From 2011 to today, Sudan’s South Kordofan state remains an area in conflict. Rebel groups and government forces clashed regularly before the formation of South Sudan, and sporadic outbreaks of violence continue.
As a result, livelihoods continue to be disrupted and more than 110,000 people became internally displaced in the state — around 10 percent of the population.
Hailing from South Kordofan, mother of five Hawa Mohammed Elfadil is one of the 1.8 million internally displaced people in Sudan.
Until recently, Hawa’s income came from picking and selling wild fruit in the local market, which barely covered her family’s daily expenses.
One of 2,800 people participating in a UNDP-supported agricultural training for conflict-affected displaced persons in South Kordofan, Hawa’s situation has changed dramatically for the better. She is now a farmer and produce retailer.
“I’m happy, profit from the farm is about SDG 5000 (US$90) over the season,” Hawa says.
“This allowed me to cover the basic needs of my family and the school fees for my five kids, my capital has increased, this will also help me to expand my trading to gain more money.”
Hawa was trained in covered land preparation, sowing, weeding, crops-harvesting, packing, storage, and marketing. Capitalizing on the opportunity, UNDP also provided conflict resolution and natural resource management training, while the Ministry of Agriculture provides on-going farming advice and technical support throughout the seasons.
Equipped with the knowledge, farming equipment and seeds, Hawa not only became a farmer she now represents a mixed group of host and displaced community farmers, collectively selling their produce at the local market.
“I was able to obtain the trust of the farmers,” she says, “selling their harvested vegetables in Abu Jubaiha market: okra, radish, cucumbers and hot peppers.”
Utilizing the training she received, Hawa plans to continue marketing and selling the collective farm produce and reinvest her profits to expand her business.
“I will use part of it for rearing of animals like sheep and goats,” she says, “the milk produced will be used to feed my children, keeping them healthy, the animals will breed and will help me bring in more income. If there’s any crop failure I will sell some of my animals to meet my family’s needs and support my children to complete their education.”
Since 2015 UNDP has supported more than 11,500 internally displaced people in South Kordofan, some 60 percent of them are women.
Twelve Community Management Committees have been established in the state. They lead local development and pave the way for improved community relations.
Hawa’s local committee assistance was a key element for her success.
In agriculture projects and others, the committees play a crucial role in managing equipment, purchasing extra supplies, coordinating training, and directing a portion of income to local initiatives. In the case of Hawa’s village, it is maintaining a health clinic at the local school.
But, regardless of support, it was clear an entrepreneur like Hawa, one of many internally displaced persons supported through agriculture training in South Kordofan and elsewhere, simply needed an opportunity. Given one, people can thrive and build successful relationships with host communities.
UNDP’s work in South Kordofan is part of its Community Security and Stabilization Programme (C2SP), which supports communities and people most impacted by, or at risk of becoming involved, in conflict. Operating in six states, C2SP has supported thousands of people in Sudan with livelihood development, peacebuilding, and community stabilization. Its activities are made possible by generous support from Japan, the United Kingdom, the Governments of Italy and Spain, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). C2SP’s work forms part of UNDP’s broader stabilization and livelihood efforts in Sudan, with hundreds of thousands of people assisted in Sudan in the last five years for resilient communities.
Photos by UNDP Sudan/Ala Eldin Abdallah