Sudan

Sudan: Rapid needs assessment of the Nuba Mountains Region - Jan 2002

Attachments


Office of the United Nations Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan
1. Executive Summary

The Nuba Mountains region of the Sudan is one of great ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity, with an estimated population of 1.13 million covering an area of about 80,000 square kilometres at the geographical centre of the country. It includes the present-day State of South Kordofan and an adjoining part of the State of West Kordofan. The mountains themselves constitute about one third of the area and are in effect rugged granite outcrops which rise up to 1,000 metres or more above extensive and fertile agricultural plains. The region tends to be well-watered for four to five months of the year between May and October, with annual rainfall ranging from 500 up to 800 mm.

The plains areas are capable of producing a range of agricultural crops such as sorghum, maize, sesame, cotton, fruits and vegetables, and of supporting an extensive livestock industry which features cattle, sheep, goats and camels. The region once produced a significant food surplus for elsewhere in the country. Where livelihoods are concerned the people of the region are a mix mainly of farmers, pastoralists and nomads, with some petty traders in the towns and villages. They are renowned for being industrious and independent of spirit, and more than capable of building and sustaining their own lives.

The defining constraint on virtually all agricultural and related activities and a realisation of the potential of the region and its people, is the civil war which has endured in the area from the late 1980's between the Government of the Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and their respective allies. In addition to the tragedy of lost lives, lost opportunities, displacement, and deterioration and destruction of infrastructure, the war is seen as having divided communities which once lived in communal harmony. The war has also restricted freedom of movement, which has forced those communities under SPLM/A control into the mountain areas away from the fertile and resource-rich areas of the plains to which they once had free access, and into economic isolation.

The United Nations-led Rapid Needs Assessment to and situation analysis of both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas of the Nuba Mountains region took place against this background and that of a military stand-down and subsequent ceasefire (from 22 January 2002) negotiated between the GOS and SPLM/A with the assistance of the Swiss and United States Governments.

The assessment for GOS-controlled areas took place between 2 and 11 January 2002, and that for SPLM/A-controlled areas between 8 January and 25 January 2002, the latter suffering from an interruption from 10 to 19 January 2002 arising from reports of military clashes in the area between forces of the GOS and SPLM/A and a consequent temporary withdrawal of the assessment team from the SPLM/A-controlled areas.

The broad purpose of the Mission as defined in agreed Terms of Reference was to visit both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas, with the following objectives:

  • to update the needs of internally-displaced, war-affected, and vulnerable communities;

  • to determine the nature of humanitarian assistance necessary to respond to the identified needs;

  • to identify the potential contribution of humanitarian assistance to peace-building;

  • to assess the current infrastructure in all sectors, including trained personnel, and determine the modalities for the provision of humanitarian assistance; and,

  • to explore with civil society and community leaders the feasibility and modalities of a sustained presence in the area.

The Mission was mandated to undertake extensive examinations into the needs of food production and security, basic health and social services and infrastructure, income generation and capacity-building. The Mission was asked to submit a report of its findings to the Office of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, as soon as possible after the conclusion of the assessment.

For the assessment itself, in all areas both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled, senior officials, community leaders and the people themselves all emphasised the imperative of lasting peace and what they saw would be the rehabilitation and development to follow. Their immediate priorities were in the sectors of education, health and water, followed by attention to agriculture and the rehabilitation of basic physical infrastructure such as roads, communications and social service facilities in education and health. They emphasised too that emergency relief was for them a last resort, and that they would much prefer to be assisted to the point where they could sustain their own lives. In the mountain areas controlled by the SPLM/A, the oft-repeated appeal was to be able to have access to the fertile plains areas which they were once able to farm in times of peace.

In the education sector, which was consistently expressed as a top priority, urgent needs identified by the Mission included: more trained teachers with adequate and timely payments of salaries and emoluments; rehabilitation and construction of school physical structures; provision of textbooks, school materials, equipment, and furniture; and the design and promotion of mechanisms to facilitate enrolment and retention of pupils, such as boarding facilities, school feeding, and assistance to needy families; the promotion in general of the concept of basic education for boys and girls; and community mobilisation in support of education.

In health and nutrition, identified needs included: the development of capacity for training and re-training of health care workers; the rehabilitation and construction of health care facilities, provision of medical equipment and furniture, and of adequate supplies of basic drugs, medicines, and nutritional supplements; the promotion and implementation of EPI; the development of surveillance and quality assurance mechanisms; regular nutritional surveys and assessments; and the promotion amongst the general public of the importance of health and nutrition matters.

For water and environmental sanitation, needs included: a programme of household hygiene promotion; the rehabilitation of water yards and hand pump systems; drilling of additional bore-holes; the strengthening of sustainable maintenance and management systems including with trained personnel; the rehabilitation and construction of man-made water reservoirs (hafirs); the development of governmental and administrative service capacity; and the distribution in SPLM/A-controlled areas of some scarce items such as soap, until markets are again fully accessible.

For agriculture and food security, the needs identified by the Mission included: the revival of agricultural and livestock extension services; provision of high-quality seeds and agricultural inputs; access to veterinary care including training of animal health workers and livestock vaccination campaigns; better access to markets, micro-credit mechanisms; storage facilities; and technical advice; relief food and other support mechanisms to vulnerable communities including the internally-displaced, to assist them in coping with "hunger gaps" and in recovery; the rehabilitation and construction of water conservation and usage facilities; and efficient and reliable systems of early warning and emergency response.

The situation of women throughout the region merits special mention. Typically, and in addition to raising families and running households, there is no choice for the great majority of them but to work in the fields, and in some places to cover long distances to fetch water. For those in the mountains there is the added risk of violent assault and injury when they come down to the lower plains localities to fetch water, firewood and food, and are ambushed in the process. Female genital mutilation remains common in the GOS-controlled areas, but perhaps less so in the SPLM/A-controlled areas where it has been banned. The Mission placed particular importance on the creation of income-generating opportunities and activities for women, such as basic adult education, training in small business management, and provision of micro-credit facilities.

The Mission also determined that a fundamental constraint on virtually all economic activities and social services throughout the region is the almost complete absence of adequate arterial and feeder roads. There are the remnants of what were once good all-weather roads, and a network of dirt and sand tracks criss-crossing the region including through the lowland areas of the mountains. Large areas are impassable during the wet season and just after. Even in the dry season these tracks are rough and very demanding of vehicular traffic, which is necessarily limited to trucks, buses, four-wheel drives and bicycles. The tracks through the mountains are afflicted with land-mines. A fundamental priority for a cost-effective relief and rehabilitation programme will thus be immediate attention to this run-down road network, both in the short and long terms.

Finally it will be important that interventions under the implementation programme to be developed from this Rapid Needs Assessment of the Nuba Mountains region, take account of already existing strategies and programmes in both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas. For the GOS areas, governmental authorities at both national and state/provincial levels and relevant national civil society organisations will need to be included in all aspects of planning, programme development and implementation. Similarly for SPLM/A-controlled areas, the civil authorities, the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Association (NRRDO), and partner agencies of the SPLM/A in Nuba, will also need to be fully included.

2. Purpose of the Assessment

The UN-led Rapid Needs Assessment Mission to and situation analysis of locations in the Nuba Mountains region of South and West Kordofan controlled by both the Government of the Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), was guided in its work by Terms of Reference (TOR) prepared by the United Nations. A copy of the TOR is attached at Annex A.

The TOR were distributed beforehand to all key actors including UN Agencies/Programmes, the GOS and its instrumentalities, the SPLM/A, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), international NGO's, and national NGO's including the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (NRRDO) from the SPLM/A-controlled areas. A full list of organisations represented on the Mission is attached at Annex B.

The broad purpose of the Mission as defined in the TOR was to visit both GOS-controlled and SPLM/A-controlled areas, with the following objectives:

  • To update the needs of internally displaced, war affected and vulnerable communities;

  • To determine the nature of humanitarian assistance necessary to respond to the identified needs;

  • To identify the potential contribution of humanitarian assistance to peace building;

  • To assess the current infrastructure in all sectors, including trained personnel and determine the modalities for the provision of humanitarian assistance;

  • To explore with civil society and community leaders the feasibility and modalities of sustained presence in the area.

The Mission was mandated to undertake extensive examinations into the needs of food production and security, basic health and social services and infrastructure, income generation and capacity-building. The Mission was asked to submit a report to the Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan, as soon as possible after the conclusion of the needs assessment.

3. Methodology

The mission was divided into two teams, one for the areas controlled by the GOS and the other for the areas controlled by the SPLM/A. After the prior (and mandatory) UN security assessment, the actual needs assessment for the GOS-controlled areas began on Wednesday 2 January 2002 for completion by 12 January, and that for the SPLM/A-controlled areas on Tuesday 8 January for completion by 15 January 2002.

However on Thursday 10 January 2002, both teams were withdrawn from all areas of assessment due to armed clashes between the military forces of the GOS and the SPLM/A, contrary to an agreement reached between the two parties on a military stand-down for at least the period of the assessment. Thereafter it was decided that the team for the SPLM/A-controlled areas should return on Sunday 20 January 2002 to complete the needs assessment for those areas by Thursday 24 January 2002. For the GOS-controlled areas, it was concluded that rapid needs assessment by a large team (80 plus) up until 10 January 2002 had been able to yield a reasonably comprehensive picture of overall needs under the terms of a rapid needs assessment and that there was no real need to resume assessment activities.

The two teams were multi-disciplinary in nature and composition, including personnel with qualifications and expertise in food security and agriculture/livestock, health and nutrition, water and environmental sanitation, education, capacity-building and logistics. These personnel were drawn from a range of governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, as reflected in the composition of the Mission in Annex C.

Overall coverage focussed on six areas of the Kordofan region, namely Kadugli, Dilling, Rashad, Heiban and Abu Gubeiha/Kalogi in the State of South Kordofan, and Lagawa in West Kordofan. In all areas the Mission members spoke to and consulted with a variety of officials, community leaders and organisations, farmers, pastoralists, men, women and children. Both primary and secondary source material was collected and used. Other techniques of assessment in addition to interviews, briefings and discussions, and questionnaires, included direct observation and semi-structured interviews with key informants. Group discussion proved to be a particularly useful technique for the gathering of a range of information on different topics. The Mission was welcomed in all areas visited.

For the GOS-controlled areas, the team was divided into five multi-disciplinary groups with specific geographic responsibilities, namely Kadugli, Lagawa, Dilling, Rashad and Abu Gubeiha/Kalogi. For the SPLM/A-controlled areas, the team divided into three multi-disciplinary groups which visited five locations. They were, Kauda (in Heiban County), Julud (in Dilling County), Karkar (in Nagurban County), Tima (in Lagawa County, and Kawalib in (Delami County). (See the sketch map at Annex D).

Some areas could not be accessed for reasons of security and/or danger from landmines. These included locations around Um Barambeta west of Rashad, around Talodi in the south, and the roads linking Talodi to Kadugli and to Abu Gubeiha. Nor was it possible for similar reasons to travel the road through Heiban from Abu Gubeiha to Kadugli. In the SPLM/A-controlled areas coverage was affected by the lack of road networks and vehicles. Only in Kauda did the team have a vehicle, made available in this instance by the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (NRRDO). The other teams walked from the airstrip to the locations they assessed (from 45 minutes to two hours). This limited the scope of the assessment to a certain extent. Nonetheless it was felt that coverage was extensive and comprehensive enough to gain a reasonably accurate picture of overall needs in both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas.

A UN security team provided a safety support structure for the Mission in both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas, including with the operation of a radio communications network. This structure and network allowed for the expeditious and orderly withdrawal of all personnel on 10/11 January 2002, following the outbreak of hostilities between military forces of the two parties to conflict.

4. Context

There is a great deal of existing literature and other information available about the Nuba Mountains region, its anthropological origins, historical development, ethnic composition, and social dynamics. In brief, it is an area of great ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity featuring northern Arab or Arabised peoples, Nilotic/Bantu southern tribes and clans, and even the descendants of relatively recent migrations from West Africa during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is said that to be Nuba is a state of mind rather than one of ethnic origin.

The region covers an area of about 80,000 square kilometres and is located at the geographical centre of the Sudan. The mountains themselves occupy about one third of the area and are in effect rugged granite outcrops rising up to 1,000 metres above extensive and fertile agricultural plains. The region tends to be well-watered for four to five months of the year between May and October, with annual rainfall in that period ranging from 500 up to 800 mm (20 to 30 inches).

The population of the area with which the Needs Assessment Mission was concerned, namely the five Provinces of the State of South Kordofan plus Lagawa Province of West Kordofan, is estimated at around 1.13 million. The SPLM/A claims that upwards of 400,000 live in areas under their control, a figure disputed by the GOS.

The plains areas in particular are capable of producing a range of agricultural crops including grains such as sorghum (dura), maize and sesame, fruits and vegetables, and of supporting an extensive livestock industry which features cattle, sheep, goats and camels. The region was at one time host to the Nuba Mountains Cotton Company, but the growing of cotton has now largely given way to sorghum and sesame. There are some large, privately-owned mechanised farms in the areas east of Dilling in the central plain which produce mainly sorghum and sesame as cash crops.

Notwithstanding the considerable potential of the region, basic physical infrastructure such as roads and communications is poor or non-existent, and there has clearly been little developmental activity over the past decade or more. What was once a major all-weather arterial tarmac road between El Obeid and Kadugli as the Provincial Capital of South Kordofan, is now in a state of disrepair and virtually unusable for much of its 300 kilometre length. A similarly-constructed road without tarmac exists between Rashad and Abu Gubeiha, a distance of 55 kilometres, but that too is virtually unusable through deterioration of the surface. In both cases the road bed itself seems to be largely intact.

Exceptions to this general state of affairs include a new road which is being constructed through the central plains areas from just north of Kadugli, south-west and then south to the oil fields in Unity State along the axis of the oil pipe-line from Heiglig to Port Sudan; and the rehabilitation of the airstrip at Kadugli. There is also a governmental South Kordofan Rural Development Programme in its early stages of development, with financing over ten years from the International fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Among other things this Programme allows for the rehabilitation and construction of 634 kilometres of feeder roads throughout the State of South Kordofan. A sketch map of these planned feeder roads is at Annex E.

Meanwhile road traffic is obliged to use a network of what are now rough dirt and sand tracks running through the plains areas and through the mountains themselves, although the latter are now virtually impassable to traffic because of the civil war and the existence of land-mines in some strategic areas of military conflict. Such vehicular traffic is thus limited to trucks, buses and four-wheel drives - and in the wet season tractors at best. Large areas around Lagawa in the west, Abu Jubayhah in the east and Kalogi/Talodi in the south-east are cut off and virtually marooned during the wet season. Vehicular passage in the mountains themselves is possible only in the valleys which run through and in between, and even then is problematic because of insecurity and land-mines. There are virtually no roads in the SPLM/A-controlled areas.

Where livelihoods are concerned the people of rural Nuba are a mix of farmers, pastoralists and nomads, as well as petty traders in the towns. They are renowned for their industry, perseverance, and spirit of independence in the sense of wishing to build and sustain their own lives. In general they are more than capable of producing their own food, and indeed a surplus with easy and cost-effective access to larger markets outside the region such El Obeid and even Khartoum. What they lack at present are the social support services in health, water and education, as well as agricultural and livestock extension services. In the mountains in particular, in the areas controlled by the SPLM/A, the increasingly fundamental constraint is the inability to access good agricultural land due to fear of abduction, rape or murder. (See Sectoral Reports following in Section Five.)

The Civil War

The defining constraint on virtually all activities - developmental, agricultural, infrastructural - is without doubt the civil war which has endured in the area from the late 1980's. The war is being fought essentially between the military forces of the GOS and the SPLM/A, and by its very nature has targeted productive areas and people's assets, has impeded free movement and thus access to markets, and has blocked access to essential goods and services.

The results of the war are many and varied. Communities have been pushed off productive plains areas into the mountains where the soils have become progressively depleted and thus less productive. Environmental degradation is thus an emerging problem in the mountains, and if it is not corrected, ultimately for the wider region. Such communities, particularly in the SPLM/A areas, have become economically isolated with dwindling markets, limited supplies, and consequent high prices for those items which do manage to reach besieged mountain locations. An emerging cycle of impoverishment is particularly evident in these locations.

The war has also caused massive disruption and displacement of communities and peoples, and has separated and divided families, communities and ethnic groups. At present for example it is estimated that there are around 170,000 living in what are effect displaced camps in GOS-controlled areas, while the movement over time of tens of thousands of people to the perceived sanctuary of the mountains is itself a phenomenon of displacement.

It is no coincidence that wherever the Mission went in both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas, all interlocutors expressed a yearning for lasting peace and for the rehabilitation and development which could follow. In addition to the overwhelming tragedy of lost lives, lost opportunities, displacement and disruption, the war is seen as having divided communities which once lived in communal harmony. There remains a folk memory of a more ordered time which people want to return to.

From senior officials to the communities and people themselves, all emphasised that apart from lasting peace, their immediate priorities were in education, health, and water followed by attention to agriculture. They emphasised too that for them emergency relief was a last resort, and that they would much prefer to be assisted to the point where they could sustain their own lives. In the SPLM/A-controlled areas the main appeal is to be able to return to the plains.

Against this background the initiative of the Government of the United States in negotiating a military stand-down in the Nuba mountains so that a UN-led rapid needs assessment could be carried out, and in bringing together the GOS and SPLM/A in Switzerland to discuss and negotiate a cease-fire for the region, has been widely welcomed. These developments in themselves have raised expectations, as has the needs assessment in the GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas. The United Nations, Donor and NGO communities, as well as the GOS and South and West Kordofan State Governments and the SPLM/A, will all be expected to address the needs identified in a substantive and meaningful way. The failure of some parties and inability of others to act following the 1999 needs assessment has not been forgotten by the people of the Nuba Mountains region.

5. Sectoral Reports

(a) Education

Existing schools and physical structures

School structures are generally very basic and inadequate. In very few places (and even then only in GOS-controlled areas) does there exist the physical infrastructure conducive to a learning environment for children. The situation is worst outside the towns and in the SPLM/A-controlled areas. While there are some more or less permanent structures of stone and brick, particularly in the towns, most of the schools are in effect community-built and maintained structures utilising local materials, which deteriorate quickly. Most have no latrines or recreational facilities. It is estimated for example that of just over 500 schools in GOS-controlled areas, and 92 in SPLM/A-controlled areas, at least 60% require rehabilitation of classrooms and offices.

Children are more often than not exposed to the elements in the learning environment, and have to contend with the effect of disruptions from late and early rains on straw roofs, and health hazards arising from dust and dry cold in the winter months. In extreme cases children are taught under trees with the protection of windscreen straw fences. In very few cases are there buildings set aside for the accommodation of teachers coming from outside, with the result that many of the schools in rural areas depend on having teachers from the immediate locality. There are an estimated 4,437 teaching personnel working in the region, but a chronic shortage of trained teachers, particularly in the SPLM/A-controlled areas where there are only 357 teachers for 26,000 students. In many cases teachers in all areas are paid late or not at all, and at the same time face daunting workloads.

Equipment, materials and furniture

Proper schooling is hindered not only by a poor learning environment and shortage of trained teaches, but also by a lack of equipment, education materials, and furniture. There is an acute shortage of such basic items as desks and chairs, blackboards and chalk, textbooks, teaching aids and writing materials.

In general, the overall situation is one of chronic shortage in every conceivable respect. The majority of children sit on the ground or improvise with rough wooden benches or even large rocks. The few textbooks and other school supplies that are available have to be shared. The result is a very low enrolment of children in school (especially girls), poor attendance and high drop out rates.

SPLM/A-controlled Areas

Education is available to only 20-25% of the school age population and the great majority of those only up to Primary Level Three. No secondary schools exist in the region at all. The East African (usually Kenyan or Ugandan) curriculum and modules from southern Sudan are followed and in principle lessons are taught in English (as of 1996). However, interviews with teachers revealed that local languages and Arabic are commonly used in the class-room as most teachers do not speak English well enough to teach in it. The school year also follows the East African model. Classes run from January - March, June - August and September - November.

There are established Parents and Teachers Associations in all the schools but the role of these groups is usually limited to organising communities to build school structures. School supplies consist of syllabus, text books, exercise books, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers and blackboards and chalk. These materials are donated directly to NRRDO approximately once per year in very limited supplies. Schools were very short of all school materials.

Schools are categorised into three groups:

Model schools: buildings constructed with local materials, sometimes there are some externally trained teachers but usually teachers have only the three-month teacher training course organised by NRRDO. The externally-hired teachers receive a salary paid by the local education authorities. The Kenyan school curriculum is used. NRRDO (with some outside help) supplies school equipment when available.

Private schools: managed and supplied by the Diocese of El Obeid or the Anglican Church, teachers are qualified and generally from outside the region and are paid incentives such as clothing and food. School structures (made of local materials) exist. Religious education is part of the curriculum.

Bush schools: classes are usually held under trees, occasionally some locally- constructed classrooms exist. Most teachers have had no training at all and may only have gone to school as far as Primary Level Six themselves. Supplies of books and other school materials are minimal. Teachers receive no salary.

Figure 1: Number and type of school and population of pupils by county

County
Total no. of Schools
Type of School
No. Of teachers
No. Of pupils
Model
Bush
Private
Male
Female
Boys
Girls
Heiban
40
3
33
4
145
15
6,113
3,058
Nagurban
29
3
24
2
93
2
3,713
3,490
Delami
5
1
3
-
22
2
1,666
875
Dilling
10
-
10
-
33
5
2,561
1,961
Lagawa
10
1
10
-
32
8
1,376
1,187
Total
941
8
80
6
325
32
15,429
10,571

Children come from as far away as two hours walk. Those living furthest away eat only one meal in the evening. Because of this, children often arrive late and are listless in class. Very few schools (except the private schools) had latrines or any nearby sources of drinking water. None of the schools charged school fees.

In general, the number of boys and girls attending schools is equal in the first three primary classes but by class four most girls have dropped out. There are no school fees but there are still many reasons that children don't go to school. They include:

Boys
Girls
Both
Early recruitment into the army
Responsibilities at home Help protect family
Insecurity, especially if they have to walk long distances and because of the fear that the school may be a target2
Early marriages and girls valued for bride wealth
Cultural beliefs
Household chores such as water collection and taking care of siblings
Lack of role models
Lack of education supplies and generally poor quality of education is demotivating to children and parents
No obvious benefit to going to school, no higher education available
Lack of food for the long walk

In general it is obvious that the quality of education is very poor. The overall student to teacher ratio is 73:1, supplies are minimal, and students are crowded into tiny, uncomfortable classrooms. For this reason, families who have the resources send their children to Kenya or Uganda. Also, many children choose to move to the GOS-controlled areas to attend school seeking higher quality education.

Government-controlled Areas

The long-running conflict has itself acted as a limiting factor on the availability of schools, either through the destruction of structures, commandeering of school buildings for military purposes, or closure of schools for reasons of insecurity. For example the Mission found that in the Lagawa locality, of 55 schools functioning before the outbreak of armed conflict, only 29 remain of which seven cater for nomadic communities. At least 16 have been closed for reasons of insecurity. Similarly in Dilling Province, at least 30 schools have been closed due to insecurity.

School supplies are extremely limited. In some villages visited by the Mission, entire classes were seated on the ground sharing just the one textbook. As one teacher commented. "the pupils are distributed among the textbook", instead of the other way round. Communities are expected to provide for all other school requirements such as blackboards, chalks, pens and pencils for teachers and stationery to run the schools administrations. They are clearly hard-pressed to do so in anything approaching satisfactory levels.

Some items have been provided from outside sources. For example the Government of Saudi Arabia has assisted with the provision of some seating materials, and UNICEF and NGO's have helped with the provision of writing materials, blackboards and chalk. (UNICEF has also assisted with the rehabilitation of class-rooms, training of teachers, and social mobilisation activities to promote education for the children of nomads and from smaller villages.)

Enrolment rates throughout the region are low for the estimated 244,000 children between 6 and 14 years of age in GOS-controlled areas, thought to average under 40%, with various disparities according to localities, communities and gender. For example rates in urban centres such as Dilling and Abugeihaha are around 40%, while in more-isolated Talodi the crude enrolment rate is more like 20%. For nomadic groups in the Talodi area the figures are even lower at around 10%. The ratio of boys to girls enrolled is generally around two to one, reflecting the relative unimportance afforded to the education of girls.

The reasons for low enrolment vary, but include:

  • indifference to the value of education among some communities, eg the nomads;

  • the poor facilities and services available at too few schools, and thus a poor learning environment;

  • costs which have to be borne by already poverty-stricken parents, eg for fees and towards school materials;

  • distances sometimes involved in attending school, and the lack of boarding/feeding assistance;

  • the perceived need for children to contribute to the income and livelihood of the household; and,

  • Irregular school calendars are not consistent with the calendars of subsistence farming.

The situation of low enrolment in schools for basic education is compounded by a worrisome dropout rate in many areas and repetition of grades. Boys go back to full-time assistance with farming and care of livestock while girls tend to be needed for basic household chores and household economic activities, or go into early marriage (13 - 16 years of age). Again the reasons vary but are broadly similar to those outlined above for low enrolment.

Conclusions: The Mission offers the following summary with respect to education needs, which were consistently expressed as a top priority:

- Rehabilitation and construction of school physical structures at both primary and secondary levels, including classrooms for children, administration buildings, accommodation for teachers, health including first aid clinics, sanitation and recreation facilities.

- More trained teachers and more specialised training for teachers, with adequate and timely payment of salaries and other emoluments.

- Adequate and appropriate equipment and furniture for both classrooms and school administration, to assist in the promotion of a more conducive learning environment for children.

- The availability of adequate quantities of textbooks and other education materials such as blackboards, chalk, and writing materials.

- Facilities for boarding and school feeding would greatly facilitate enrolment and retention of pupils, particularly by providing support for those who have or would have to travel considerable distances to attend school.

- Other assistance in some form to the poorest and most needy families to allay the costs of education, including with school feeding, would also enhance enrolment and retention of pupils.

- The promotion of the concept of basic education for boys and girls, particularly among communities such as the nomads which may not be aware of the value of education for children, and community mobilisation in support of education and

- literacy, including for adults.

(b) Health and Nutrition

The most prevalent diseases in the Nuba Mountains region are malaria, diarrhorea, and acute respiratory infections. These are also the cause of most fatalities through ill-health, particularly among children under five years of age and the elderly. Outbreaks of meningitis, measles and pertusis are also common among communities. Infective hepatitis is also a problem, and bilharzia is not uncommon, especially in areas where the people habitually use hafirs or shallow wells for drinking water. Nutritional anaemia is also very common; especially among children and pregnant and lactating women. Tuberculosis is also prevalent.

Awareness of HIV/AID's and its effects and implications is also poor, both amongst the public and even among health workers themselves. In respect of the latter, little or no sensitisation or training seems to be available for health workers, with the result that they tend not to practice any preventive measures (gloves, sterilisation, provision of condoms, awareness-raising among communities, etc.) Sexually-transmitted diseases are also common.

SPLM-controlled Areas

NRRDO have a health structure, which runs from regional level to the village level. The regional health office has a health director, a co-ordinator, a health advisor, a senior mid wife and four other members. There is also a Health Working Group composed of NRRDO and agencies working in the area. At the county and the payam levels, health committees, with a membership of 6-8 people depending on the population size, have also been established. The regional structure has the responsibility of supervising the county structure while the county supervises the payam and the villages. This structure is close to the SRRA health structure. However, the effectiveness of this structure amidst logistical difficulties (like moving between areas) is questionable. This was clearly demonstrated at the payam level where both the community itself and health workers had no knowledge of these structures.

NRRDO have developed a three year plan which focuses on training of health personnel and the expansion of health services but, due to lack of funds, this has not yet taken off. The main health activity conducted by NRRDO currently is the distribution and administration of the health kits received from outside donors on a three-monthly basis.

Availability of Health Facilities

In the whole of the SPLM/A-controlled area of Nuba Mountain, there are 26 health centres. Two of these are referred to as hospitals but they do not really provide the service that a hospital would under normal conditions. They are both located in Heiban County (because Kauda is the best airstrip and the area is relatively secure) and are being run by outside agencies. One of these facilities provides both out-patient and in-patient services. Both also provide MCH and static immunisation activities as well as out-reach work. The local authority has expressed the need to upgrade the facilities to include services such as surgery.

There are three Primary Health Care Centres (PHCC) and 23 Primary Health Care Units (PHCUs). However, the latter are usually referred to as health posts because they do not have qualified CHWs to run them and the service provided is much below the minimum a PHCU should provide. These health posts act primarily as a referral point at the community level while providing treatment for very basic illnesses. War-wounded patients must also be treated at these basic facilities, unlike the other SPLM/AS-controlled areas of Sudan where ICRC is allowed by the GOS to pick-up patients for transport to their field hospital in Lokichoggio.

Almost half of the health centres are concentrated in Heiban County, which is the Regional HQ, because of access problems to the other Counties. Out of the six counties, the three counties most poorly served are Delami, Buram and Western Kadugli. Most of the population of the latter two counties has been displaced to other counties or are living in areas under GOS control after the military offensive that began in March 2000.

Due to the vastness and the mountainous condition of the Nuba Mountains, access to health service is a major problem with the nearest health units being one and half hours' walk while the furthest is about 8-9 hours' walk.

All the health centres are constructed from local building materials except for one of the bush hospitals that has a permanent structure. The rationale behind this is fear of bombardments as iron sheets can be easily spotted from the air. The hospitals are poorly equipped with only basic facilities.


Figure 2: Health Centres by Region
County
Hospitals
PHCCs
PHCUs
Heiban
2
1
11
Delami
2
Nagurban
1
4
Buram
1
W. Kadugli
1
Dilling
1
2
Lagawa
2
Total
2
3
23

Health Personnel

In the whole of the SPLM/A-controlled areas of Nuba Mountains, there are only three doctors, four medical assistants and six trained nurses. Lab technicians, pharmacists and administrators are only found in the medical clinics in Heiban. There are a number of CHWs but most of them have had only six months training (organised by NRRDO) and they are not therefore qualified as a CHW who need a minimum of nine months training. Other health workers, such as Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and EPI teams, also require training. The ratio of medical staff to the population has changed only slightly from the 1999 assessment findings as there are now two more doctors and a few more CHWs.

The availability of human resources in the area:

One doctor per 123,000 people
One nurse per 50,000 people
One midwife per 26,000 people
One medical assistant per 50,000 people
One CHW per 2,500 people

Availability of Drugs

There are three main sources of drugs, two are from donors of NRRDO and the third one is UNICEF. The hospital gets drugs regularly and according to the doctor in charge, as long as the requests are timely, drugs are received at the hospital regularly and in good quantities. The health posts (PHCC and PHCUs) are theoretically supplied on a three-monthly basis, with the exception of seven PHCUs in Heiban that are supplied by another donor. Supplies at the health posts normally run out before the three-month period is over. This has also in the past led to health workers giving half doses for treatment (in the health post in Nukoor Payam in Delami County, for example).

Immunisation Coverage

An EPI programme started in 1999 in four out of ten payams in Heiban County only. The coverage of the programme could not be established during the assessment but the health worker reported that it is very low because WHO's access was restricted and because of the lack of transport for the outreach workers, traditional beliefs and lack of community awareness. Where polio (in all accessible counties) and measles (in four payams) campaigns occurred, good coverage (60-80%) was achieved. However for measles the locations accessed were only a fraction of the total. One problem regularly reported with respect to the recent vaccination campaigns (December 2001) is that rumours were spread that the vaccines came from Khartoum and had been poisoned so some mothers refused to let their children be immunised.

Morbidity and Mortality

The main disease reported during this assessment was malaria which is the leading cause of morbidity both during the rainy season and the dry season. Currently, cases of malaria reported at the units are 47.8%, followed by diarrhoea, 12.3 %, and Respiratory Tract Infections (RTI), 11.8%. Other common diseases reported were TB, hernia, and conjunctivitis.There is no treatment provided for TB patients. There were also many complaints among women concerning secondary infertility and cases of STDs. During one interview with women (in Julud) they reported that virtually all women were circumcised. This would increase the infection rate of STDs. However, it was unclear whether this was a localised problem (this particular area is more Arabised) and whether or not it was still being carried out on young women. The information directly contradicts the 1999 findings that state that this practice has been outlawed by the SPLM and is rarely practised anymore. More investigation is needed.

Measles and meningitis outbreaks were also reported in most of the payams visited, further confirmed by reports from the two major health facilities. Only one measles campaign took place, in four payams of Heiban County, while no campaign for menegitis has been done at all. There were reports of cases of a cough that may be whooping cough in at least three of the locations visited, namely Tima, Julud and Kauda.

Nutrition Situation

The general food situation during the assessment period was relatively good because of the recent harvest and because of WFP food relief distributed the month before. This was also evident in the general appearance of the community. However, no nutritional survey was done during this assessment to confirm this and the situation could easily change in few months' time as the harvest during 2001 was inadequate (for details refer to the food security report). There were only five marasmic children in the main hospital during the period of this assessment. Health Workers expected this number to increase by as much as ten-fold during the rainy season due to inadequate food intake and diseases.

Generally, children appeared small for their age, which could be a result of the chronic food insecurity since the war and inadequate food intake both in terms of quality and quantity. General care practices such as breast feeding, timing for the introduction of weaning foods, and quality of weaning foods as well as food hygiene are very poor. Lack of time by mothers for childcare is also a factor and has been made worse by the war because women's workload has increased. The low immunisation coverage and high prevalence of disease are the other two predisposing factors.

Micro-nutrients

Some women reported having a child with night blindness and this was confirmed by health records that show an incidence of about 5% of such cases. This number is significant in itself and because of the lack of systematic information collection it is likely that cases are under-reported. The decreased variability of households' diets (due to reduced wild food availability and decreasing seed stocks and seed variability) is the likely cause. The immunisation programme, mainly polio and measles campaigns, are reported to have included vitamin A supplements but the coverage, as mentioned above is very low.

The presence of goitre has been reported in all communities but the most badly affected is Heiban. Health workers confirmed that they regularly come across the condition, and, since there is no treatment available, it is likely that most cases are not presenting at health posts. In terms of prevalence, the figure could be well beyond 10%, the cut-off point that WHO recommends for intervention. In general key informants felt the situation is getting worse, especially in Heiban County. The increased incidence of goitre is not surprising given that soils are being overused and leached of their micro-nutrients and that the only sources of salt available to the community are from the small numbers of NGOs and the little that comes through the illegal trade with GOS towns, (which in most cases is not iodized).

The other micro-nutrient related problem, reported mainly among women during pregnancy, was anemia but it was not possible to establish the prevalence. The inadequate intake of foods rich in iron plus lack of fruits rich in vitamin C that can enhance the absorption of iron from plant sources could be the main reason coupled with increased work load and frequent infections. The limited antenatal service provides at the health center do not provide routine iron Ana folic acid supplementation.

Government-controlled Areas

Health

As in the SPLM/A-controlled areas there is a chronic scarcity of health facilities such as hospitals, health care centres and dispensaries. For example an estimated population of 167,000 in Lagawa Province is served by only 19 health facilities consisting of one rural hospital, four health centres, five dispensaries, and nine primary health care units. In less isolated and more populous areas such as the localities of El Petrol and El Buram near to the South Kordofan State Capital Kadugli, the figures are relatively better with for example a total of 38 health units serving a population of about 100,000 in 92 villages.

In any case virtually all the facilities are generally poorly equipped and staffed. In the rural areas long distances between population settlements and a marked degree of fatalism, compound the problems of accessibility of communities to health facilities. Physical structures are basic, more often than not constructed from local, perishable materials such as straw and reeds.

For those facilities that do exist, there are very few doctors (virtually none outside the larger towns), other staff are poorly trained and grossly inadequate in number, and drugs are scarce. For example the Mission consistently found health facilities without any drugs at all. Little or no drugs are provided by the governmental system, and communities have to rely on their own resources or some limited supplies from UNICEF and/or NGO's. As is generally the case with water and environmental sanitation, community awareness of health matters is low, a situation which tends to be compounded by high rates of adult literacy. Health information surveillance systems are largely non-existent, which militates against any real accuracy of statistics and their interpretation.

Coverage of EPI is no better than average, with routine immunisation having not been carried out in some insecure rural areas for several years and notwithstanding the efforts of governmental authorities, SCF/US and UNICEF. Reproductive health care is precarious at best, with a lack of adequate ante-natal care and a scarcity of village mid-wives. Home deliveries are the general rule, and emergency obstetric care is generally not available, even in hospitals. Family planning is a concept that is not well-known and/or practised, and female genital mutilation remains prevalent, particularly among certain ethnic groups.

The NID's polio campaign has been relatively successful throughout the region, albeit with delays in the SPLM/A-controlled areas from time to time because of denials of access.

The general scarcity of health facilities and services including drugs has strengthened the role of traditional healers and the dependence of the communities on herbal medicines. Malaria is universally treated with ardeib (tamarind) diarrhoea with gunguleise (baobab fruits), and coughs associated with bronchitis with a poultice of garad (acacia seeds). Commonly, herbs are used for hepatitis, snake bites, and many other ailments. Local healers are commonly consulted for repair of fractures and are well known for the treatment of bleeding associated with pregnancy.

Nutrition

Overall nutritional status is stable and it would appear that the situation is not broadly dissimilar to that prevailing when the last comprehensive multi-sectoral, multi-agency needs assessment was carried out just over two years ago in September/October 1999. However, nutritional status could be more fragile for the poorer communities during the four to five month "hunger gap" period from May, but an accurate picture of the overall nutritional situation in the Nuba Mountains region is constrained somewhat by the paucity of in-depth surveys and assessments, either by government or any other party. In some areas of Kadugli Province, bush fire and theft have led to losses in crop production.

There is almost universal dependence on dura (sorghum) as the main staple. Two meals per day is the norm for the majority of people, and take the form of dura served with ochra and yoghurt, with beans and sometimes meat. In a few areas where there is permanent water, fish is available the year round and is affordable to all. In Lagawa and some parts of Keilak some vegetables are available for four to six months a year. In the eastern areas around Rashad and Abu Gubeiha, there is an abundance of fruit and vegetables, particularly during the period March to May when for example mangoes are transported in quantity to the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum. Almost the entire Nuba Mountains region is rich in wild fruits, some of which have nutritional value with vitamins A, B and C.

While the overall availability of food, in the GOS areas, is generally satisfactory for the time being, the nutritional situation is fragile and could easily deteriorate through other reasons such as unsatisfactory hygiene, unclean water, and poor sanitation. This applies particularly to the most vulnerable, especially children. Indeed nutritional anaemia is common among children and pregnant/lactating women. Deficient intake, poor quality of food, inappropriate eating practices, and exhaustion are among the main factors responsible. Vitamin A deficiency is also fairly common in many areas, many cases of night blindness are reported to have appeared this year, particularly in the Lagawa area. (No stocks of vitamin A were available in any of the affected communities visited by the Mission.).

Conclusions: The Mission offers the following summary of needs in health and nutrition:

Health

Expand basic primary health care services and facilities by:

- The development of capacity for the training and as necessary re-training of health care workers, including nurses, mid-wives, and birth attendants.

- Rehabilitation and construction of appropriate health facilities, together with medical equipment and furniture, and the provision of adequate and regular supplies of essential drugs and medical kits.

- The promotion and implementation of EPI, including satisfactory organisational, logistical and cold chain support, and access to all areas for the polio campaign.

- The establishment and development of quality assurance mechanisms for the health care system.

- The widespread promotion of health and nutrition matters among the general public, including as appropriate through official news media channels and in local languages and dialects.

Nutrition:

- Nutritional education for the public with emphasis on school children, pregnant women and IDP groups, and strengthening of capacity to recognise and assess malnutrition.

- Regular nutritional surveys and assessments to determine needs for specific interventions including for the hunger gap period, within the context of a nutritional surveillance system or systems for growth monitoring and promotion in and through health facilities.

- Ready availability of nutritional supplements such as vitamin A, iodine, iron and folic acid, and special foods such as Corn Soya Blend (CSB), particularly for vulnerable groups.

- Distributions of iodised salt in the SPLM/A-controlled areas and an investigation into whether or not the salt in Kordofan markets has been iodised.

(c) Water and Sanitation

The Nuba Mountains region can be divided into two main hydro-geological areas: a) the deep and rich aquifer in the central and eastern part of the State of South Kordofan, with an average depth of 70 metres and a yield of about 600 litres per minute, and b) the shallow and poorer aquifer in the western part of South Kordofan running into West Kordofan where Lagawa Province of the Nuba Mountains region is located, with an average depth of 40 metres and a yield of about 60 litres per minute.

In the dry season from November until May, surface water is limited in most parts of the Nuba Mountains region. At the same time there are areas in the plains and in the valleys with depth of sands and sediments which do contain surface water, thus allowing for perennial sources of water from hand-dug shallow wells and small water streams. A variety of water yards, artificial reservoirs (hafirs), dams, and hand-pumps throughout the region constitute the other main sources of potable water.

From the 1950's to the 1980's there were significant interventions in the water supply sector by national governments and numbers of non-governmental organisations. Yet overall, ready access to safe, potable water remains a problem in some areas during the dry season, and can take up many hours of fetching and carrying during the daytime hours, principally by the womenfolk and children of communities.

During the wet season and for some weeks after there is ready access to water in seasonal streams and this constitutes a major source of drinking water for both people and livestock. However the water can be highly contaminated and is considered not entirely safe for those who do use it.

SPLM/A-controlled Areas

The displacement of communities away from the plains into the hills and the base of the hills has increased the time it takes for women and girls to collect water and has generally decreased the quality of water sources. Overall it has increased population densities and competition (both human and animal) for already limited land and natural resources. The water situation is usually worst during the dry season as most wells have low production and it is common to have to wait for more than six hours at the water points. Households walk an average of 2-3 hours (round trip to collect water) but as far as eight in parts of Nagurban County. During the wet season, the water sources are small streams and pools close to the village. However, the water is of very poor quality and is often contaminated with human and livestock waste.

In all the locations visited, water points were not protected or lined and livestock fed directly from the same sources. Where deeper wells (5-6 metres) existed, people used a calabash tied to a rope to collect the water.

Women collect water in clay pots, containers made of scrap metal and with plastic jerry cans. The pots are very heavy (about four kg) and their capacity is low, (up to 10 litres) and are easily broken when the women stumble on the steep rocky footpaths. Similarly, metal pots are also very heavy and women complained that they caused their hair to fall out from the crown of their heads. Only about 20% of the community had plastic jerry cans which they purchased from Arab traders who make occasional forays into SPLM/A-controlled areas.

Heiban County has had the most input from outside agencies. Here, the communities collect water from three hand-dug wells around Kauda, (each 6-9 m deep). Eight bore-holes were recently drilled by the local civil and church authorities. Two of the bore-holes are for church use while the rest are for the community. Phase one of the programme covers Kauda and Gdeil payams, where 20 bore-holes are planned.

The NRRDO have a drilling rig in Kauda with which they have managed to drill two bore-holes in Kauda and Gdeil. These bore-holes were installed with Indian Mark II pumps. This was possible as they have a partially trained WES team which operated the machine. This rig could only be used on soft sandy soils in Heiban and Dilling counties. The other locations are rocky and would require heavier equipment. The hilly topography found in the region would also constrain drilling work.

The hand-dug wells are not protected and no hand pump has been installed, but they provide water throughout the year. The method of drawing water is by the use of buckets and ropes, which exposes the water to contamination. The rest of the areas collect water from Kauda stream. When the stream is dry they dig shallow sand bed wells, which are useful for two to three months after the rains.

In Dilling County there are 36 bore-holes drilled by the GOS. In Julud, four bore-holes are in Julud village itself, one is in Basa, two in Medeline, and one in Kotogo. Of these bore-holes, only two are operational after the local water team was able to repair them using local materials. The rest are not operational due to lack of spare parts and tools. There are also four hand-dug wells in the area (5-6 metres deep) that are being used. The rest of the communities use Timo and Julud streams as their water sources (2 to 4 hours walk) usually from the riverbeds, which last for two to three months after the rains.

Hygiene and Sanitation Practices

Hygiene practices vary from community to community but in general people are able to wash frequently during the rainy season when water is plentiful but much more rarely when water is scarce. Soap is often not available. In addition, water is transported in small pots and emptied into a large clay pot for storage. Neither this container nor those used for collection have lids and are not hygienically kept. Food is generally not covered, leaving it exposed to flies and other sources of contamination.

In terms of human waste, the common practice is indiscriminate disposal in nearby bushes or behind the rocks, often near water sources. Sanitation facilities are found only in a few schools, health clinics, and houses of the elite people and the authorities. The latrines in public facilities are built under the guidance of the civil authorities however there is very little evidence of latrines in the villages. The main reasons cited for not building and using latrines is the bad smell and stony ground which is difficult to dig.

There are 16 trained water and sanitation workers, including the NRRDO Regional Water Coordinator and his assistant (who were trained in southern Sudan), the others were trained locally, usually informally. The specific areas of training were in bore-hole drilling (using a drilling rig), hand pump installation and maintenance, and hygiene promotion. However, there was little evidence of the latter element when talking with community members.

Government-controlled Areas

In the Government-controlled areas the most commonly used water sources are hand pumps and water yards. It is estimated that about 60% of the population have access to safe water.

Hand pumps

The rural populations throughout the region tend to rely heavily on hand pumps as primary sources of safe potable water. Many hundreds if not thousands of these pumps were installed in rural areas over the last two decades. However, all evidence available to the Mission suggests that these facilities are in a state of collective disrepair. (Available information indicates that perhaps 40% or more of a total of 4,303 hand pumps in the region are broken and no longer functioning.)

Those hand pumps that are still functioning are subject to frequent breakdowns, and spare parts are increasingly difficult to obtain and expensive to buy. There is thus increasing high usage of the existing pumps, which as they decrease in number can be at some distance from many of the water consumers. The system of community-based maintenance systems with trained hand-pump mechanics and maintenance kits, are rare or no longer in evidence in some areas.

Water yards

Water yards are relatively sophisticated facilities with a motorised pump drawing up ground water via bore-holes into an overhead tank for distribution, and are water collection points for both people and livestock. There are some hundreds of water yards throughout the region. However almost all were constructed during the 1970's under a national government scheme, and are thus becoming old, dilapidated and obsolete, and increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain. Many now experience regular breakdowns and require virtually continuous care and maintenance. For the foregoing reasons, a large proportion, perhaps as high as 50% of the 94 water yards in the GOS-controlled areas of the region, are no longer functioning at all.

These facilities are run by the communities, while the GOS National Water Corporation provides the mechanics. The relationship between the two entities is apparently not always easy when it comes to the collection of tariffs and the disbursement of the revenue thus derived. The water is clean and safe for human consumption, at least when it emerges from the ground, but not so if the water is subsequently shared by livestock from the same basins, as is sometimes the case.

Water reservoirs (Hafirs)

The excavation of water reservoirs or hafirs is an old system practised in the area and dates from the 1950's. In the past Hafirs were excavated with the use of earth-moving machinery provided by government. In more recent years such methods have become largely unaffordable and/or impractical, and organisations including WFP and some NGO's have resorted to the construction of such facilities with manual labour through food-for-work programmes. The water storage capacities of these Hafirs tend to range from 5000 to 10,000 cubic metres, although there are a few that are much larger.

The precise number of such facilities constructed in the Nuba Mountains region through either mechanical or manual means is not known, but for the GOS-controlled areas is thought to number about two hundred. However many of them have silted up over the years and thus have much-reduced storage capacities. Others are either totally silted or abandoned. For example the Habilla locality in Dilling Province has reportedly lost 83% of its water reservoirs capacity in two decades, and the overall figure for the Nuba Mountains region is estimated in excess of 50%.

Health problems can arise in respect of those hafirs which are not managed properly in catering to both people and livestock, with water pollution giving rise to diseases such as dysentry and guardiasis.

Water use and management

Water is managed almost exclusively by the communities themselves, through village committees. Apart from water yards and sometimes hafirs, tariffs are generally not requested for the use of water. All other sources of potable water are for communal use free of charge. The village water committees usually ask for cash contributions from each household to repair broken hand pumps. Some groups such as IDPs are sometimes required to contribute cash for water utilisation from village water facilities, if for example they did not contribute initially to the costs of installation and maintenance.

Sanitation

Levels of personal hygiene seem relatively satisfactory, with routine use of soap in settled households. However that is not the case in IDP camps, where poor personal hygiene is prevalent, particularly among children. It appears that this is not so much a lack of awareness but a combination of poverty and lack of opportunities to improve livelihoods.

Standards of sanitation in rural areas are generally poor, with relatively few latrines in use in households or in schools. Levels of understanding of the faecal-oral route of disease transmission are low. Open defecation is the norm, practised behind bushes, on river banks, in the beds of streams and under trees. Water-borne diarrhoea diseases remain a preventable problem in some areas although not all.

Levels of health awareness among communities are also generally low, and a previously-existing governmental attention to the promotion and support of water and environmental sanitation has fallen away. There is some remaining capacity in both trained personnel and equipment, but it needs revitalising.

Conclusions: The Mission offers the following summary with respect to needs in water and environmental sanitation:

- A programme for household hygiene promotion with specific targeting of women and children as those likely to achieve behavioural changes, including the construction and use of house-hold and school latrines and understanding the importance to good health of safe potable water.

- Distributions of soap in the SPLM/A-controlled areas, until markets are fully accessible.

- A programme of rehabilitation of existing water yards and hand pump systems, and the development of sustainable maintenance regimes.

- A programme for the drilling of more boreholes and digging of wells, particularly in SPLM/A-controlled areas.

- The development and enhancement of capacities for water systems management by communities, including appropriately trained village personnel, hand pump mechanics.

- The ready provision of a sustainable supply of basic spare parts at affordable cost.

- The rehabilitation and construction of hafirs through either mechanical or manual means or both.

- The development of governmental service capacity to assist with the promotion and implementation of water and environmental sanitation, involving both trained manpower and appropriate equipment.

(d) Agriculture and Food Security

Activities in agriculture constitute the main livelihood for almost the entire population of the Nuba Mountains region, featuring the production of grains, pulses, livestock, fruits and vegetables. The area is endowed with rich arable plains areas and valleys, and generally favourable weather conditions with a four to five month rainy season during which between 500 to 800 mm of rain can be expected. Traditional small-scale production dominates but rain-fed mechanised farming and horticultural production are to be found in the northern and eastern parts of the region.

The region has always been recognised as potentially one of the richest and most fertile in the Sudan, and indeed at one time provided a surplus for use elsewhere in the country, Food security for the region itself was thus not a problem. Even during the drought cycles which hit many parts of the Sudan in the 1970's and the 1980's, this area was much less affected in terms of food security. The peoples of the region are hard-working and industrious, renowned for their independence and desire to make their own way.

With the onset of armed conflict in the mid-1980's, lines of actual military and administrative control have evolved such that generally the GOS commands the extensive, fertile plains areas, and the SPLM/A the mountainous areas with lower agricultural productivity. Some pockets are controlled neither by the GOS nor the SPLM/A and thus remain unused or under-utilised because of insecurity. This division of control and the conflict itself have given rise to chronic population displacement cycles, the evidence of which was in clear view of the Mission in both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas. Destroyed villages, IDP camps, and the so-called "Peace Villages" in the GOS-controlled areas are all features of the consequences of the conflict and have a direct impact on the food security situation. At the very least there are less people than before who are growing crops and producing food.

The overall result of the long years of armed conflict with its consequent displacement of populations and destruction of infrastructure, has been one of deterioration in the agricultural and livestock sector and thus in the food security situation. Production itself has been affected by conflict, and the previously-existing agricultural and livestock support services have eroded to the extent that they now barely exist. Pests and diseases affecting both animals and crops are an unwanted consequence of this.

SPLM/A-controlled Areas

The food security situation is much more serious than in 1999, following the loss of surplus-producing locations in the counties of Buram and Kadugli West, the displacement of people to the less fertile areas of Nagurban and Heiban, and fighting in Heiban itself. In November 2000, WFP was able to deliver 2000 MT of food aid to almost 100,000 beneficiaries. This alleviated the situation in the short term, but most of the population will remain food insecure until access to the plains is possible. Indeed the WFP Mission Report arising from the November 2000 initiative concludes that the house-hold food security situation remains precarious and that the people would continue to need food assistance over the period April to September 2002.

The food sources accessed by the Nuba population are: crops, livestock, kinship, labour, trade and exchange and wild food plants.

Own crops

The main crop grown is sorghum. In the last several years the varieties of sorghum seed available have decreased significantly due to the effects displacement, different soil types, the looting and burning of fields during attacks and lack of access to markets. Other crops include maize, groundnuts, cowpeas, and simsim. The latter is often pressed and the oil extracted for sale or household consumption, using simple means. For example a camel-operated local press is able to extract about 10 litres of oil from eight malwas (about 24 kg) of simsim. The press operator charges 5000 Sudanese pounds for use of the apparatus.

For all crops, the amount of land cultivated and the yield per feddan has decreased. The table below shows the trend for sorghum.

Figure 3: Trends in crop production

For an average household
Pre-war
1999
2001
Land cultivated3 (feddans)
5-7
1-3
½ -1
Yield of sorghum per feddan (90 kg sacks)
4-5
2-3
1.5-2.5
% of total energy requirement available to HH (if all eaten)
190%
27%
11%

From the table above it can be seen that, pre-war, the average household was able to secure almost double its food needs from sorghum alone. This allowed a household many options in terms of trade and also meant that there were plenty of labour options available for poor households. In 1999 production had decreased substantially but most households could still meet about 1/3 of their needs from sorghum consumption, the rest coming from the other food sources. However, by 2001 both yields and the amount of land available had decreased even further. The latter is due primarily to the increased competition for land on or near the slopes. The former is undoubtedly due to decreasing fertility as 2001 was a very good year in terms of rainfall. Further, farmers reported that they no longer left fields fallow or rotated crops and that the variety of crops grown had decreased. This increased competition for and usage of the land is a direct result of the displacement of communities from the plains, and the insecurity which obliges them to farm not too far from their home bases in the mountains.

Besides soil fertility, the other constraints to improved crop production cited were:

  • Lack of agricultural inputs (seeds and tools)

  • Erratic rainfall and prolonged dry spells of the past three years (though 2001, as mentioned, was much better)

  • Decreasing varieties of seeds

  • Increase of crop pests and persistent weeds such as striga

  • Lack of energy during the cultivation season as a result of inadequate food.

  • Reduced labour force arising from other demands, sickness (compounded by the lack of health facilities), and loss of men to military service.

  • The difficulties of terrace farming.

  • Insecurity.


Livestock

Overall, livestock holdings have decreased by 60-70% from pre-war levels. Of those households which still have livestock, an average holding seems to be around 1-3 cattle, 5-7 sheep/goats and 5-6 chickens. Most households no longer have cattle. The migration pattern of cattle has also changed. Prior to the war cattle were taken to the northern areas of Kordofan during the rainy season to protect them from tsetse fly and in search of good pasture and water. Because of insecurity, people now keep their cattle with them at all times, where before they could move often long distances in search of pasture. They now stay within village environs in and around the base of the hills, giving rise to problems of deforestation and increased competition for water sources. The other difficulties faced are diseases, limited pasture and water sources (because of limited and insecure access to the plains).

Looting of cattle occurs regularly and because large holdings of cattle acts as a target, more and more families have chosen to keep their herds very small. This is evident in the relatively high slaughter of animals. This has implications for the present in terms of livestock production, particularly milk for children but also for the future as cattle used to be a vehicle for holding wealth as they could be traded for grain in poor harvest years.

Veterinary services are very poor. The main problems faced are a lack of training, vet co-ordination, medical inputs and transport (i.e. bicycles). Currently the number of veterinary/agricultural extension workers of all types is very low, just 38. Of these only one holds a diploma in agriculture, four are certified (as stockpersons or in agriculture), three are certified Animal Health Auxiliaries (AHAs) and the rest are either Community Animal Health Workers or CEWs.

The main diseases affecting cattle are Trypanosomosis, Contagious Bovine, Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Foot and Mouth Disease, Blackquarter and Helminthosis. In goats the main diseases are Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), PPR, Mange and Helminthosis. Newcastle Disease in chickens was also commonly reported.

Kinship

In 1999, kinship support was organized by chiefs whereby up to 90kg food (cereals) was collected (and given voluntarily) and distributed to the needy. Currently, there is minimal kinship support as households become poorer and poorer.

Wild foods

The plains hold the greatest diversity of food plants and the most calorie significant nuts, grass grains, and tubers. Wild food plants do still make up a large percentage of the diet but access to them has become problematic because of insecurity in the plains areas for the women and children who collect the foods. Competition has thus increased for those wild foods that are readily available, as has the workload of the women and children as they must walk further and further to collect them. Further, since there are far fewer types, the diet of households has become much less varied which has nutritional implications (see the Health and Nutrition section).

Trade and Exchange

Since the war began in the mid-1980s, the SPLM/A-controlled areas have been economically isolated as traditional trading routes through the plains to Dilling and Kadugli have been cut off, especially in the west. More recently, the loss of surplus-producing areas and increased insecurity in the plains has meant that essential agricultural inputs, salt and non-food items are very difficult to obtain. The limited cross-line trade that does exist is generally exploitative and tends to further deplete assets, especially livestock.

Communities have tried to revive trade to the extent possible with bush markets and internal small markets, where petty trade is carried out usually on a set day per week. In Lumen Payam for example there is a market each Friday.

The major income sources are:

  • Livestock, which they exchange for non-food items such as clothes and soap, this is mainly applicable within the better off households.

  • Brewing, mainly done by women for purchase of non-food items

  • Sale of agriculture produce such as vegetables.

  • Labour for food.

  • Labour for building, sale of building materials, firewood, water collection, and porterage.


Government-controlled Areas

At the present time, three broad types of production systems prevail in the agricultural and livestock sector and contribute to food security and local livelihoods. The most important is rain-fed and thus seasonal sedentary farming with grains and horticultural production as the most important activities. There are some tractors but the principal means for farming rely on draught animals and hand tools.

Pastoralism and the raising of cattle, sheep, goats and camels ranks second and also constitutes an important contribution to sustainable livelihoods and food security. Prior to the onset of armed conflict, virtually every household had some livestock to provide basic dairy products such as milk and cheese, and meat, as well as being an indicator of wealth. There has over the years been a marked loss of livestock. In addition, veterinary services including livestock vaccination campaigns have faded away and are virtually non-existent in most areas.

These two traditional systems in farming and pastoralism are by far the largest in terms of numbers of people involved (perhaps as high as 90%) and in production, and merit the highest priority of attention for assistance of any kind. Access to arable land seems generally not to be a problem in the GOS-controlled areas, though for displaced peoples from outside the region and for villages near the "front lines" the situation can be more difficult.

Rain-fed mechanised farming is primarily a larger-scale, privately-owned system run for commercial purposes and producing crops such as sorghum, sesame, guar and sunflower. There is some cotton grown, but not on the scale of the days of the Nuba Mountains Cotton Company some decades ago when it was a major source of income for the region. The mechanised farming thus contributes to food security and local livelihoods, but principally through the employment opportunities which it offers in the tilling, planting and harvesting cycles.

Large rural and village markets constitute an important mechanism for food security, usually most active in the post-harvest period and depending on the production of surplus and/or cash crops. Terms of trade tend to work against primary producers where prices of primary products are low and those of processed food and non-food products are high. Terms of trade also turn against consumers during the 'hunger gap" period when the price of grain can rise dramatically, with a commensurate drop in the price of livestock which has to be sold for the purchase of grain.

Finally, the movement of surplus food from locality to locality and further afield is heavily constrained by the complete lack of good arterial and feeder roads. There is a network of rough dirt and sand tracks criss-crossing the region including through the mountains (the latter are mined in key places), and the remnants of what were once one or two good all-weather arterial roads, for example from El Obeid to Kadugli. Some areas are simply not accessible in the rainy season. This absence of serviceable arterial and feeder roads means that access to outside markets is that much more expensive and ultimately impractical in economic terms.

Conclusions: The Mission offers the following summary of needs in agriculture and food security:

- The revival of agricultural (including agro-forestry) and livestock extension services, to provide appropriate technical and capacity-building support to farmers and pastoralists on matters such as land and crop rotation, the introduction of new crops, care of crops and livestock, fire protection of range and farmlands, fisheries, and basic food-processing.

- Provision of high quality field crop seed, fruit and vegetable seeds, including through the establishment and development of nurseries for the local production of seeds and seedlings.

- Ready availability of seeds and tools and other agricultural inputs as appropriate.

- Improved access to veterinary care including the training of animal health workers and livestock vaccine campaigns.

- Better access of primary producers to markets (including by road), micro-credit mechanisms, storage facilities for food and fuel, and technical advice.

- Assistance to vulnerable communities in coping with the three to four month "hunger gap" prevailing in some areas, including through the establishment of community-operated grain banks and the provision of relief food as guided by the food security assessment of the Mission, and with minimum disruption to existing coping mechanisms.

- Particular support mechanisms to internally-displaced communities to assist their recovery, including through allocation of arable land, provision of seeds and tools, income-generating activities for women, and the provision of relief food as guided by the food security assessment of the Mission.

- The provision of relief food assistance to 481,000 beneficiaries as reflected in the attached table at Annex F, 314,000 persons in the GOS-controlled areas and 167,000 persons in the SPLM/A-controlled areas. (This represents about one-third of the estimated population of the region of 1.13 million.)

- Rehabilitation and construction of water conservation and usage facilities for farmers and pastoralists, including dams, reservoirs, water yards, bore-holes and wells.

- Efficient and reliable systems of early warning and emergency response.

6. Livelihoods and Local Structures

Government-controlled Areas

The prolonged conflict has resulted in destruction of villages, widespread population displacement, and severe restriction of access for the provision of humanitarian assistance of any kind. All areas of the Nuba Mountains region have witnessed the quality and availability of social support services diminish markedly in recent years, aggravated in some locations by the added pressure of having to host internally-displaced communities and/or returnees. Access to safe potable water is a concern in many areas. Transport and communications facilities are poor

The war and its various consequences have thus badly eroded people's capacity to maintain their livelihood support systems. Access to farming land is significantly restricted and pastoral practices based on relative freedom of movement have been severely undermined. Technical skills survive but they are generally very basic and limited in all sectors.

The enforced isolation experienced by the population in the SPLM/A-controlled areas has prevented access to essential goods such as fuel, clothing, salt and soap, and to basic social services such as education, health and water supplies. The non-availability of seeds, tools, agricultural inputs and equipment has adversely affected food production. Over-farming and over-grazing of what were already marginal lands, has seen a steady deterioration in fertility and thus productivity. Access to more productive lands in the valleys of the mountains is denied by the conflict.

Levels of income and expenditure are generally very low, and many basic non-food needs are thus out of reach. The principal source of cash income for the rural areas is agricultural labour, with members of poorer households assisting on farms with land clearing, ploughing, planting, weeding, harvesting, and threshing activities.

The situation of women throughout the region merits special mention. Typically, and in addition to raising families and running households, there is no choice but for the great majority of them to work in the fields beside the menfolk, and to cover long distances to fetch water on a regular basis. In one extreme case that was brought to the attention of the Mission, for the women of a displaced persons camp at Fayo in Dilling Province the journey to fetch water in the dry season is an overnight affair. There are some opportunities for IDP women in the towns to pursue petty trading.

Female genital mutilation remains common in the GOS-controlled areas, but apparently much less so in the SPLM/A-controlled areas where it has been banned. Marriage for females occurs at a young age, between 13 and 16 years of age.

A fundamental constraint on virtually all economic activities and social services throughout the region is the almost complete absence of adequate arterial and feeder roads. There are the remnants of what were once good all-weather roads, such as that from El Obeid to Kadugli, and otherwise a network of dirt and sand tracks criss-crossing the region including through the mountains. Large areas are impassable in the wet season and just after. Even in the dry season these tracks are rough and very demanding of vehicular traffic, which is necessarily limited to trucks, buses, four-wheel drives, and bicycles. The tracks through the mountains are insecure, and afflicted with land-mines.

Time and again and at all levels, the Mission was informed of the highest priority which communities placed on the need for an adequate road network, and of its importance to the future economic and social well-being of the region in a context of peace. In this respect the Mission was briefed by the State Government of South Kordofan on the outlines of a road feeder programme to be implemented under the auspices of the South Kordofan Rural Development Programme, with financing from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The broad objective of this road feeder programme is to: "undertake a crash programme of rural road improvement to facilitate movement of (overall) Programme inputs, outputs, and access to markets and services within the State of South Kordofan.", and allows for the construction and/or rehabilitation of 634 kilometres of rural roads throughout both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas of South Kordofan.

SPLM/A-controlled Areas

The war in the SPLM/A-controlled areas has been characterised by a mix of larger-scale military campaigns by the GOS from time to time, and more frequent attacks on a smaller scale. Both the reality of this violence and its threat are detriments to carrying out productive activities. Further, there is no indication that the attacks have decreased in the past couple years. Indeed interviews with households and authorities indicate that violence, attacks and abductions on a regular basis have probably increased. The war has affected people primarily by causing insecurity in the plains, creating economic isolation, and separating families and communities.

Prior to the war most communities lived in the plains where water was plentiful, the soil was fertile, good pasture ample, and a wide variety of wild food plants abundant. Because of garrisons located in the plains people have been forced to live near or on the rocky mountain slopes. The soil on these slopes is poor and competition for land to plant means that fields are never left fallow which causes the soil to further deteriorate. Livestock also does not do well in these areas and so herds have been depleted. Indeed it has become increasingly difficult to retain crops and livestock, and to meet basic demands of shelter, health and education. All of this has led to the Nuba people facing hunger and needing food aid for the first time in their history. It has made them poor and now keeps them poor.

Economic isolation has been a tactic of the civil war. Those living in the SPLM/A-controlled areas have virtually no access to markets which are mainly located in the GOS-held towns. Some traders do manage to sneak into SPLM/A-controlled areas but they do so at great risk and thus charge exorbitant prices for their goods. This means that people cannot secure essential items such as soap and salt which affects hygiene and thus health. It also means that there is no way to trade cattle for grain in poor agricultural years or grain for livestock when surpluses exist as a hedge for the future. People cannot buy clothing and blankets and so are not protected from the cold winter months. A lack of proper clothing prevents many girls from attending school. Women cannot get jerry cans to collect water and so must use heavy clay jugs adding to their workloads.

At times the burden of walking long distances to collect water or the need for food becomes so great that women and men risk going into the plains. There they face the risk of rape, murder and abduction. In one interview with 18 women, fully one third said that they had been raped. Often women are threatened with abduction or murder if they do not comply sexually with their attackers. This has lead to a large rise in cases of STDs seen in clinics. Reports of torture, forced labour, and the assassination of community leaders were consistently reported in all the areas visited.

Cattle raiding is also common. Militia soldiers (apparently often fellow Nuba people) steal cattle and divide the herds between various commanders. While not always a specific tactic of war, more a sanctioned form of banditry or war bounty, it has had the effect that people tend to regard large livestock holdings as a detriment to survival as their presence near their homes makes them a target for looting.

Aerial bombardment, shelling attacks and landmines are also a fact of life for the Nuba people. Besides deaths and the physical damage to infrastructure (such as schools, mosques and churches) it also affects peoples' mental health. Ulcers in men, chronic menstruation problems in women (sometimes linked to infertility) were regularly reported by people and health care workers. Landmines are often laid on paths that women and children use to collect wild foods or around water points.

Another effect of the war is to disrupt families. Virtually everyone reported that they had family members living in the north. Sometimes this is by choice, as children seek an education in northern schools or people look for better health care. Abductions have also frequently separated families, most worryingly, children from their parents. For example in one interview with 60 women, 11 had at least one child in the north, 9 of these had been abducted. In Julud it was reported that 50% of families had children in GOS-controlled areas. In another interview key informants estimated that 100 people had been abducted from a payam in Nagurban in 2001 alone. In general, women and children are more prone to abductions than men because they commonly collect water, wild foods and firewood. Abducted people rarely return and a record of abductions is kept by the NRRDO.

Increasingly, women bear the brunt of the effects of the separation of families. From 50-75% of women do not stay with their husbands, either because he is dead (by far the greatest proportion), fighting in the war or has gone to the north to seek employment. These women normally join other families so there tend to be few "women-headed families" per se. However households in general have been reshaped and have grown in size for mutual suuport. Further, when asked whether there were "children-headed households", community members in several locations agreed that they existed. It seems that they are most likely to be headed by teenaged girls. The effect of these changes in household dynamics has been to decrease the proportion of productive household members (healthy women and men) to unproductive members (children, the elderly and/or sick or disabled) thus increasing the burden of daily work, especially on women.

Besides people, the war has had a significant effect on the environment. The fact that very little terrace cultivation is practised and many areas are very overcrowded has led to the leaching of soils of minerals (and is probably why iodine deficiencies appear to be increasing (see the health section)). The cutting down of trees for building and firewood and the crowding of goats and cattle on the slopes has also had an impact.

Despite these negative effects of the war, there have been some positive outcomes. Most notable is the greater sense of a Nuba identity. This has lead to greater dialogue between leaders and ordinary people from different ethnic groups and different religions. This has encouraged peaceful coexistence and harmonious relations between the Nuba people, "anyone can live in any village" was the sentiment of one informant. Prior to the war villages were usually composed of people from one ethnic group and one religion. Now villages are commonly mixed. Wednesday (rather than Sunday or Friday) is designated as the weekly public holiday (when schools are closed) so as not to show favouritism to either Muslims or Christians.

Similarly, IDPs are seen as members of the greater community in need of special assistance and help. They have the same access to health care and education as residents. When they first arrive they are housed with the local community and given support to build their own houses. Through NRRDO, food is allocated to them from the village. During the recent WFP distribution they were specially targeted for food aid, a decision that did not cause any tension.

Agencies working in the SPLM/A-controlled areas

The only formal indigenous Sudanese NGO working in SPLM/A-controlled areas of the Nuba Mountains is the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (NRRDO). Nevertheless there is a strong "civil society" with structures and strategies already in place. There are other agencies apart from NRRDO which support health services and immunisation programmes in the region through NRRDO. The Diocese of El-Obeid (DOE) is the only Church agency that also operates in the area (in the field of water) but their capacity is limited. In November 2001, GOS approved a WFP food aid intervention. Almost 2,000 MT of food were distributed to almost 100,000 people in the areas accessible, but a few of the isolated areas did not received food.

NRRDO, operating in a context where the SPLM constitutes the main civil structure and the NRRDO provides mainly technical support, does not have sufficient resources to fully implement its programmes. However, the agency has developed both short and long term strategies. The short-term plan focuses on welfare strategies which focus on the vulnerable people in the community, registration, local purchase of food and seeds distribution. The longer-term strategy focuses on a participatory planning process in all the counties and payams with the communities under SPLM/A-controlled areas, and the priorities are education, water, and health. The longer-term strategy is for three years but all these are still in an infancy stage.

Conclusions: The mission offers the following needs in respect of livelihoods and support structures:

- Comprehensive rehabilitation and revival of social service support structures, as outlined elsewhere in this report.

- A comprehensive transport and communications network, including construction and rehabilitation of both arterial and feeder roads, bridges and causeways. Rehabilitation of the El Obeid/Kadugli arterial road is a priority.

- The creation of income-generating activities for women, for example through adult education, training in small business management, micro-credit facilities.

- Awareness-raising among communities of the dangers inherent in female genital mutilation, and a campaign of abolition of the practice.

- Mines action activities including survey, marking, mines awareness, training and de-mining.

- Support to local indigenous NGOs.

7. Peace Building

The region is one of rich cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity with peoples of northern and western Sudanese origin, southern Nilotic/Bantu tribes and clans, and even the descendants of migrations of West Africans. There are as many as 50 or more different ethnic groups and a similar number of languages and dialects.

Prolonged war is universally seen as having divided communities which once lived in relative harmony and which had well-tried and tested mechanisms for the resolution of conflict. Wherever the Mission went, both in GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas, individuals and communities at all levels expressed in strong terms their desire for peace and a return to a state of full communal harmony.

There is also a history of traditional pacts and alliances reached between and among tribes and tribal groups. It seems that many of these have dissolved under the pressure of the wider civil war and resulting divisions, and as new alliances are formed with one party or the other (i.e. GOS and SPLM/A) to the civil conflict. Nonetheless it would appear that most groups retain the will to make and/or maintain peace with their neighbours, and to reach amicable agreements on the sharing of pasture and water.

Mechanisms for the resolution of conflict have managed to endure at least in some areas, and it would appear that apart from the war itself, conflict tends to arise from competition between pastoralists and farmers for access to natural resources such as pasture and water. Most of these clashes are resolved in traditional ways through the involvement of community committees of traditional leaders and charismatic personalities. Mediation, reconciliation and compensation as adjudged necessary, are the favoured approaches. In at least some areas such as Rashad and Abu Jubeiha, women can become indirectly involved in deciding punishment for guilty parties.

Officialdom in the form of government officers or SPLM/A cadres can also be called upon if required, and in both GOS and SPLM/A-controlled areas the Mission was informed of an active approach to peace-building at grassroots levels by the GOS and the SPLM/A in their respective areas.

The Mission was also told of instances of conflict between displaced people and host communities, where the camps for the displaced are located at the margins of settled villages. In such circumstances access to agricultural can be limited for the displaced, and the women complain of harassment at village water points.

The most important factor is that the cease fire, as articulated in The Nuba Mountains Cease-fire Agreement be upheld. If the free movement of civilians and goods, including humanitarian assistance throughout the whole of Nuba Mountains can occur, the situation will turn around very quickly. However, it will be important to remember that for the people in the SPLM/A-controlled areas in particular there will need to be a time of confidence building, for them to believe in the peace. Only then will they feel safe enough to venture from their mountain top homes and back onto the fertile plains.

Conclusions: The mission identified the following needs for peace-building:

- A just and lasting peace to put an end to the civil war in the Sudan.

- A comprehensive programme of rehabilitation and development delivered in such a way as to encourage a stake in cooperation rather than conflict.

- The revival and nurturing of traditional mechanisms for conflict resolution at grass-roots levels.

- Small-scale tactical support for community-led peace-building initiatives, as required.

- Awareness-raising, particularly among women and children, of the dividends of peace.

- A package of confidence building measures to be identified.

8. Summary of Conclusions

It is very important that interventions fit into existing programmes and strategies as developed by local indigenous organisations and structures. The NRRDO, civil authorities and partner agencies in the SPLM/A-controlled areas for example have already developed a. three-year livelihood and human rights strategy and have done a very good job of mobilising communities, especially in the education sector. In the Government-controlled areas the governmental authorities and the South Kordofan Rural Development Programme should also be included in all aspects of planning and intervention.

It should also be emphasised that this report as mandated represents a rapid needs assessment over a relatively short period of less than two weeks on the ground. As such it represents just one of a range of primary and secondary source materials available to the technical personnel of implementing agencies in the development of relief and rehabilitation programmes and activities for the Nuba Mountains region. A list of some of those documents is at Annex G.

Below is a summary of the recommendations as presented in each section.

Education

- The promotion of the concept of basic education for boys and girls, particularly among communities such as the nomads which may not be aware of the value of education for children, and community mobilisation in support of education and literacy, including for adults.

- Rehabilitation and construction of school physical structures at both primary and secondary levels, including classrooms for children, administration buildings, accommodation for teachers, health including first aid clinics, sanitation and recreation facilities.

- More trained teachers and more specialised training for teachers, with adequate and timely payment of salaries and other emoluments.

- Adequate and appropriate equipment and furniture for both classrooms and school administration, to assist in the promotion of a more conducive learning environment for children.

- The availability of adequate quantities of textbooks and other education materials such as blackboards, chalk, and writing materials.

- Facilities for boarding and school feeding would greatly facilitate enrolment and retention of pupils, particularly by providing support for those who have or would have to travel considerable distances to attend school.

- Other assistance in some form to the poorest and most needy families to allay the costs of education, including school feeding, would also enhance enrolment and retention of pupils.

Health

Expand basic primary health care services and facilities by:

- The development of capacity for the training and as necessary re-training of health care workers, including nurses, mid-wives, and birth attendants.

- Rehabilitation and construction of appropriate health facilities, together with medical equipment and furniture, and the provision of adequate and regular supplies of essential drugs and medical kits.

- The promotion and implementation of EPI, including satisfactory organisational, logistical and cold chain support, and access to all areas for the polio campaign.

- The establishment and development of quality assurance mechanisms for the health care system.

- The widespread promotion of health and nutrition matters among the general public, including as appropriate through official news media channels and in local languages and dialects.

Nutrition

- Nutritional education for the public with emphasis on school children, pregnant women and IDP groups, and strengthening of capacity to recognise and assess malnutrition.

- Regular nutritional surveys and assessments to determine needs for specific interventions including for the hunger gap period, within the context of a nutritional surveillance system or systems for growth monitoring and promotion in and through health facilities.

- Ready availability of nutritional supplements such as vitamin A, iodine, iron and folic acid, and special foods such as Corn Soya Blend (CSB), particularly for vulnerable groups.

- Distributions of iodised salt in the SPLM/A-controlled areas and an investigation into whether or not the salt in Kordofan markets has been iodised.

Water and Sanitation

- A programme for household hygiene promotion with specific targeting of women and children as those likely to achieve behavioural changes, including the construction and use of house-hold and school latrines and understanding the importance to good health of safe potable water.

- Distributions of soap in the SPLM/A-controlled areas, until markets are fully accessible.

- A programme of rehabilitation of existing water yards and hand pump systems, and the development of sustainable maintenance regimes.

- A programme for the drilling of more boreholes and digging of wells, particularly in SPLM/A-controlled areas.

- The development and enhancement of capacities for water systems management by communities, including appropriately trained village personnel, hand pump mechanics.

- The ready provision of a sustainable supply of basic spare parts at affordable cost.

- The rehabilitation and construction of hafirs through either mechanical or manual means or both.

- The development of governmental service capacity to assist with the promotion and implementation of water and environmental sanitation, involving both trained manpower and appropriate equipment.

Agriculture and Food Security

- The revival of agricultural (including agro-forestry) and livestock extension services, to provide appropriate technical and capacity-building advice to farmers and pastoralists on matters such as land and crop rotation, the introduction of new crops, care of crops and livestock, fire protection of range and farmlands, fisheries, and basic food-processing.

- Provision of high quality field crop seed, fruit and vegetable seeds, including through the establishment and development of nurseries for the local production of seeds and seedlings.

- Ready availability of seeds and tools and other agricultural inputs as appropriate.

- Improved access to veterinary care including the training of animal health workers and livestock vaccine campaigns.

- Better access of primary producers to markets (including by road), micro-credit mechanisms, storage facilities for food and fuel, and technical advice.

- Support mechanisms to assist vulnerable communities in coping with the three to four month "hunger gap" prevailing in some areas, including through the establishment of community-operated grain banks and the provision of relief food as guided by the food security assessment of the Mission, and with minimum disruption to existing coping mechanisms.

- Particular support mechanisms to internally-displaced communities to assist their recovery, including through allocation of arable land, provision of seeds and tools, income-generating activities for women, and the provision of relief food as guided by the food security assessment of the Mission.

- The provision of relief food assistance to 470,538 beneficiaries as reflected in the attached table at Annex F, 303,538 persons in the GOS-controlled areas and 167,000 persons in the SPLM/A-controlled areas. (This represents about one-third of the estimated population of the region of 1.13 million.)

- Rehabilitation and construction of water conservation and usage facilities for farmers and pastoralists, including dams, reservoirs, water yards, bore-holes and wells.

- Efficient and reliable systems of early warning and emergency response.

Livelihoods and Local Structures

- Comprehensive rehabilitation and revival of social service support structures, as outlined elsewhere in this report.

- A comprehensive transport and communications network, including construction and rehabilitation of both arterial and feeder roads, bridges and causeways. Rehabilitation of the El Obeid/Kadugli arterial road is a priority.

- The creation of income-generating activities for women, for example through adult education, training in small business management, micro-credit facilities,

- Awareness-raising among communities of the dangers inherent in female genital mutilation, and a campaign of abolition of the practice.

- Mines action activities including survey, marking, mines awareness, training and de-mining.

- Support to local indigenous NGOs.

Peace Building

- A just and lasting peace to put an end to the civil war in the Sudan.

- A comprehensive programme of rehabilitation and development delivered in such a way as to encourage a stake in co-operation rather than conflict.

- The revival and nurturing of traditional mechanisms for conflict resolution at grass-roots levels.

- Small-scale tactical support for community-led peace-building initiatives, as required.

- Awareness-raising, particularly among women and children, of the dividends of peace.

- A package of confidence building measures to be identified.

ANNEX A. NEEDS ASSESSMENT MISSION TO THE NUBA MOUNTAINS
January 2002

1. Introduction

Based on the agreement by all parties to have continuous and unimpeded access to the Nuba Mountains region for the assessment of humanitarian relief and rehabilitation needs and the implementation of humanitarian assistance, the United Nations along with its partners will conduct a rapid needs assessment survey to identify the immediate and longer-term requirements of internally-displaced, war-affected and vulnerable communities in the region.

2. Background

Located mainly in South Kordofan State and partly in West Kordofan State, the Nuba Mountains cover an area of roughly 30,000 square miles. It has been a conflict zone between the GOS and the SPLM/A since 1985. The area has always been recognised as one of the richest and most fertile in the Sudan. It was previously a surplus food production area, and one of the few parts of the country not to be affected by the severe drought in 1984. Unfortunately, armed conflict over many years has led to an almost total breakdown of the local production system.

The conflict has resulted in widespread population displacement, serious reductions in agricultural and livestock production, lack of income generating activities and severe restriction of access for the provision of humanitarian assistance. As such, the prolonged war has eroded people's capacity to maintain their livelihood support systems. Access to traditional sources of food has considerably diminished. Pastoral practices which were an integral part of the livelihood system have been severely undermined and access to farming land significantly restricted. The increasing vulnerability that this has created is reinforced by the decline in the extent and quality of social service infrastructure.

3. Purpose of the Mission

A UN-led assessment mission will visit areas of the Nuba Mountains controlled by both the Government of the Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), with the following objectives:

- to update the needs of internally-displaced, war-affected and vulnerable communities;

- to determine the nature of humanitarian assistance necessary to respond to the identified needs;

- to identify the potential contribution of humanitarian assistance to peace building; and,

- to assess the current infrastructure in all sectors, including trained personnel and determine the modalities for the provision of humanitarian assistance.

- To explore with civil society and community leaders the feasibility and modalities of a sustained presence in the area.

The mission will offer recommendations for short-term emergency humanitarian assistance to prevent further deterioration, and for medium to longer-term relief and rehabilitation programmes and activities.

4. Scope of the Mission

The mission will undertake extensive examinations of the needs of:

  • Food production: agriculture and livestock support

  • Basic social services and infrastructure: health, nutrition, public awareness on HIV/AIDS, education, water and sanitation

  • Income generation

  • Capacity building and promotion of gender equality


5. Composition, Timing and Duration of the Mission

The mission will divide into two teams, one for the areas controlled by the GOS and the other for the areas controlled by the SPLM/A. Each team will be multi-disciplinary in nature and composition. It is envisaged that, depending on prior UN security assessments as necessary, the needs assessment for GOS-controlled areas will begin from 2 January 2002 and that for SPLM/A areas from 8 January 2002. Each team will spend up to six days in the field. A final combined report should be ready by 21 January 2002.

6. Food Security Assessment:

Objectives of Food Needs Assessment

The purpose of the assessment is to identify food needs in the Nuba Mountains. The assessment will particularly:

- Identify the current levels of vulnerability of populations, and the impact on food security in the region.

- Identify the most vulnerable groups, internally-displaced, war-affected, women, elderly and children in the society, and determine the numbers affected.

- Identify opportunities in terms of land, labour, etc.

- Identify and estimate the quantity and duration of emergency food aid required to stabilise and sustain populations in 2002.

- Assess regional market trends and impact on the food security situation.

- Determine the appropriate modalities of emergency intervention, including long-term assistance through Food For Work, Food For Training, School Feeding and other micro-projects.

- Evaluate accessibility, modes of transportation, storage facilities and capacities, and other logistics capacities for future emergency operations.

Terms of Reference (TOR) of the assessment teams

- Examine the current year crop seasons and other source of income.

- Identify areas where there may be a major decline in food security.

- Assess food availability and accessibility.

- Identify the main causes of the problems, if any.

- Examine the extent to which people are able to cope with decline in food security situation.

- Gather evidences that food shortages are already occurring, e.g. signs of malnutrition.

- Determine the numbers of people needing food assistance and the duration of any interventions; assess the food gap (when & duration).

- Identify the surplus/deficit areas of production.

- Identify the active NGOs on ground and their lines of intervention.

Methods of Assessment

Taking into account the different types of needs assessment techniques, a rapid assessment will be conducted at selected locations in the region, using appropriate methods adapted to local conditions, such as:

  • Checklists
  • Discussions with local officials (State, Province, Local Council, Village Council levels)
  • Discussions with communities, households; especially to female headed-households
  • Discussions with women
  • Observation through village walks and physical inspection of crops, livestock, markets and people.


7. Health and Nutrition

- Updating population base (county) with specific breakdowns (infants, children under 5 years)

- Analysis of Safe Motherhood Survey (SMS 1999 ) and Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey (MICS 2000) in the region

- Available PHCU/PHCC and population estimates served from each

- Hospital and Population coverage

- Community/group access to health facilities

- Distances to nearest health centres

- Establishing main causes of morbidity and mortality

- Prevalence of specific diseases

- Level of coverage of existing health facilities

- Conditions of existing health infrastructure including staffing, equipment, access to essential drugs and medical supplies

- Level of support provided by referral centres including supervision and training

- Degree of involvement of local community in health management

- Community involvement in health management

- Coordination mechanisms

- Importance and role of traditional healers and the private sector

- Assessment of pregnancy, delivery and post-partum care

- Post-abortion services and counselling

- Care of new born babies

- Availability of emergency obstetrics services

- Prevalence of gender-based violence

- Awareness of HIV/AIDS

- Health personnel

  • Detailed information on, and comparison with, population
  • Number of doctors per county
  • Number of CHWs per available health unit
  • Number of TBAs/ midwives
  • Other health related personnel

- Supplies
  • Identifying level of requirements for essential drugs
  • Determing needs for basic health care kits including ORS
  • Quantifying on basis of population coverage
  • Quantifying needs for soap and other sanitation requirements

- EPI
  • Determining coverage requirement
  • Determining availability and functionality of cold chain equipment

- Nutrition
  • Collect and analyse health-centre based data to determine disease patterns and identification of major nutrition or diarrhoea or infection related cases, among adults and children

  • Rapid assessment of malnutrition in selected villages/IDP camps using MUAC

  • Assessment of dietary intake patterns amongst household members and identification of protein energy malnutrition and vulnerable groups

  • Assessment of micronutrient deficiency diseases, vitamin A, goitre, anaemia and beriberi and scurvy

  • Assessment of food taboos and other harmful traditional practices affecting child and maternal nutrition/health, breast feeding practices, weaning foods and feeding practices among under five children

  • Determining requirements of nutritional supplementation including supplementary and therapeutic feeding, Vitamin A, iodised salt, iron

  • Determining TBA and MCH activities and linkage with health/nutrition activities


8. Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES)

- Assess the current water and sanitation situation and propose necessary interventions

  • Inventory of water sources and related infrastructure
  • Identification of livestock watering sources
  • Determining number of functioning and non-functioning sources
  • Identification of populations served by functioning sources, average walking distances to sources and conditions, etc
  • Determining the perenniality or periodicity of sources
  • Investigating water quality
  • Investigating alternative water sources
  • Determining problems of non-functioning water sources
  • Sanitation status - number of households with latrines, alternative excreta and solid waste disposal methods
  • Home and personal hygiene-water storage for drinking, cooking and washing
  • Identification of common illnesses with a view to determining whether they are waterborne/related or filth related or both
  • Assessment of staff capacity/manpower and equipment needed to improve WES situation
  • Community involvement and participation/inputs
  • Identification of contribution of WES to conflict reduction


9. Education

- Number of functioning schools available with adequate teaching supplies/teachers compared with total

- Number and qualification of teachers available

- School attendance (desegregated by gender and age)

- Content of school curriculum

- Adult literacy rate (desegregated for men and women)

- Identification of possibilities for school feeding programmes

10. Livelihood System Analysis (all issues desegregated by gender)

- Inventory of main and secondary livelihood sources

- Access to land including disparities

- Land tenure issues

- Patterns of internal migration, level of distress coping strategies

- Availability and accessibility and type of credit sources

11. Social structures

- Presence, size and level of organisation and gender desegregation of civil structures

- Interaction with local authorities

- Number of female headed households and their status in the society (marginalized or not?)

- Role of women in civil society

12. Protection

- Assess number of cases of involuntary separated children (and those special needs, e.g. disabled etc) and local provision made for their care and if voluntary separation (i.e. sent away to school, away from conflict) is a problem.

- Assess if children a recruited (or sent by families) in to military forces

- Assess the level of awareness of child rights/human rights and identify any major abuses.

- Are there reports of abductions and if so is this systematic and carried out by whom? Are there possible reunification mechanisms in local society that are/can be used?

ANNEX B. List of Organisations

CARE
Dawa NGO
Direct Aid
El Bir International
FAO
GHF
GOS
GOS/K
Guinea Worm
IARA
IRC
IRW
SCF/USA
SRC
Trachoma
UNDP
UNFPA
UNFPA/GOS
UNFSO
UNICEF
UN-OCHA
USAID
WFP
4

ANNEX C. Composition of Mission


For GOS Controlled-areas
Name
Agency
Sector
Arafa Rayah
CARE
Water/Sanitation
Kamal Awad
CARE
Food security/Education
Yacoub Ibrahim
Dawa NGO
Education
Ahmad Sabah Elkheir
Direct Aid
Education
Tijani Omar
El Bir International
Health/Education
Dr Adam Salih
FAO
Livestock
George Okech
FAO
Food security
Hayat Ahmed
FAO
Food security
Mohamoud Hussein
FAO
Food security
Mouad Hussein
GHF
Health
Adil Mohamoud Siraj
GOS
All sectors
Badr Eldin Abdalla
GOS
All sectors
Bakri Khadir
GOS
All sectors
Dr Ismael Mohamed
GOS
All sectors
Juma'a Abdul
GOS
All sectors
Adam Jarout
GOS/K
Multi
Khalifa Ahmed
GOS/K
Multi
Mekki El Tijani
GOS/K
Multi
Mohamed El Hassan
GOS/K
Multi
Abdelgadir Elsid
Guinea Worm
Multi
Ayman ElSheikh
Guinea Worm
Health
Fowzi M.Omar
IARA
Health
Abdul Moneim
IRC
Health
Agnes Comfort
IRC
Food security
Eisa Mohamed
IRC
Water/Sanitation
Essam Mohamed
IRW
Health
Azzam Hassan
SCF/USA
Health
El Sadig El Nour
SCF/USA
Health
Hassan Osman
SCF/USA
Food security
Ibrahim Mekki
SCF/USA
Water/Sanitation
Osama Merghani
SCF/USA
Health
Seifaldin Abdel
SCF/USA
Food security
Ahmed El Amin
SRC
Food security
Mirekh Eldow
SRC
Food security
Makkawi Mohamed
Trachoma
Health
Abdelrahman
UNFPA
Health
Dr Albashier Altayeb
UNFPA
Health
Dr Mervat Fouad
UNFPA
Health
Valeri Di Mateo
UNFPA
Health
Dr Sayed Gotb
UNFPA/GOS
Health
Devendra Patel
UNFSO
FSO
Gamal Moustafa
UNFSO
FSA
Ramadan Musa
UNFSO
FSA
Richard Jansen
UNFSO
FSO
Angela Kearney
UNICEF
All sectors except food
Mohamed Ibrahim
UNICEF
All sectors except food
Saeed Awadalla
UNICEF
All sectors except food
Samson Wassara
UNICEF
All sectors except food
Maxwell Gaylard
UNOCHA
All sectors
Margaret Manoa
UN-OCHA
Watsan/Education
Abdirahman Hamid
USAID
Food security
Dr Haidar Abu
USAID
Health
Ibrahim El Dikhiri
WFP
Food security
Ali Adam
WFP
Food security
Amina Thabo
WFP
Food security
Anwar Muhideen
WFP
Food security
Ayad Naman
WFP
Food security
Bi Chandra Mandal
WFP
Food security
Evans Loui
WFP
Food security
Haile G. Salassie
WFP
Food security
Louise Sowe
WFP
Food security
Michael Majok
WFP
Food security
Mohamed A. Omar
WFP
Food security
Mohamed Basheir
WFP
Food security
Mohamed Maruf Eslam
WFP
Food security
Nadia Hamid
WFP
Food security
Sami Yacoub
WFP
Food security
Tarek Elguindi
WFP
Food security
Moayyad Hamidi
WFP
Food security
Theresa Loro
WFP
Food security

For SPLM Controlled-areas
Name
Agency
Sector
Pius Ewoton
UNICEF
Education
Josephine Ippe
UNICEF
Nutrition & Health
Ted Maly
USAID
All sectors
Jason Matus
USAID
All sectors
George Nzomo
WFP
Food security
George Okech
FAO
Livestock
Pisper Omondi
WFP
Food security
Patrick Wahthome
OXFAM
Water & Sanitation
Joanna Wedge
SCF-UK
Protection
Ann Witteveen
WFP
Team Leader
Royston Wright
UNFSO
FSO

View Maps of Annex D and Annex E

ANNEX D(Sketch Map of the Nuba Mountains Region)
ANNEX E(Sketch Map of Feeder Roads)

in pdf* format

ANNEX G. List of Additional Documentation

- Consolidated Interagency Appeal 2000

- Consolidated Interagency Appeal 2001

- Consolidated Interagency Appeal 2002

- Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) 2000

- Nuba Mission Report WFP Southern Sector December 2001

- Nuba Mountains Needs Assessment/Situation Analysis - 2002

  • Social Sector, Human Rights and Peace Building
  • Agricultural Production and Food Security

- Nuba Mountains Programme Document - Office of the United Nations Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator

- Report of the Interagency Assessment Mission September - October 1999

- South Kordofan Rural Development Programme - Appraisal Report on Economic, administrative and Social Characteristics - Annex I

- South Kordofan Rural Development Programme - Appraisal Report on Rural Infrastructure - Annex VII

- South Kordofan Rural Development Programme July 2001 - Implementation Manual on the International Fund for Agricultural Development

- UNOCHA Update on IDPs Influx in South Kordofan State - January 2002

Footnotes:

1 In 1999 there were 82 schools. Otherwise the education situation was broadly similar.

2 In 2000, a school in Fog (near Kauda) was bombed killing 17 children.

3 One feddan = .42 hectares

4 12 personnel from the NRRDO accompanied the mission to SPLM/A controlled-areas

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