Welcome to the second
issue of the Recovery and Rehabilitation Programme E-Bulletin. This monthly
newsletter aims to highlight project successes while keeping development
partners updated on RRP news.
farmers and members of the ADA take a rest after their morning work
The RRP is a five-year initiative (2005-2010), including
four years of implementation. The largest and most comprehensive recovery
programme in Sudan, the RRP is managed by UNDP on behalf of the Government
of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan with funding of
€ 55.8 million; €
49.75 million of which comes from the European Commission,
and € 1.5 million from the Government of Norway. A
total of 44 national and international NGOs are working together in 10
states across the country (Blue Nile, Abyei, River Nile, Red Sea, South
Kordofan, Northern Upper Nile, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Warrap
and Northern Bahr Al-Ghazal)
concentrating on institutional strengthening, improving livelihoods and
This issue will focus on RRP projects in Red Sea State; where the harsh
desert climate and isolation of many of these communities can make projects
difficult. But despite the challenges faced, these tight knit communities
have demonstrated remarkable results.
Part of the Red Sea State consortium’s success is because of the
excellent coordination at the community level. Before the RRP began in
this state, communities had already formed the Arbaat Development Association
(ADA), a local organization that intended to address the region’s
development needs; but meetings and activities were sporadic and poorly
However, with the encouragement and logistical support of the RRP the
group became more active and now meets once a month in Port Sudan to discuss
issues and make decisions that affect development of Red Sea State.
These communities have traditionally depended on agriculture and fisheries
to sustain themselves; but even with the right skills and strong desire
to work, their income was limited. This was due to a lack of resources
needed to pay for start-up material such as water pumps for farms and
boats for fishermen. Because of the provision of these supplies by the
RRP, many families are now earning more than they ever have before.
The fishermen and farmers in Arbaat have not only started successful business
initiatives, they have organized themselves into groups that produce and
market their goods collectively. The profits made from the fish and vegetables
are distributed equally among those who participate in the projects.
This concept of community ownership is exactly what the programme strives
to encourage; and proves that real recovery comes from community based,
sustainable solutions – the kind that RRP partners are implementing
not only in Red Sea State but across Sudan.
Reel in Shared Profit
prepare for a trip out to sea in Dungonab
“You can always
tell when you are getting near the sea, says 50-year old Ali Abu Ali.
“The air feels different; cooler against your skin.”
Ali and most of the men in his village have been fishing most of their
lives. For them, fishing is more than a job, it is a way of life; a topic
that finds its way into almost every conversation and an activity that
sustains themselves and their families.
For years in this poor, rural region of Arbaat in Eastern Sudan, the men
had no proper equipment to fish. They spent their days walking to the
shore of the Red Sea and renting very small wooden boats so that they
could fish in the shallow coastal waters.
“We would carry the fish we caught slung over our shoulders, and
walk from the sea back to the road, a distance of about 3 km,” says
The men would then wait by the side of the road for a ride. Sometimes
the fish would spoil and they would return home empty handed.
But today their hands are full. In the bustling fish market of Port Sudan,
Ali and his cohorts sit behind plentiful baskets of fresh, varied fish
caught deep in the Red Sea.
They have just returned from a week long fishing trip in one of the three
motorized fiberglass boats provided by the Recovery and Rehabilitation
Programme. Ali points to dozens of different types of large, colorful
fish on display for local hotel and restaurant owners to buy.
“These are fish that can only be found in the deep sea,” says
Ali. “Before the small wooden boats we rented weren’t strong
enough to travel in the waves, but with the RRP boats we are able to go
out to sea for days at a time”
And with the three ice boxes also provided by the RRP, the fishermen are
now able to keep the fish fresh for up to one week. This means they can
store the fish until they are ready to sell at the market, which is a
great advantage, explains Ohaj Ahmed Eimali, of SOS Sahel-one of the RRP
partners in Red Sea.
The Arbaat fishing project is truly community-owned, with 105 families
benefiting from just three boats. Here is how it works: there are three
groups of 35 fishermen; and each group has one boat. Each group is split
into five smaller groups and these teams have a rotating schedule for
going out to sea. Every time a group comes back from sea, the fish are
sold at the local market and the profits spilt between all 35 members.
“The boats and boxes from the RRP changed so much – Now we
can travel three to four hours out into the deep sea to fish,” says
30-year -old Serie Abu Ali. "We can catch all kinds of fish that
we didn’t have access to in the coastal waters. On a seven day trip
we can catch 800 kgs of fish and then sell them for 8 SDG a kg,”
he explains as he skins fish on the rocky seashore.
Ali and the other fishermen will cook it over an open fire and sleep on
the beach before getting up at the break of dawn to take the boats out
It’s a simple life; and requires a simple formula for success: “We
catch more fish, we make more money,” says Ali.
Community Farms Cultivate Food and Financial Success
Women farmers take care of their successful crops in Arbaat
As the sun rises and
the smell of ginger-infused coffee fills the air, women emerge from their
homes and head to a lush green field of abusabean, a crop used as cattle
feed. It grows easily and abundantly in Sudan; provided there is enough
Dressed in vibrant
colors of fuchsia, orange and yellow; adorned with ornate nose rings and
bracelets, these women carry hoes and machetes. They begin chopping stalks,
sifting soil, and carrying large bundles of green leaves. Soon after,
the roar of a generator can be heard and water begins to flow.
This is one of the
37 community farms made possible through the generators and water pumps
provided by the Recovery and Rehabilitation Programme here in Red Sea
State; and it is owned and maintained solely by women. These 15 ladies
farmed this land in previous years, but their crops were extremely limited
due to a lack of water.
land was dry. We grew only enough to feed the community,” says 43-year-old
Aicha. “After the RRP installed the water system we are able to
have a business; we not only have food to eat but extra money to buy things
like furniture for our homes.”
The main crop cultivated
by the women is abusabean; but many of the other community farms here
are growing vegetables; and yielding excellent results. Members work on
the farms every morning and every evening; and transport the vegetables
to the markets in Port Sudan, Atbara and sometimes even Khartoum.
about the Arbaat vegetables,” says one of the vegetable sellers
in the Port Sudan market. “They are grown without pesticides and
are fresh and assorted. Really, they are the most popular vegetables here
and there is a high demand.”
is being met because of the dedication of community members like Aicha
and her partners.
“I am encouraged
to work hard and make money so that my son can have a better life,”
she says as she stands next to her farm's water pump. “Already since
the project began I am able to buy him clothes and books that he didn’t
RRP News from the Last Quarter:
The River Nile consortium held a week long literacy training course in
Khartoum for members of national NGOs working in River Nile. The course
focused on reading and writing and also provided computer training. A
formal graduation ceremony was held at the Green Village hotel in celebration
of their acheivements.
- On May 9, RRP was highlighted in a display of photos and success stories
at the European Commission in Khartoum. The event was in celebration of
Europe Day; and despite the haboob, all in attendance had a good time.
This was an excellent opportunity for invitees to learn more about the
- The community-based fishing and farming projects in Red Sea State were
covered by Al Jazeera News. The success stories are due to air in the
next few weeks.