© WFP/Muhammad Salah
Affected by climatic shocks which contribute to inconsistent agricultural production as well as by high rates of malnutrition, protracted conflict in some locations and persistent economic challenges, Sudan remains low in the Human Development Index, ranking 168 out of 189 countries.
Throughout 2019, the country’s economic crisis underpinned waves of political unrest, leading to the fall of former President Omar Al-Bashir after three decades in power. The signing of the Political and Constitutional Agreements soon after his demise has left a more positive outlook for a longer-term solution between civilian and military groups.
The ongoing economic crisis continues to affect the living conditions of millions, and is pushing more and more people into poverty. As of September 2019, there are 8.5 million people identified as in need of humanitarian assistance – up from 5.7 million in January of the same year.
Inflationary pressures have had a deep impact on the level of food insecurity. Recorded at 3.8 million at the onset of the economic crisis in November 2017, the number of food insecure people has reached to 5.8 million.
Human capital is also a challenge, 2.4 million children suffering from acute malnutrition. The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing its traditional response through ready-to-use supplementary foods, along with more innovative solutions to tackle vitamin and mineral deficiencies. In 2018, WFP successfully launched its retail-owned brand VITAMINO, tackling urban-based malnutrition along with its hallmark free emergency distributions to vulnerable groups.
Sudan remains a protracted emergency, following the conflict in Darfur over a decade ago. Currently 2.5 million people remain internally displaced and with little resources and sustainable solutions to rebuild their lives. Additionally, Sudan is hosting up to 1 million refugees from neighbouring countries, mainly South Sudan.
WFP has been present in Sudan since 1963. In 2019, the organization is planning to serve up to 4.4 million people across the country through a range of food, cash and nutrition interventions, as well as resilience activities to help populations withstand climatic shocks and conflict-related issues. WFP Sudan faces a funding shortfall of US$29 million for the next six months (December 2019 – May 2020).
What WFP is doing in Sudan
Food assistanceWFP provides food assistance to vulnerable refugees, internally displaced people, returnees and shock-affected resident communities, gradually shifting towards a combination of food, cash or vouchers to provide more freedom and choice. Through Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) programmes, communities receive food, vouchers or cash in return for participating in activities to preserve natural resources, support economic activities or improve community services and infrastructure.
School feedingTargeting food-insecure children in rural and conflict-affected areas where access to food is limited, WFP provides hot school meals to encourage attendance and concentration. To enhance female participation in targeted areas across Eastern Sudan, WFP has been providing additional take-home rations to girl students. Starting in 2019, take-home e-vouchers are expected to replace rations for the families of girls, who also receive education on dietary diversity.
Food Systems and Safety netsTo enhance the self-reliance of vulnerable communities, WFP is scaling up Post Harvest Loss programmes – which enable small-holder farmers to keep most of the food they grow through the introduction of hermetic bags – and working alongside the Government to strengthen its safety nets system. This includes providing alternative sources of income during periods of instability through cash payments, thus helping vulnerable communities meet basic food security needs.
NutritionWFP aims to prevent and treat acute malnutrition in emergency and recovery situations, reduce stunting and prevent mineral and vitamin deficiencies through nutrition-specific interventions. In collaboration with the private sector, WFP successfully launched VITAMINO, a micronutrient product to tackle malnutrition, distributed free of charge to internally displaced persons, refugees and vulnerable residents, and sold through retail outlets to reach urban populations. WFP also supports national food fortification efforts, advocating for the development of relevant legislation and standards, and promoting consumption of fortified foods.