Local development gives Kassala a new lease of life

UNDP_Sudan
Small sellers under their new shed in Kassala, photo by © UNDP Sudan 2014

40 year old Ibtisam Abaker only had primary school education before she got married. Now, she is divorced with five children, the oldest 12, and the youngest, 6. Ibtisam lives in Banat, west of Kassala. She sells mainly kisra, a popular Sudanese bread made from sorghum. She usually wakes up at 2:30 in the morning to start baking the kisra; then at 8:00 am she hires a donkey cart to the Banat Square 12 market where she sells her goods under the hot sun. She was sick on most days from the heat.

So, she was very happy when the local authorities informed them that in response to earlier identified and prioritized needs, they would build four sheds (each one hosts about 20 sellers) through UNDP support, to accommodate herself and the other small sellers. “The shed protects us from the sun, and the dirt doesn’t spoil our goods anymore. This is particularly useful especially with the coming soon rainy season” says Ibtisam. “Our work place is more organized and the women help each other more” she adds.

Now, Ibtisam as well as the other women (and men) are protected from the sun, the dust and rains don’t spoil their goods.  And their crowded work place is more organized.

Post-conflict Kassala state is one of the poorest in Sudan and home to the largest number of refugees in eastern Sudan. One way the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works in the state is through the Local Development Fund (LDF), born out of Kassala’s own state strategic and locality development plans. The LDF has been first implemented in the Red Sea State of East Sudan, and given its successful track record, the states of Gedarif and Kassala have requested its replication.

Since its introduction in Kassala state, the LDF has established more than 20 community facilities, such as health centers and class rooms within the 11 localities of Kassala state.

The project received support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and is part of UNDP’s Strategic Partnership Framework for Governance and Rule of Law, a co-financing partnership between UNDP and the Government of Sudan.