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Sudan Families Support project launches pilot

July 2 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Shoe-polishers in downtown Khartoum (File photo)
Shoe-polishers in downtown Khartoum (File photo)

Yesterday, the pilot phase of the Sudanese Families Support project was launched by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development. The first poor families living in Soba West in Khartoum received their monthly support of SDG 3,000*. An estimated 9.6 million people in Sudan are experiencing acute food insecurity.

In a joint statement, the two ministries say that this “direct cash support” project for Sudanese families is funded by the government and a number of partners, with technical support from the World Food Programme and the World Bank.

The experimental stage includes four other districts: El Buga in Ombadda locality, El Nasir in Jebel Awlia locality, Wadi Soba and Um Dawanban in East Nile locality.

The cash support will continue for a full year. About 32 million Sudanese (80 percent of the population) will benefit from the project.

USAID provided $20 million to the project, as part of the support of $356 million pledged by the American government at the Sudan Partnership Conference last week, in addition to $143,000 in-kind support granted by the US Office of Transitional Initiatives.

Finance Minister Ibrahim El Badawi discussed with Brian Shukan, Chargé d'affaires of the US Embassy in Khartoum, and Helen Pataki, Mission Director of USAID for Sudan, the Family Support Project and the digital transformation programme the project depends on.

According to the Sudan News Agency (SUNA), Shukan praised the efforts of the Sudanese government to realise economic reforms, and its endeavours to carry out the Families Support programme that will contribute to the improvement of the life of the Sudanese, in particular those living in rural areas.

In June, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development distributed ATM cards in support of vulnerable families in Khartoum. Each card was loaded with an amount of SDG 3,000 for every poor working woman affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

During the High-Level Sudan Partnership Conference, co-hosted by Germany, the European Union, the United Nations, and Sudan, in Berlin on June 25, the international community pledged a total of $1.8 billion in support Sudan’s economic reforms. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the donors to press Sudan to prioritise justice and legal reforms as well.

Acute food insecurity

About 9.3 million people in Sudan -nearly one in four- will need assistance this year, of whom five million are targeted to receive humanitarian aid, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in December 2019.

Yet, according to the latest analysis of the situation in Sudan between June and September by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an estimated 9.6 million people are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity, and are in need of urgent action between June and September.

“This is the highest figure ever recorded in the history of the IPC in Sudan compared to previous years,” the IPC said in its latest Sudan Food Security Classification Snapshot. “Food insecurity remains alarmingly high in Sudan with increased and protracted displacement, economic decline and inflation, and high food price hikes, exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly decreased commodity movement, market function and cross-border trade, and compromised livelihoods, daily labour opportunities, reducing household purchasing power and food access of the vulnerable population,” IPC states.

* USD 1 = SDG 55.1375 at the time of publishing this article. As effective foreign exchange rates can vary in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).

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