Poverty Alleviation – oriented Governance Project in Red Sea State

Fast Facts:
• Project Document
Location: Eastern Sudan
Duration: 2005 - December 2009
Focus area: Democratic Governance
Contributions(USD): DEN: 490,411
NET: 1,022,896.90
DFID: 137,630.18
Partners: Red Sea State Ministry of Finance and Economy, Directorate of Planning and International Cooperation
Delivery(USD): 2009: 546,163
2008: 753,108.59
2007: 1,033,392.08
Contact person in UNDP: Amanda Serumaga,
Head of Governance and Rule of Law Unit
Eastern Sudan, a vast sun-blasted land of some 300,000 square kilometers, is home to an estimated three to four million of Sudan’s poorest people. The region is made up of three states: Red Sea, Gadaref and Kassala. In each of these states the living conditions are so harsh that the local population has been facing acute poverty, persistent drought and famine, a lack of adequate access to healthcare and education, high levels of unemployment, in addition to land degradation and shrinking pasture areas, for a very long time.

According to several sources, the Red Sea State has one of the lowest socio-economic indicators in the entire country. The state is one of the most highly populated in the country with 725,000 people residing in it. Nearly half of the state’s population lives in Port Sudan city making the urban unemployment rate exceptionally high. In 2005, the under-five mortality rate was almost double the national average. In addition, one-in-three children and almost a quarter of the women are malnourished. Only one-in-three households has access to drinking water; a rate much lower than Darfur’s. Illiteracy is particularly high, especially in the rural areas.

It is such poverty, coupled with successive government policies, which has undermined the livelihoods of the people in the state. This state of affairs led to a low-intensity conflict which continued for eleven years and was ultimately settled with the signing of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA), in October 2006, between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front. The Agreement led to the establishment of a three-year Development Fund for the region, with a total of US$600 million. While the signing of the Peace Agreement does offer an opportunity to tackle severe poverty in the Red Sea State, several challenges still need to be addressed.

In 2005, in an attempt to contribute to alleviating poverty in this State, with the initial support of the Government of Netherlands and later the Government of Denmark, UNDP launched the Poverty Alleviation-oriented Governance in the Red Sea State project. To address the development priorities in the State, this project was developed in consultation with the state Ministry of Finance and National Economy (MoFNE), local authorities, relevant government bodies, and civil society organizations in the State.

The project’s main objective is to create an institutional, social and economic environment conducive to poverty reduction in the Red Sea State over a period of four years, through innovative pilot actions and constructive partnerships.
To this end, the project’s specific objectives are:
• To strengthen the capacity of the State administration at all levels in designing and implementing pro-poor strategies and ensuring sound development resources management.
• To enable the private sector, civil society, grassroots organizations and the poor to play a proactive role in the development process.
• To improve the capacity of the state in performing its overall role of participatory policy-making, regulation and coordination and in managing pro-poor/development policies.
• To strengthen the capacity of local government for poverty reduction and good governance.
• To improve the capacity of civil society organizations, communities (women and men) and the private sector to play a pivotal role in poverty reduction, participatory development and peace-building.

Snapshots of the project's major achievements
Poverty-reduction initiatives addressing livelihood needs are a strategic entry point for community mobilization, for sustainable peace. The following are some preliminary results for pilot initiatives:
• In partnership with LGA the project assessed the development needs of communities, and establish their own Village Development Committees.
• Trained 450 men and women in the State on planning business/investments, management of small-scale enterprises, revolving funds management, bookkeeping, accounting and food processing
• Supported 150 families in Sinkat and Haiya localities , with agriculture seeds and tools , 135 in Derodieb with goats and cows, 53 families in Halaib and Swakin with fishery equipments , that have increase their production capacity and family income level.
•Support IDP women with Provision of literacy classes and IGAs . As a result, of that an IDPs women’s group established a shop in Kilo Talata village in Haya Locality and they were able to sustain the shop.
• Addressing unemployment of youth the project in partnership with state authorities, through vocational training , 100 young men and women trained in mechanics, electronics, driving, carpentry and welding, and 150 in small enterprises management 70% of whom have since secured jobs.
•To start the capacity building process for State for planning and managing resources, oriented approximately 70 government officials on strategic planning, performance budgeting and the consultation process for strategic planning. In addition a visit to Yemen is arranged and funded for 10 community leaders and state and localities’ officials, to learn more about the Local Development Fund mechanisms and resource mobilization and management.
• The State capacity building for planning component of the Project was revised in 2006 and the activities redesigned with the technical and financial assistance from the Government of Denmark.
• Organization review workshops, targeting 136 state officials responsible for planning and budgeting.
• Submitted an action plan for reforms in budget process to the Red Sea State Government for discussion and approval.
• Training of 10 state government staff in budget execution, gender budgeting and financial management systems , GFS and basic Information and technology use.
• Organized a study tour to Uganda and South Africa for 12 state government officials including the General Director of the Ministry of Finance, the Executive Director of Swakin Locality and the Director of Development Department. The tour helped the state governments to learn from theses countries' best practices in implementing public expenditure
• Conducted series of workshops on strategic planning for 35 senior planers, and 45 at locality levels in the strategic planning
• Establishment of 10 Planning and Information Units the ten localities in Red Sea State
• Training of Planning and Information Units' staff in project cycle management and participatory
• To identify the civil society organizations that are working in Red Sea State and assess their ability to engage in livelihood interventions, the project commissioned a civil society mapping study that has been successfully completed
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