UNICEF in Sudan

Effective partnerships for children

Investing in the children of Sudan


UNICEF in Sudan

Sudan is a huge country, more than four times the size of Sweden and the third largest in Africa—even after South Sudan was carved out in 2011. Sudan has a lot of land and resources, a population of 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 fifth 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, from under-investment in basic social services. 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.

UNICEF began serving Sudan over sixty years ago. Each day we push for better information, better service delivery and more children not only surviving but thriving. We are committed to delivering the simple actions that prevent children from dying before their fifth birthday: giving a baby only breast milk for the first six months; washing hands with soap after using the toilet; sleeping under a bed net treated with insecticide; knowing to treat diarrhea with a simple solution of salt, sugar and water; completing free, routine immunizations by the age of two.

UNICEF began operating in Sudan in 1952. We have an on-the-ground presence in 12 of the country’s 18 states, and over the years we have leveraged our trust and authority to serve as the voice of children in Sudan.

For true, lasting change in communities and households, we go beyond the symptoms of a problem to penetrate and confront the root causes. Humanitarian emergencies affecting children, sparked by man or nature, require a fast response and we mobilize to be on the ground quickly. For areas we can influence and wield our significant comparative advantage—protecting the rights of girls and boys—it is our duty to push for understanding and action. What are the reasons behind girls not going to school, children being malnourished, missed vaccinations, mothers dying in childbirth, dirty drinking water, girls cut in the name of tradition?

Root causes tend to be thorny. It’s not easy to navigate centuries-old rituals; bureaucracies with high transaction costs; low education standards; the place of women in society.

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 children, or 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.

Overview of UNICEF in Sudan
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