IRC Sudan Program Summary 2005

News and Press Release
Originally published

Founded in 1933, the International Rescue Committee is a non-sectarian, non-governmental world leader in relief, rehabilitation, protection, post-conflict development, resettlement services and advocacy for those uprooted or affected by violent conflict and oppression. IRC has been operational in Sudan since 1981, adapting its activities to respond to regional conflicts, natural disasters, and post-conflict reconstruction. IRC's long-term goal is to improve Sudanese people's ability to exercise their fundamental rights, access basic services, and manage their own livelihoods, while enabling individuals and communities to work towards accountable governance, stability, and security through an active civil society.


Programs managed from Khartoum currently operate in 12 regions of Sudan: Khartoum state; the garrison towns of Wau, Raja, Aweil, and Gogrial in Bahr-el-Ghazal; northern Upper Nile State; government- and opposition-held areas of Nuba Mountains (South and West Kordofan); Red Sea state; Kassala state; Gadaref state; Bahr-el-Jebel state; and, in a major response to the current emergency, North, South, and West Darfur.

IRC's overall program approach for 2004-2005 is committed to building strong foundations for peace and development by facilitating durable solutions for IDPs, returnees, and war-affected communities. To decrease vulnerability and encourage recovery, IRC is working closely with beneficiaries and partners, implementing peace building and protection activities and mobilizing communities to build local capacity and civil structures, as well as responding to ongoing health, shelter, and water/sanitation needs. Prior to the signing on 9 January 2005 of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the opposition SPLM/A, and even more so now that the agreement is in effect, IRC Sudan is working to closely coordinate program activities with the IRC South Sudan program based in Nairobi (see map).

While working to help consolidate the peace between North and South, IRC is also undertaking a large-scale emergency response to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Clashes between government-supported militias and opposition groups, in addition to militia tactics that have been termed genocidal, have prompted more than 1.8 million people to leave their homes and left over 200,000 dead. IRC Sudan is working alongside other aid agencies to provide emergency health, water and sanitation, shelter, gender-based violence, psycho-social, and protection services to over 600,000 of the region's 1.8 million IDPs and nearly 280,000 war-affected people in host communities across the region.

Current Donors

- US Agency for International Development, Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)

- European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO)

- UK Department for International Development (DFID), both directly and through a sub-grant from GOAL

- Stichting Vluchteling (SV) and the Royal Netherlands Government

- Development Co-operation Ireland (DCI)

- Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)



- Comic Relief

- United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

- British Embassy, Khartoum

- Japanese Embassy, Khartoum

- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Other private donors including AmeriCares, The MacArthur Foundation, American Express Foundation, C. E. & S. Foundation, Flora Family Foundation, The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation, and Robert P. Del Conte Memorial Fund.

Primary National NGO Partners

- AZZA Women's Association

- Women's Training and Promotion Society (WOTAP)

- Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRC)

- People's Legal Aid Center (PLACE)

IRC Sudan also works with more than 80 community-based organizations, including the Friendship Agency for Community Training (FACT), the Sudanese Society for Disabled People, and the Women's Development Group, to implement program activities while emphasizing local involvement and to build the capacity of Sudanese civil society.



DARFUR IRC's largest emergency operation at present involves a multi-sector intervention serving nearly 880,000 conflict-affected people in North, South, and West Darfur. With a portfolio of over $14 million in funding from more than 15 public and private donors, IRC's integrated intervention includes: water/sanitation services, emergency shelters, primary and reproductive health services, gender-based violence services, camp management, child protection programs that work closely with IDP and host communities to provide informal education and structured play for thousands of children and adolescents, training for police and other local authorities in North, South, and West Darfur in the principles and practice of human rights, human security, and rule of law, to try to mitigate some of the causes of the conflict and effect a longer term solution.

KASSALA Darfur is not the only region of the Sudan, however, which is currently in need of emergency assistance. Ongoing instability in Kassala prompted IRC to intervene there in the spring of 2004. In addition, IRC has mobilized a response to respond to and prevent severe flooding in Kassala which in the past has affected an estimated 150,000 people living along the Gash River. IRC's programs address primary health and shelter needs, and water and sanitation are a particular priority in the conflict areas. Essential household supplies are also available for the flood-affected in Kassala, and IRC is supporting these communities to prepare for and work to prevent flooding in the future.

UPPER NILE Civil strife in the southeastern state of Upper Nile between GoS and SPLM/A forces intensified in late 2003 has doubled the number of new arrivals converging on Malakal town. As in Kassala, IRC's programs address primary health and shelter needs, and IRC is distributing essential household supplies in Malakal. IRC is also working to improve the fundamental health of the community in Malakal through nutrition and health education, with community mobilization a key component in implementing the interventions.


Multi-sector Relief and Development:

Sudan's long civil war has destroyed lives and infrastructure and displaced millions throughout the country. In the four regions of Bahr-el-Ghazal, Nuba Mountains, Red Sea, and Upper Nile, IRC is implementing a large-scale program to construct and rehabilitate water and sanitation facilities; establish and support community health facilities; and promote health, sanitation, and hygiene awareness for over 230,000 beneficiaries. Keeping in mind IRC's ultimate goal of achieving durable solutions, this intervention also facilitates the formation, growth, and improved capacity of local structures to ensure community ownership and local management of health and water/sanitation services.

Civil Society Development:

IRC is pursuing a two-year project to promote and empower civil society in eight states, seeking long-term solutions to Sudan's internal conflicts and facilitating recovery following the devastation of war. Civic education initiatives focus on promoting citizenship, peace building, and human rights by mobilizing communities to engage in the peace process, mediate conflicts, and identify priorities for economic development. IRC links experienced mentors with Sudanese NGOs and CBOs to implement community-identified programs while simultaneously building the planning and management capacity of these national organizations. To further improve CBO capacity, the groups will form regional unions to discuss common issues, share skills and information, and co-ordinate advocacy on regional and national levels. Additional activities, to which IRC furnishes training, mentoring, and technical support, are designed to promote constructive dialogue between civil society, governing authorities, and international stakeholders.

IRC is also embarking on a three-year project to engage in post-conflict development through building the capacity of local civil society organizations to deliver basic services, with the long-term aim of fostering productive, responsive civil society groups capable of mobilizing and advocating for citizens' rights and responsibilities. The project is a cooperative endeavor between IRC programs in Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Human Rights, Peace Building, and Protection:

Recognizing the unique roles that youth can play in promoting peace among divided communities in Sudan, IRC has recently launched the second phase of its Youth Peace Building Initiative in all regions except for South and West Darfur. This project works both with individual youths, through conflict mediation and transformation and peace building training workshops, and with youth groups, strengthening their ability to undertake peace building activities of their own innovation at local, state, and national levels. To inform present and future programming, IRC is carrying out an assessment in Bahr-el-Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Nuba Mountains identifying threats to the effective, safe, and dignified return of internally displaced and refugee populations during the interim period of the peace agreement.

Reproductive and Primary Health:

In addition to its multi-sector projects, IRC addresses the collapsed health care infrastructure in Wau and Raga towns, Bahr-el-Ghazal. Comprehensive clinical services, with an emphasis on reproductive health, constitute the core of IRC's work, but another key element is to build the capacity of clinic staff and local health officials to improve the quality of reproductive and primary health services. In addition to the direct health care provided by the clinic, IRC is utilizing volunteer community health promoters who make home visits to educate people in reproductive health, general health, and hygiene. A mid-term evaluation showed that these campaigns are already having positive results: for example, the number women exclusively breastfeeding during the first four months increased from 53% in September 2003 to nearly 63% in April 2004.

Economic Development:

In March 2004, IRC embarked on an extended effort to galvanize Sudanese communities and civil society structures through a country-wide program. In addition to establishing CBOs and Economic Development Committees in Khartoum, Red Sea, Kassala, Upper Nile, and Bahr-el-Ghazal, IRC provides training and technical support to these organizations, enabling them to effectively mobilize their communities and take charge of local economic development initiatives. Individuals also benefit from vocational skills training, capital support, and other practical aids designed to improve productivity and increase options for income generation.

A second project in Nuba Mountains targets women in particular for poverty alleviation activities that include training in vocational skills, entrepreneurship, marketing, and accounting. These services are furnished in part through women's CBOs, which provide women with access to small amounts of capital. This program adopts a holistic approach: kindergartens enable women without other access to child care to attend the training sessions, while participants also receive instruction in areas such as health, law, leadership, conflict resolution, and literacy. IRC also addresses women's economic development in the wider community, through gender and literacy training for men and through social awareness campaigns on gender, HIV/AIDS, rights, sanitation and the environment, alcohol abuse, and reproductive health.

Agricultural Development:

Numerous small, targeted grants are enabling IRC to distribute high-quality seeds, agricultural hand tools, and training in cultivation and fertilization to farmers in Nuba Mountains and Bahr-el-Ghazal, improving the food security of people in those regions.


IRC's programs are implemented out of our Main Office in Khartoum and in ten Field Offices in Port Sudan (Red Sea State); Kassala (Kassala); Lagawa and Dilling (Nuba Mountains), Malakal (Upper Nile); Wau, Raga, and Aweil (Bahr-el-Ghazal); Al Fasher (North Darfur); and Nyala (South Darfur).

For further information, please contact our Main Office:

Location: Arkawit, Al Fardous Road, Block 57, House 21 Khartoum, Sudan Mail: P.O. Box 8269, Khartoum, Sudan
Telephone: +249 1-83-242-870 / 871 / 872
Fax: +249 1-83-242-875
Website: E-mail: