At a makeshift health clinic set up alongside a road in Ag Geneina, a town in West Darfur, Sudan, several young girls sketch flowers, while the young boys in the group draw weapons and make mud moulds of military vehicles.
“I have been encouraging them to make drawings from happier memories before the conflict that led to their displacement,” says Hajir Ahmed Hassan, a psychologist who works in one of the child-friendly clinics in the area managed by the non-governmental organization (NGO) World Relief through a grant from the OCHA-managed Sudan Humanitarian Fund. “The boys associate soldiers with power, having experienced conflict first-hand,” she explains.
The drawing activities serve as therapy to help the children overcome psychological trauma as a result of the conflict in West Darfur.
All the children who participate in the activities come from displaced families. Four schools in Ag Geneina are currently closed because they are occupied by displaced people. The town currently has 71 gathering sites for internally displaced people.
The clinic where Hajir works provides health, nutrition and psychosocial support to children with severe and moderate acute malnutrition, as well as to pregnant and lactating women with moderate acute malnutrition.
Every morning, Hajir spends two hours with more than 30 children in makeshift structures or under the shade of large trees to address psychosocial issues arising from their displacement and current circumstances. She also engages with the children in recreational activities as part of therapy services.
When conflict broke out in West Darfur in January 2021, the Sudan Humanitarian Fund released US$300,0000 through its Emergency Rapid Response Mechanism within a week, and an additional $599,000 from its Reserve for Emergencies within three weeks, to respond to rising humanitarian needs.
The Fund has provided a total of $1.3 million for response activities in West Darfur to World Relief and Save the Children, while the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) provided an additional $5 million in January of this year to various partners.
With its share of the funds, World Relief has provided health, nutrition and psychosocial support through two fixed health facilities and nine temporary health clinics over the past eight months. Among the services provided include trucking clean water to 18 gathering sites for internally displaced people; installing water tanks; and distributing jerry cans to vulnerable households.
World Relief also built 18 communal latrines with handwashing facilities and carried out 28 hygiene promotion and environmental safety sessions in Ag Geneina. This past June, the NGO also added recreational activities and counselling related to general protection and gender-based violence. This assistance reached 58,344 internally displaced people, comprising 12,752 men, 13,335 women, 15,669 boys and 16,588 girls.
The Sudan Humanitarian Fund is a country-based pooled fund managed by OCHA Sudan under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator. It collects donor contributions to make funding directly available to humanitarian partners working on the ground so they can deliver timely and effective life-saving assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people in need.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
© Press Release 2021