Despite the bureaucratic hurdles, access denials and restrictions posed on humanitarian movement, Sudan remains one of the most heavily funded humanitarian operations globally.
The money requested to be poured into aid efforts in the country — $1.04 billion in funding under the 2015 consolidated United Nations humanitarian response plan — means a continuous demand for professionals to help frame and assist in program design, coordination and implementation.
Most organizations have country offices in Khartoum, but aid operations are centered in the Darfur region, with some in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as well as Abyei.
Unlike in the capital, however, life in Darfur can be limiting for international staff. Movement around the town without escort in Nyala town, for example, is discouraged given the threat of abduction by militia groups looking for quick money, and the risk of armed robbery or carjacking looms if traveling to field locations. U.N. staff members are almost always accompanied by armed escorts, either by the U.N.–African Union Mission in Darfur, or police escorts provided by the government of Sudan.
For safety reasons, most aid agencies have their own guesthouses — a compound or building where an organization’s staff members stay throughout their mission, often located within walking distance to an organization’s sub-office.
Some international staff members of U.N. aid agencies choose to stay within UNAMID compounds. Apart from acting as barracks for the military and police personnel contributed by different countries to the peacekeeping mission, the compounds are also meant to be used as locations for U.N. agency offices and residence. International NGO staff — as well as internally displaced people — can also have access inside the compound in case of emergencies.
There are three UNAMID “supercamps” across the Darfur region. Here’s a look at the one in Nyala in South Darfur.
Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.
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