IRC Programs in Sudan
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has been one of the largest providers of aid in
Southern Sudan for more than 20 years. The IRC aids communities devastated by war with
emergency relief and reconstruction assistance and with programs focusing on health
care, education, rights and reintegration, and ways to reduce violence against women. The
IRC also helps local communities develop the ability to support and sustain themselves.
The IRC works in six Southern Sudanese states: Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria,
Western Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity and Lakes.
- Most Southern Sudanese have little or no access to basic health care. The IRC supports the Ministry of Health by running 54 primary health care facilities. These clinics offer basic services to address the diseases that are common in Southern Sudan.
- Maternal mortality rates in Southern Sudan are among the highest in the world. The IRC promotes “safe motherhood” among pregnant women and new mothers by providing prenatal and postpartum care and training in safe delivery. Couples can also receive family planning counseling.
- The IRC is training a network of homebased community health providers who can identify and treat the three leading killer diseases of children under 5 years of age: malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. So far, 1,714 people have received the training.
Women and Girls
Decades of war have left a legacy of violence, especially against women and girls. The IRC helps raise awareness of the causes and consequences of violence by supporting community groups where women can speak out through songs, drama and radio programs. The IRC also supports literacy classes for women and provides psychosocial, medical and legal support to survivors of violence.
Rights and Reintegration
Following the 2005 peace accord, more than 2 million uprooted people returned to Southern Sudan. To help them rebuild their lives, the IRC offers counseling, job training and education. The IRC advises returnees on their rights and responsibilities as citizens and trains community leaders and government officials on the importance of upholding human rights, especially those of returnees.
- War has devastated Southern Sudan’s educational system. The literacy rate overall stands at 24 percent but only 12 percent for women. A 15-year-old girl has a greater chance of dying in childbirth than completing her education.
- In Northern Bahr el Ghazal, which hosts a large number of returnees but has few schools, the IRC is working with the Ministry of Education to construct classrooms, train teachers and develop and improve educational policy and administration.
The Referendum and After
- The IRC is prepared to respond rapidly to any emergencies that might arise after the January 2011 referendum and has developed plans to ensure that its programs will continue to provide services to the people of Southern Sudan.
- The IRC is extended its health services to care for an expected influx of people returning from the north to Southern Sudan.
- The IRC has stockpiled medical and basic humanitarian supplies that will ensure that its teams can assist people in need as quickly as possible.
- In the event of an influx of refugees from Southern Sudan, IRC teams in neighboring Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda are prepared to provide water, sanitation and hygiene, and services for women and children.
- The IRC’s global Emergency Response Team is on standby to assist. Its members are trained and experienced specialists in responding to humanitarian emergencies.
Aiding Darfur’s refugees
The IRC was also delivering humanitarian aid to around 2 million people in Darfur, North and East Sudan until March 2009. A decision by the Government of Sudan to expel the IRC and 12 other international aid agencies effectively halted these programs overnight.
The IRC continues to help around 60,000 refugees who have fled from Darfur into neighboring Chad. We provide medical care, water, sanitation, education protection, camp management and measures to tackle gender-based violence.