The problem: Humanitarian needs in Sudan continue to be driven by a cycle of conflict, displacement and vulnerability. The conflict between north and south Sudan, which continued for almost four decades before being resolved, left behind several open wounds and scars. The Darfur crisis has now entered into its 11th year with no resolution between the conflicting parties rather has now entered into several inter-tribal feuds. The so called Three Protocol areas; (South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyie) where the temporary peace only lasted for less than seven years following the 2005 CPA; again went into a major conflict that resulted in mass displacement. The cessation of the Republic of South Sudan in 2011 has resulted in exodus of millions of people from Sudan to South Sudan and hundreds of thousands from South Sudan to Sudan.
The brunt of these historical and recurrent crises in Sudan was on the children, hundreds and thousands of children faced an increased risk of disease, malnutrition, gender-based violence, exploitation and a wide range of other violations. Tens of thousands of children became separated from their families and caregivers and have had limited access to basic social services and left enormous emotional impact on children. Several schools have been closed or remain inaccessible, leaving children without structure in their daily lives. Several children, particularly in active conflict areas like Darfur, Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Abyei, have been abducted or coerced into joining armed forces or groups.
On the other side, the development context/ non – emergency settings, challenges remain mostly around the legislations and policies related to children rights that need to be further strengthened.
What we do
Family tracing and reunification (FTR)
Save the Children (SC) Sudan CO has an established programming in FTR through its operating sites and in almost all conflict zones. Along with key partners like Uncief, community based networks and relevant line ministries and departments FTR is the first intervention that we launch at the offset of any crises. For instance, following the referendum of South Sudan in 2011, a joint family tracing and reunification programme was initiated by Save the Children in close collaboration from other members of Sudan’s child protection sub-cluster. The joint program was initiated to identify, document, trace and reunify unaccompanied and separated children between Sudan and South Sudan as cross border program. Save the Children has continued its programming in all conflict zoines across Sudan and together with our partners including the government, United Nations agencies, and national organizations we are ensuring that children are re-united with their families during any displacement caused by a disaster or a crises.
Children associated with armed forces/groups (CAAF/G)
Save the Children in Sudan continue to put priority on dealing with issues related to CAAF/G in its overall programming under CPiE and imparts both the preventive and responsive strategies to CAAF/G. The prevention interventions focus on raising awareness at family, community and school levels through public information campaigns targeting individuals and groups across all stakeholders. In the response part, SC intervenes through addressing the root causes of recruitment by providing economic opportunities as well as meeting the specific needs of those who are vulnerable to recruitment.
Community – based child protection network (CBCPNs)
Save the Children based on its regional and global experience has adopted evidenced based strategies and programmes to identify, prevent abuse, and restore living conditions for children affected by conflict in Sudan. One of the principal interventions is building on existing community structures, by mobilizing community members among the affected population and create protection monitoring, response and referral mechanisms at the community. These structures are playing significant roles in the process of identifying and responding to child protection concerns. They are involved in raising awareness about child protection issues, particularly prevention of family separation and recruitment into armed forces/groups, landmine awareness, prevention and response to abuse related to gender-based violence, exploitation etc. The CBCPNs take cases of abuse, exploitation or violence to appropriate authorities or facilitate a local solution. They also provide information about where people should go if they have concerns about a child’s well-being; disseminate information to children and others; work as pressure groups for the appropriate implementation of laws and for improved service delivery by the government.
Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs)
One of the tested and successful interventions during any conflict or disaster is to provide safe environment to children to tackle their psychosocial, physical and educational needs. The child – friendly space help the children to return to their normal life, socialize and begin to recover during crises. It also enables the parents to have time to be engaged in building back their lives. Save the Children in Sudan has successfully established CFSs in all crises affected areas and have provided the conflict affected children a chance to be secure, grow and be able to access to the basic needs. In Sudan CFs are established in conjunction with other basic service interventions and thus providing a comprehensive care to children as required.
Mine Risk Education (MRE)
Unfortunately almost all of Sudan’s conflicted affected areas are also hugely affected further by the use of landmines and presence of UXOs (unexploded ordinances). In this regard Save the Children implements Mine Risk education in schools, Child Friendly Spaces (CFS’s) and Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers. The community – bases child protection networks (CBCPNs) and children clubs are also actively disseminating messages on the risk of land mines and UXOs.
National Child Protection System
Whilst working on Child Protection in Emergencies, Save the Children’s Child Protection team puts equal emphasis on establishing and strengthening systems at the National and State level to support the policy, legislation and execution environment to ensure fulfilment of children’s rights in Sudan. The current national legal frame work is not adequate to address children rights’ issues, physical and humiliating punishment remains a common practice in schools and homes, with no legal venue in place to protect victims. Children with disabilities are even more vulnerable to physical, psychological and other forms of cruel or degrading punishment. Save the Children employs dedicated resources and expertizes in partnership with national civil society organizations to strengthen the national child protection system and the legal frame work– policies and legislations. This is done through building the capacity of the government and the national organizations aimed at improving protection from physical and humiliating punishment in all settings, identifying harmful cultural practices and inappropriate care and providing appropriate alternatives.
In 2013, the child protection programme directly reached 969,000 people, of which children are 551,974, and reached approximately 5,025670 people indirectly, of which 3,318,931 are children.