Sudan’s Thirst for Peace: Water, Conflict, and a Fight for Survival

As the world commemorates World Water Day 2024 under the theme ‘Water for Peace,’ it’s vital to reflect on the profound impact water has on our lives and the challenges faced by communities, especially in regions like Sudan.

Water is not just a resource; it’s a lifeline, essential for health, livelihoods, and peace. Yet, access to clean water remains a distant dream for many in Sudan. Despite efforts by the international community, millions still lack safe drinking water, a situation exacerbated by factors like climate change, insufficient infrastructure, and geopolitical tensions.

In Sudan, the situation is dire. With a history of conflict and political instability, access to clean water is often compromised. The armed conflict in Sudan has inflicted near-catastrophic impacts on water supply, with rockets, bombs, and other explosive weapons damaging critical infrastructure such as water treatment plants. This poses a grave challenge, with water and sanitation systems under threat, putting millions at risk. In cities hosting growing displaced populations, the pressure on existing water systems is intensifying, while in conflict hotspots, damaged water infrastructures further compound the crisis.Displacement, inadequate sanitation facilities, and pollution further exacerbate the water crisis, posing significant health risks to communities. 

In fact, about 829,000 deaths are believed to result from diarrhoeal diseases as a result of poor WASH facilities. In Sudan, UNICEF reported more than 17.3 million people still lacking access to safe drinking water. We believe that clean water is not only important for hygiene and sanitation, as it is also the key to living, health and education.

The need for cooperation and equitable management of water resources is more urgent than ever. With over 3 billion people worldwide relying on water that crosses national borders, collaboration is key to ensuring access to clean water for all. Yet, only a handful of countries have cooperation agreements for shared water sources, highlighting the need for greater international solidarity.

In response to these challenges, initiatives like our WASH Project in Sudan by MedSIN Sudan are crucial. Our project takes a holistic approach, addressing not just access to clean water but also sanitation and hygiene practices. Through collaboration with local authorities, NGOs, and community members, we aim to empower communities to take ownership of their water resources and adopt sustainable practices.

Our project consists of three main phases:

Assessment and Planning: We conduct thorough assessments of target areas, gathering data on water quality, sanitation infrastructure, and community needs. This information guides the development of tailored interventions to address specific challenges.

The first phase of the project is the screening of water samples
short-term intervention phase, raise the awareness of people

 

Implementation: Armed with insights from the assessment phase, we implement targeted strategies to improve access to clean water and promote proper hygiene practices. This includes the installation of water purification units, construction of sanitation facilities, and community education initiatives.

 

Capacity Building and Sustainability: We focus on building the capacity of local communities to manage and maintain water infrastructure effectively. By empowering community members with knowledge and skills, we ensure the long-term sustainability of our interventions.

Stage of long-term intervention

But our work doesn’t stop there. We recognize the importance of amplifying the voices of local communities and youth in shaping water policies and practices. By fostering meaningful engagement and promoting dialogue, we aim to build a culture of cooperation and peace around water management.

In Sudan, the current scenario underscores the urgency of our efforts. The country has been grappling with political transitions and conflicts, further exacerbating the challenges of water access. Displacement due to internal conflicts has strained resources and infrastructure, leaving many communities vulnerable to waterborne diseases and sanitation issues.

Moreover, climate change has intensified the water crisis, with erratic rainfall patterns and prolonged droughts leading to water scarcity in many regions. This not only threatens agricultural livelihoods but also compounds the existing challenges of water access and sanitation.

Amidst these complexities, initiatives like our WASH Project play a crucial role in providing immediate relief and building long-term resilience. By working closely with local communities, we aim to address the root causes of the water crisis and empower individuals to become stewards of their own water resources.

      

Through capacity building, education, and sustainable infrastructure development, we strive to create lasting solutions that go beyond mere provision of water. Our goal is to foster a culture of cooperation, resilience, and peace, where access to clean water becomes a catalyst for positive change and sustainable development.

As we commemorate World Water Day 2024, let us recognize the interconnectedness of water, peace, and prosperity. By standing in solidarity with communities in Sudan and around the world, we can build a future where access to clean water is not just a dream but a reality for all. Together, let’s harness the power of water for peace, unity, and a brighter tomorrow.

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