Launch of women-operated bakeries in North Darfur camps

UN Women in Sudan launched two women-operated bakeries in North Darfur on Sunday. The ceremony marked the successful conclusion of a months-long programme designed to provide women living in the camps for the displaced with the means to earn a living in a safe environment.

The hand-over ceremony took place in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, where UN Women, in cooperation with the Dar El Salam Women Development Society, presented a generator, oven, freezers, display cases, and other equipment to establish and operate bakeries to women of the Zamzam and Abu Shouk camps.

“Emotions ran high,” UN Women reported in an Information Note today, “with many of the women present openly crying with happiness, as the complete list of equipment was read aloud. Some spoke of having lived in the camps since 2003, often unable to find enough food for their families.”

The income generation activities programme began in December 2014, and was specifically designed to encourage financial sustainability among displaced women. UN Women also trained 50 women in developing their marketing, income management, entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

In her speech, the head of UN Women’s Darfur sub-office, Mary Mbeo, emphasised the positive effect of small, camp-based enterprises in providing safe, alternative sources of income for these women. She praised their potential to evolve into strong, self-sustaining businesses.

Zahra Abdelnaeem Mohamed, representative of the Dar El Salam Society, thanked UN Women for supporting the initiative.

“Safety and security of women must be seen in a wider context of what continues to make them vulnerable,” she said, stressing her organisation’s aim to help reduce risks to the displaced women, where their daily search for water, firewood, and employment in nearby towns takes them away from the relative safety of the camps.

Though the Dar El Salam Society has a long history of designing successful income-generating projects, this programme is the first of its kind in North Darfur. The training manual developed specifically for displaced women will be used to support similar income-generating activities in the region.

UN Women’s mandate in Sudan includes the support for women’s economic empowerment, and working toward an end to violence against women and girls.