Sudan: nutrition lays foundation for peace – Sudan
How World Food Program poultry training is changing lives
Conflict breeds hunger, destroys livelihoods, disrupts basic services such as health care and education, and forces people to leave their homes.
Mohammed should know – he was forced to flee his village in eastern Sudan after conflict erupted in 1994 between the East Sudan Front and the Sudanese government. “Besides separating from our family, the most difficult thing has been leaving our homes and our village and not knowing when we will be back,” says Mohammed.
The signing of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement in 2006 ended the conflict but not the hunger. Today, Mohammed’s Tahadai Osis village is one of the most food insecure places in eastern Sudan, where more than 65 percent of children are stunted (impaired growth and development by children due to poor nutrition).
In 2014, Mohammed felt safe enough to return to his village. Seven years later, however, he’s still struggling to make ends meet. “I am a simple man without [formal] education, and it was very difficult for me to provide for my family’s daily needs, ”he says.
In 2019, the World Food Program (WFP), with funding from the European Union, launched a project to address the causes of food insecurity and malnutrition in eastern Sudan.
Cash assistance was provided to 350 residents of Tahadai Osis in exchange for work on local infrastructure projects such as rehabilitating a school and the school farm, repairing a water tank in solar energy, the construction of pipelines to connect the village to drinking water and the implementation of flood prevention measures. such as gabion walls and earth dams.
The community was introduced to poultry farming and educated on the nutritional benefits of eggs which are not traditionally eaten in this region. Some of the eggs are used to make breakfast for children at a nearby WFP-supported school and any excess is sold, with the profits being reinvested in the farm.
Mohammed and his wife Madina started their own poultry farm, which allows them to improve the diet of their three daughters, one of whom was malnourished before the family sought help at a clinic supported by the WFP. “I cook the eggs for my daughters who really love them,” says Madina, “We sell all the extra eggs that allow us to buy other basic necessities.”
Children under 5 and pregnant and breastfeeding women are also screened for malnutrition at a WFP-supported clinic in Tahadai Osis. Those affected receive nutritional supplements rich in vitamins and minerals and high in protein.
Community volunteers also go door-to-door educating families on the importance of healthy diets and hygiene measures that help prevent malnutrition. “Volunteers came to my house and taught me the importance of screening my children for malnutrition and how to prevent it,” says Madina. “I am now more aware of my family’s health and nutritional needs. ”
Improving the food security of families like Mohammed’s has contributed to peace and stability in the region and encourages others who have fled the conflict to return to their villages.
“WFP has helped us establish a base for our community to thrive,” says Karrar, a village poultry farmer. “Access to clean water supports our livelihood activities and we have learned to raise chickens and grow a variety of vegetables which have improved our diets. ”
WFP’s activities in the village of Tahadai Osis are part of a project entitled “Improving Nutrition and Reducing Stunting in Eastern Sudan through an Integrated Approach to Nutrition and Food Security”. This work has been made possible thanks to the generous contributions of the European Union and the work of WFP’s implementing partner, Sudan Vision.