The Sudan Accelerated Infrastructure Program has seen considerable success despite extremely challenging circumstances, with the construction of 33 schools, one teacher training institute, three health centres and one bridge in 2008 and 2009. In addition there has been significant progress on road construction, essential to stimulate the local economy and create jobs.
UNOPS in Sudan
Sudan is the largest and one of the most diverse countries in Africa. The country has been plagued by almost continuous civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the Animist and Christian south since independence in 1956.
Despite the signing of a peace accord in 2005, the security situation remains volatile. The country also suffers from poor basic infrastructure, heavy landmine contamination and regular flooding, a combination which often stops aid reaching the places where it is needed most.
UNOPS has extensive experience in Sudan and a proven track-record of using specialist skills and local knowledge to overcome such constraints, ensuring that projects are delivered successfully and on time.
As well as large scale infrastructure projects the UNOPS Sudan office also provides support to its partners in the areas of census and elections, procurement and Mine Action.
Sudan Accelerated Infrastructure Program
UNOPS has been working under a Cooperative Agreement with USAID since 2006 to carry out the Sudan Accelerated Infrastructure Program. The programme consists of six activities:
Construction of primary health care centres
Construction and rehabilitation of roads
Rehabilitation of other transport infrastructure in Blue Nile State
Construction and rehabilitation of bridges
Labour intensive community infrastructure projects
Construction of primary schools
All programme activities have a focus on developing and building the capacity of state ministry staff, local contractors and communities through targeted training, close supervision of contractors and, where feasible, labour based construction methods.
The projects also consider any potential environmental impact, creating Environmental Review Reports in order to identify and minimize any issues.
Southern Sudan has some of the worst health indicators in the world and is in desperate need of better health infrastructure.
The Sudan Accelerated Infrastructure Program rehabilitated three dilapidated rural health care centres in order to improve the care of women and children, and reduce the extremely high rates of maternal and infant mortality.
The improved facilities include consultation rooms, pharmacies, overnight care, delivery rooms, waiting rooms, staff accommodation, water supply and furniture.
Services provided at the centres include immunization, vitamin supplements for young children, maternal health and family planning services, and the control of diarrhoea, malaria and acute respiratory diseases.
Road and air transport
One of the main activities in the programme is the construction and rehabilitation of selected road corridors in Southern Sudan, helping to boost development and improve delivery of humanitarian aid.
For example, on the 80km stretch of road from Yambio to Dabio, travel used to take over four hours in dry weather and now takes a guaranteed 90 minutes. This has improved the quality of goods and services and the overall economic development of the area.
In early 2008, Nzara market contained three shops, providing basic products and supplies.
In October 2009, after the road was fixed, Nzara had 120 shops and 15 restaurants, with a further 20 shops under construction. It is estimated that over 130,000 citizens have directly benefited from the recent rehabilitation of the road. The project is also rehabilitating the Dabio to Tambura stretch of road and the Dabio to Ezo stretch, totaling an additional 180km.
Another focus of the programme is the rehabilitation of transportation networks in Blue Nile State. A project has started to rehabilitate Kurmuk airport, developing the runway, the terminal buildings and the road into town.
The Bandami Bridge, a key link connecting Southern Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo used to collapse regularly during the rainy season. In 2009 the bridge was completely rebuilt, replacing the previous stone structure with a new 31 metre-long steel bridge to ensure increased resistance to flood damage and improved road safety.
The new bridge gives people in the region year round access to vital goods, services and humanitarian aid.
Recognizing the enormous need for basic education in manyparts of Southern Sudan, USAID has funded the construction of 33 schools and one teacher training institute. In those locations where water was not available, twenty-eight wells were drilled at the sites and fitted with hand pumps.
An estimated 4,800 students now have access to improved learning environments and access to sanitary facilities.
Girls in particular are benefiting as local parents now consider the schools to be safe enough to send their daughters. The teacher training institute is leading to an increase in both the number of teachers and the quality of teaching.