In this podcast we hear that poverty and suffering in Sudans Darfur region and in south Sudan are at such high levels there is a permanent humanitarian crisis there.

[display_podcast] This podcast made available from Vatican Radio

We hear from Bishop Eduardo Kussala of Tombura Yambio, Southern Sudan.



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A country spanning an area roughly the size of Western Europe, Sudan is home to some 40 million people, with great diversity in its physical and social environment.

The signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005 between the main protagonists in the North and South of Sudan signalled a formal end to a 21-year civil war that resulted in the deaths of at least two million people and the displacement of four million others.

This agreement however has by no means brought an end to the extreme difficulties faced by millions of ordinary Sudanese people in their day-to-day lives, nor had any impact upon the brutal conflict in Darfur.

2010 Election

An election date has finally been confirmed for Sudans first democratic national elections in more than 20 years. The announcement that elections will be held in 2010 has been greeted with relief, coming as it does more than six months later than initially agreed and amidst high tension surrounding the indictment of Sudanese President Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court.

The elections will be an important milestone in Sudans Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), a 2005 deal that ended 25 years of war between North and South Sudan.

Key challenges


Despite the signing of peace agreements putting an official end to one of the continent’s most vicious conflicts, insecurity and violence still blight large swathes of the Sudan. Banditry and militia attacks in South Sudan pose a serious threat to the lives and livelihoods of its people, while in Darfur violent attacks on civilians continue in spite of several ceasefire agreements.

Weak government structures

Governance in Sudan is characterized by a repressive regime in North Sudan, and by an almost total lack of service provision and regulatory bodies in the South.

Infrastructure and public services

Over twenty years of intense fighting has devastated infrastructure and social services in the South, and greatly contributed to the state of gross underdevelopment that Sudan currently finds itself in. Although the country has significant oil resources, little of the income they generate has found its way to the people of Sudan.

Trcaire’s response

Trcaire is working in both North and South Sudan in the areas of: Livelihood Security, Civil Society, Emergency relief and Disaster Mitigation, and Justice and Peace.

Livelihoods and food security

The core of Trcaire’s food security work is taking place in South Sudan. In collaboration with local partners, Trcaire is contributing to sustainable improvements in the food security situation of several thousand households in Bahr el-Ghazal, an area which chronically suffers from food shortages.

Our work toward livelihood security in Darfur is focused on training farmers, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and women’s organizations in approaches and technologies to increase food production.

Civil society

Trcaire is working in close partnership with Sudanese counterparts to contribute to realization of a vibrant, vocal and accountable civil society in Sudan that will act as a counterweight to the state and market by promoting the rights and interests of people living in poverty.

Our work includes the provision of support to the National Working Group on Civic Education to disseminate information on the CPA, and to the New Sudan Council of Churches to facilitate grassroots demands for good governance.

Emergency relief and disaster mitigation

In response to the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur that exploded onto international headlines in 2004 (following months of effort to expose what was happening by organizations such as Trcaire), we are working with Caritas International and Action by Churches Together (ACT) to provide emergency assistance to some 500,000 people displaced by the conflict.

Justice and peace

Trcaire is working with local organizations such as the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC) to improve the ability of:

  • communities to plan and manage activities that build peace;
  • local organizations and church leaders to assist communities in implementing peace-building plans; and
  • civil society and faith-based networks in building, consolidating and safeguarding peace.

The cause of justice in Sudan is also being furthered through work with organizations providing legal assistance to victims of violence in Darfur; the building of human rights awareness and amongst Sudanese university students; and monitoring and reporting of human rights abuses.

Working Through Partnership

Trcaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

One of the key features of Trcaire’s work is our partnership approach to development. We work with communities to identify their needs and then help them to devise solutions to satisfy those needs.

The beauty of this way of working is that local people drive the whole process. Solutions are not imposed on them. Trcaire works in partnership within networks of development organisations and with local non-government organisations in order to carry out our work as effectively as possible.

During emergencies, Trcaire works within networks of development organisations such as Caritas Internationalis, the international confederation of Catholic development agencies, and CIDSE, the alliance of 15 Catholic development organisations in Europe to maximise the co-ordination of responses in emergency situations.