UN Women lauds activists at the forefront of Sudan’s humanitarian response

Illustration by Michael Lusaba for UN Women


A recent feature on the UN Women website highlights the pivotal role women are playing in leading the humanitarian response to the ongoing conflict in Sudan. With 24.7 million people approximately half of Sudan’s population, in need of humanitarian aid and protection, women have stepped forward to address the crisis and advocate for peace.

Since the onset of the conflict, large numbers of women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups have fled their homes, with many seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

Supported by the UN Women Sudan office, more than 49 women-led peace initiatives, humanitarian organisations, and civil society groups have united to form the Peace for Sudan Platform, fostering collective advocacy efforts, and facilitating communication across different regions of the country.

“The war has led to increased coordination among women’s groups and the creation of strong solidarity among women across all Sudanese states,” the author* of the article says.

“Several networks are working at different levels to end the war, such as the Women Against War network and the Mothers of Sudan campaign.

“These groups document violations, monitor the situation, advocate for peace, and exert pressure on the international community and other parties to support a resolution and achieve peace. They also provide support to affected families, offer shelter to the displaced, facilitate the evacuation of those trapped in Khartoum and provide medical services. 

“The Mothers of Sudan initiative mobilizes citizens to oppose the war, exert pressure on individuals and military leaders, and contribute to resilience strategies within the current crisis. The organization initially emerged as a strong advocate for peace, but quickly transitioned to conducting a comprehensive situation analysis.”

‘Humanitarian aid is a priority at this stage; however, women’s empowerment is key to building a sustainable Sudan.’

At the front

Four women who are leading the humanitarian response and campaigning for an end to the conflict are highlighted in the article. Their names have been changed to protect their identity.

Prominent women’s rights advocate and writer Astur has played a vital role in driving change in the Blue Nile region through the Women’s Awareness Initiative. She recently organised the Mothers of Sudan campaign, which saw the first women’s protest against the war held in Khartoum on April 23.

Aliya, who has devoted more than 15 years to working in the humanitarian and development fields in Sudan, provided support to children, survivors of gender-based violence, displaced people, refugees, returnees, and host communities in South Kordofan and North Darfur.

Barkhado, a Sudanese activist with a master’s degree in peace and development, has been actively involved in youth political participation, human rights, and peacebuilding initiatives. Her efforts as advocate for women’s rights aim to raise awareness about the impact of the war and ensure women have an active role in political decisions.

Women’s rights activist and peace advocate Axado has been at the forefront of women-led groups and initiatives in Northern State, which experienced a significant influx of displaced people after April 15, when the war broke out in Khartoum.

“Axado and her fellow activists work diligently to provide critical support to those affected, while also raising awareness about women’s rights and their active involvement in peacebuilding efforts,” the article reads.

“The international community has a role to play in supporting organizations and youth actors in humanitarian actions and recovery. As the most affected group, it is important to engage women in all processes. Humanitarian aid is a priority at this stage; however, women’s empowerment is key to building a sustainable Sudan.”

* UN Women said in a disclaimer that the views expressed in this article are those of the author.