondents indicated that their community has a non-functioning water point, mainly boreholes and water tanks or bladders. 65% of respondents do not have access to a latrine, and personal hygiene products are either rare or inaccessible due to low purchasing power.
DRC staff conducted observational assessments in all target communities and in a majority of these communities, more than half of the shelters observed were in need of rehabilitation. The overall quality of shelters was considered by DRC staff to be poor in 80% of communities. Most homes were constructed from sherkania and mudbrick, with some using brick and local materials as well.
Existing Humanitarian Response and Accountability to Affected Populations
Only 16% of communities had received humanitarian assistance in the 3 months preceding the surveys. Of these, most were not consulted for all activities and were unaware of any feedback and complaints response mechanisms (FCRM). Most felt that assistance was not well received or did not meet the community’s most pressing needs. For any future FCRM or communication with communities, respondents are most comfortable with face to face meetings, either in the community or an organization’s office, or by working through community leaders.
In addition, the multi-sector needs assessment found that there are multiple sub-contexts within the state.
Nertiti, Golo and Rokero localities are facing a more traditional humanitarian context, requiring protection, livelihoods and emergency response assistance.
Zalingei, Azum and parts of Wadi Salih face issues with protracted displacement and new returns, leading to intercommunity conflicts. Peacebuilding, shelter, education, WASH and protection are needed in these areas. Wadi Salih, Bindisi, Mukjar and Um Dukhun are in a more traditional development context. The key need in these areas is longer term programming aimed at improving services, including health, WASH and education, while addressing underlying food insecurity.