Washington DC, September 2017— UNICEF Sudan Representative, Abdullah Fadil accompanied by WFP Country Director, Matthew Hollingworth (pictured above) took the time to come to Washington, D.C. last week to advocate for the 3.24 million children in Sudan who do not have access to basic services in the areas of education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and protection of their rights. The Reps’ mission was to draw attention to the current humanitarian operating environment in Sudan and the initiatives that UNICEF and WFP are leading to provide needed assistance to vulnerable populations in Sudan.
The UNICEF and WFP Representatives discussed the progress they have witnessed from the Sudanese government to increase access for humanitarian efforts over the course of the past year, while also emphasizing the remaining gaps, policy challenges, and other challenges that continue to hinder their aid and development work. This message was carried by both representatives throughout their meetings with Congressional offices, key U.S. government agency personnel, local Sudanese diaspora groups, Sudan's Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Maowia O. Khalid, and NGOs who are also engaged in Sudan’s future.
UNICEF works to promote the rights and wellbeing of every child in the world, and remains the main advocator and interlocutor for the protection of children including in humanitarian situations in Sudan. Through partnerships, UNICEF enabled 131,227 children to be treated for SAM, representing an increase of 12 per cent in comparison to 115,805 in 2014. In education, 464,228 out-of-school children (46 per cent of girls) were enrolled in school. In health, over nine million children aged of six months to fifteen years received vaccination through a national campaign for which UNICEF mobilized fifteen million doses of vaccines and ensured social mobilization of communities. About three million pregnant women and children under the age of five benefited from the distribution of treated bed nets in five Darfur states.
To continue building on the achievements of previous years, UNICEF is working closely with partners like WFP to support sustainable development in Sudan. The Representatives utilized their time in Washington to share their personal opinions on the positive humanitarian impacts that they feel could be achieved through the lifting of the U.S. sanctions on Sudan, and both Representatives expressed their optimism that progress and momentum can be maintained in a post-sanctions environment.
“Imagine what the Government of Sudan could do with its resources if it used them to help its people. Imagine what the Government of Sudan would do with more resources, if it were not restricted by economic sanctions.” – UNICEF Sudan
Beyond updating others on the work that UNICEF and WFP are leading in Sudan and discussing the issue of U.S. sanctions, the Representatives also encouraged diaspora groups and Congress to remain actively engaged in events unfolding in Sudan and to continue to support programs that put children and the most vulnerable populations first.
The U.S. sanctions on Sudan were lifted in October 2017, a week after the Representatives’ visit to Washington, D.C. While not everyone can come to Washington, we can all be advocates! Please take a moment to email your Senators and Representatives about UNICEF’s appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018. Click here to send your message. Let’s make sure Congress knows we all want them to put #ChildrenFirst!