Results and evaluation of the programme in Sudan

Projects carried out in 2007 strengthened local community groups and helped establish child protection committees in eight different communities. The level of domestic violence decreased; the community, adults, youth and children treat each other with more respect; safe play areas were created for children; information was disseminated about child protection; discussions were held at schools and with parents about excessive corporal punishment; families take better care of their children; educational opportunities have improved. In Juba and Yei, a sense of community was strengthened by celebrating the Day of the African Child together.

Sudanese children and an mother in front of a tentNorthern Sudan
The Northern Sudan programme was implemented according to plan and with more participants than expected. The number of IDPs living in camps at the outskirts of Khartoum remains high due to the fact that people are not returning South at the expected rate.

Strengthening community-based organisations
The transition from implementing our own projects to co-operating with small local CBOs and NGOs was a success. In 2008, we will decide on possible new locations, partner organisations, and target groups. In Khartoum a small resource centre was established that functions as a meeting point for people to raise awareness about child protection. It also functions as a children's activity centre and meeting place for local partner groups. The centre is not fully operational yet.

Southern Sudan
Protecting children by strengthening youth groups This project continued after War Child Canada had ended its funding in June 2007. A successful new direction was taken during the second half of 2007. People disseminated information about the dangers of landmines and organised events to promote child protection in communities. Youth groups encouraged young people to get involved in the reconstruction of their communities and take part in decision-making processes. These activities reduced the chances of these young people being recruited by armed factions.

War Child activity

Strengthening community based organisations
Three local community groups in Juba successfully organised child protection activities in their centres. Committees were established to promote child safety in the communities.

Street children
A small pilot project was launched in a local market in Juba to help street children return to school. These learning-to-learn activities were supported by local police and market vendors. In addition, a welfare committee for street children was established in which government officials and local community leaders have a seat.

The Malakal project
This project was discontinued in 2007, after being evaluated in January 2007. Among the reasons for this were that the project was severely disrupted by the rainy season and growing insecurity caused by clashes between militias.

Lessons learned
In 2007, the quality and successful implementation of the programme was impeded by a number of problems:

  1. During the second half of the year, the Juba and Yei teams had to be supervised from a distance because there was no international manager on site. Consequently, staff members' reporting and communication skills were seriously put to the test. This problem will not arise in 2008 as an international manager will be appointed for the Southern region.
  2. Working with various Northern and Southern government officials requires a great deal of patience and proper planning. The government keeps a firm grip on international organisations by intervening in the employment of national staff, strictly supervising international staff and visitors, requiring permission to travel and to own capital equipment. This interference causes considerable delay and frustration and impedes flexibility and planning procedures. It is very important to take this into account when the 2008 programme is implemented. 
  3. Working in Sudan is a challenge that requires not only a great deal of personal experience and stability, but also professional flexibility and creativity. When new staff members are employed, we will make sure that all candidates possess these essential personal qualities.
  4. Mobilising and motivating local staff is essential. Every manager must be able to deal with the fact that cultural expectations are sometimes incompatible with the international modus operandi. We have accepted the fact that high turnover is unavoidable and modified our introduction course and on-the-job training accordingly.
Door de bril van

Ishmael Beah, former child soldier and author

Ishmael Beah, former child soldier and author of ‘A Long Way Gone’: “When you are dragged into a war as a child, your childhood ends immediately.”

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