UNHCR hands over schools and health services to North Darfur Gov

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, in cooperation with the Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA), is handing over several educational and health services to North Darfur’s governor from 11 to 13 October, Nimr Abdelrahman.

El Hirja school is handed over to the North Darfur state governor by UNHCR and AHA (Photo: UNHCR)

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, in cooperation with the Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA), is handing over several educational and health services to North Darfur’s governor from 11 to 13 October, Nimr Abdelrahman. 

Toby Harward, Principal Situation Coordinator in Darfur, explained that the aim of the UNHCR mission has been to create a good learning environment for students to obtain basic and primary education in the displaced community and the host communities in the area. The completion of the project hopes to relieve strain on existing educational and health services, especially for displaced people and refugees. 

“Access to education and healthcare are fundamental human rights. Nothing is more important than ensuring that displaced victims of protracted conflict & those who selflessly host them benefit from those rights,” said Harward on Twitter yesterday.

This month, the government of North Darfur state will receive five educational and health facilities, after they have been fully refurbished or constructed by AHA, with the support of the UNHCR. AHA, which has been working in Sudan since 2004, collaborated with the UNHCR to "reinforce health centers and provide primary health care in rural areas to an estimated 437,000 Sudanese refugees."

In a speech to a crowd of citizens in Abu Shouk camp yesterday, Rahman said his government is working closely with its partners to support education, and pledged to provide seating for all schools involved in the project. He also announced his commitment to rehabilitating and supplementing Alban Jadid primary school for girls. 

The facilities that are being handed over include El Salam 13 primary school in Abu Shouk displaced camp, El Bashir basic school, El Hijra school and El Ban school, south of the city, which serve refugees and the host community. El Ayoun hospital, which is part of El Fasher hospital, will be handed over after it has been fully refurbished.

Earlier this year, the teachers committee organised a nationwide comprehensive strike in protest of not receiving their full financial dues, such as back-payments that were owed to them as far back as 2020.

This year, Sudan postponed the start of the new school year to October 2, as more than 600 schools were affected by the heavy rainfall. In a statement on September 12, UNICEF and Save the Children reported that "12 million will have their school years heavily interrupted by a lack of sufficient teachers, infrastructure, and an enabling learning environment to make them reach their full potential.” Education Minister Mahmoud Sirelkhatim El Houry said last month that 623 schools were affected during this year's rainy season.

According to UNICEF, 6.9 million girls and boys, one in three school-aged children do not go to school in Sudan at all.

On October 5, Vice President of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, announced a programme of school feeding that will benefit 400,000 students in its first phase.

UNHCR is currently working with the government and partners to scale up their response, according to a statement on September 23. Nonetheless, "efforts to provide lifesaving support to refugees and displaced Sudanese face immense strain because of acute underfunding. Limited support could leave many refugees and local communities without vital assistance, leaving them more prone to taking risks that could result in serious harm."