Children in Sudan

An overview of the situation of children in Sudan

Children in classroom
UNICEF/UNI166326/Noorani

Children in Sudan

Sudan is the third largest country in Africa, has a population of over 40 million and a history that predates the Nubian kingdoms established along the Nile River around 4,000 BC. 

Sudan's children make up half of the total population , and the past two decades have seen their lives improve. Fewer boys and girls are dying before their first birthday. Primary school attendance is increasing.  Immunization coverage is high and the country remains polio free. 

Still millions of children continue to suffer from chronic conflict, from seasonal natural disasters and disease outbreaks, and from under-investment in basic social services. Today, Sudan ranks as one of the worst in the world for malnutrition, and three million of its school aged children are not in the classroom

Sudan fast facts infographic
UNICEF Sudan
Two girls smiling
UNICEF/Sudan

1.6 MILLION displaced children in need of assistance including in conflict-affected areas. 61 per cent of IDPs in camps are children. Nearly 65 per cent of refugees in Sudan are children. Many experience trauma prior to and during their journey to Sudan, putting children at higher risk of abuse, exploitation and violence. Children make up nearly 60 per cent of the displaced population.

Girls raise their hands in classroom
UNICEF/UN0211145/Noorani
During a mathematic class, girls raise their hands to answer teacher's question at Umbatah Basic School for girls in Kadugli, South Kordofan State.

School enrollment rates in the eight conflict affected areas (Darfur states, South and West Kordofan and Blue Nile) stands at 47 per cent, which is far below the average enrollment rate in the rest of the country. Around 1.7 MILLION school-aged children (4-16 years) need Education in Emergencies support, including about 800,000 IDPs. Up to 40 per cent of South Sudanese refugee children are school aged, and 52 per cent of these children are out of school.

Young people in Sudan
UNICEF Sudan/Ahmed Amin Ahmed
Children in North Darfur.

An estimated 2.3 MILLION children suffer from malnutrition and nearly half of all deaths of children under five years old are directly related to malnutrition. 694,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are fighting to survive. Out of the country's 18 states, 11 have a malnutrition prevalence above 15 per cent. This is above the emergency threshold as per WHO standards. ONE IN SIX children in Sudan is acutely malnourished. Some 820,000 children under the age of five need access to healthcare, including immunization and essential lifesaving services. About 36 per cent of the Primary Health Care facilities across Sudan are not fully functional, either due to staff shortages or poor physical infrastructure.

Girls washing their hands
UNICEF/UNI166356/Noorani
Using soap, girls wash hand from a water point in a Child Friendly School called Zahra Basic School, in Moosa village, on the outskirts of the city of Kassala in Eastern Sudan.

Around 4.9 MILLION people do not have access to adequate drinking water and safe means of defecation. Access to reliable and sustainable WASH services is an urgent need for refugees in camps in Eastern Sudan, Darfur and White Nile, and for South Sudanese refugees.

What we are doing

UNICEF is committed to the children of Sudan. As a result, we never give up on finding solutions that provide immediate help to save the lives of children or provide durable support so that those children grow up with dignity, health and an education. By doing so we can move from treatment to prevention, from costly campaigns to routine services delivered by the Government.

At UNICEF Sudan we are moving from silos of funding to a unified approach that considers all the needs of a child. Then, together with Government and partners we can shift the narrative and condition of children in Sudan from victims of crisis, to safe and strengthened individuals, to children confident of their rights and able to decide their future.