28-January-2023

Wadi AL-Koa Project: An EU Contribution to Darfur Development

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)—Um Kulthoom (37) stretches her exhausted eyesight across the land of the project while the workers are busy preparing its infrastructures, smiles and dreams: “All of us will be happy when we grow our food, graze our sheep, bring water easily and get money to purchase clothes and medicines for our children.”

It is a simple dream, a human right, but is unreachable to many people in the poor countries and in the regions afflicted by wars and armed conflicts like Darfur. The project to which Um Kulthoom attaches her hopes for a reasonable standard of living is Wadi Al-Koa project for development of water resources in North Darfur stretching from Sarafaya region northwest of Al-Fasher to Goz Bainah region southwest of Al-Fasher, 500 kilometers long, targeting 80,000 indigenous people in addition to the internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The implementation of the project is supported by the European Union in fulfillment of a pledge it made at the international donors’ conference which was held in Doha, Qatar, in April 2013. It is aimed at development of the rural communities in the State by gathering the water of the rainy season and by digging water wells to enable the people to get their needs of water for irrigation and grazing, thus overcoming the water scarcity which is the main cause of conflicts.

The dam on the Gudhaim Khor (torrential stream) which was inaugurated in mid-August 2015 in Zamzam region, 5 km southeast of Al-Fasher, costing 2,000 dollars, is part of Wadi Al-Koa project, benefitting 11,500 families plus a considerable number of Zamzam IDPs.

The wish by Um Kulthoom, a member of the local community and mother of five children, is shared by members of the native administration, the government, the experts and technicians who agree that the project brings about great benefits besides being one form of the compensations provided for in the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

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In a speech he made at the ceremony of signing the agreement of Wadi Al-Koa project during March instant, representing the people of North Darfur, General Hussein Abdulla Jibril said that the project is situated in a densely populated region and that it would greatly contribute to the security, stability and economic development of the surrounding rural communities, improving their living standards.

Experts say that it is the greatest project ever to be carried out in the field of the integrated water management in Darfur and in the Sudan at large and that the State heavily relies on it for achieving development, stability and improving a dignified means of living for the people of the region as the Wadi (valley) is one of the greatest sources of production of meats and vegetables, striking an environmental balance, biological diversity and control of desertification.

The Chairman of the Darfur Peace Follow-up Office, Dr. Amin Hassan Omar, said the Wadi Al-Koa project is a practical proof of the EU commitment to the strategy of Darfur development. The project is intimately connected with the environment as the resources scarcity is one of the causes of the conflicts while confronting the environmental deterioration by a package of projects connected with the environment and the resources provides a solution to the environmental problems, Dr. Omar said.

Dr. Tigani al-Sisi, President of Darfur Regional Authority, said the project was a fruit of the peace that was heralded by the DDPD. The Wadi Al-Koa Dam is part of the Darfur development strategy and is a measure for combating and controlling desertification, Sisi said. It enables the Regional Authority and the local authorities to exercise optimum management of the water resources, he said adding, however, that the Darfur crisis can be solved only with further development.

 

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The Director of Darfur Reconstruction Fund, Hashim Hammad, has expressed happiness with the start of implementation of the project which he described as one of the economic invigoration projects which he predicted would help prevent frictions between the pastoralists and the farmers.

The officer in charge of the integrated water management of Wadi al-Koa project from the UN environment program stressed that his program concentrates on the natural environment and on development and proper utilization of the integrated management for preservation of the environmental equilibrium.

He said the area of the project is close to Al-Fasher city and is densely populated, adding that the project would boost the systems of the natural resources management and back it with appropriate levels of scientific and technical analysis beside supporting the ways of earning a living and providing technologies for management of the natural resources in a proper way at the local community level and then transferring those technologies to other regions.

The Darfur development projects come in the context of the Darfur development strategy which was prepared by the Darfur Joint Assessment Mission in accordance with article 32 of the DDPD. This strategy was approved by Doha donors’ conference along with its economic invigoration, governance, justice and reconciliation and reconstruction.

What remains is the question on the extent of the concern with the water resources development projects in Darfur states and whether those projects would be accorded a priority because they have been approved and studied in the framework of the Darfur development strategy for achievement of the economic development and improvement. The positive impact of those projects on the security and stability of the people of the regions in which the projects are implemented is perceptible.

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MAS/AS

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...

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