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Turning on the tap: Improving community protection in Kulba camp through safe access to water

Posted on 28 Apr 2024

Musa Hamed Timaise, a 53-year-old teacher from West Kordofan, Sudan, now finds himself living in an IDP camp in South Kordofan, far from his home and familiar life. He and an estimated 6,650 others, fled tribal violence in 2022, leaving behind their homes and livelihoods.

“It’s hard losing everything you own in a heartbeat,” Musa said.

“No other place can replace one’s own house. I can’t help but reminisce about the social events, the family gatherings, the laughs and love we had back in the village.”

Life in Kulba camp is hard, and Sudan’s current conflict has made it harder. Few humanitarian organisations are able to provide services in the camp, and access to clean water has been a constant struggle. Residents have been forced to rely on the host community's water sources, which has created inter-communal tension and led to violence.

“People spent a lot of time at water stations, and it caused frequent fights with members of the host community. Girls were physically and sexually abused,” said Musa.

The struggle to survive has not only impacted residents’ physical well-being but also their mental health, fostering feelings of resentment, despair and a longing for home.

“Some felt belittled; others were depressed or even angry,” Musa added.

“It’s a lot to take in sometimes.”

Supported by UK Aid, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has rehabilitated water sources within Kulba. It has had a profound impact on the lives of the residents. With closer access to clean water, the time spent waiting at water stations has decreased significantly. This has reduced the potential for conflict with the host community, and helped restore a measure of dignity and control to camp residents.

Musa describes the positive changes, “The water source has made us feel that there are people who care about us.”

The improved access to water has led to a marked decrease in gender-based violence, as women and girls no longer have to venture far in search of water.

But DRC's work in Kubla has extended beyond just providing water. With UK Aid funding, DRC has also formed a Community Based Protection Network (CBPN) to monitor and address protection concerns within the camp. This network, along with existing youth associations and community leaders, has helped fostered a sense of collaboration, agency and empowerment.

Looking towards the future, the people of Kulba camp yearn for an end of the conflict and the restoration of peace. They dream of returning to their homes, rebuilding their lives, and ensuring their children go to school. In the meantime, they will continue to need our compassion and support.

About the project

 ‘Enhancing Protection for Conflict-affected Communities in Sudan’ is a consortium project of the Danish Refugee Council, Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children International. With support from UK Aid, the project serves individuals and communities in Sudan at heightened risk of physical harm, deprivation and rights violations from the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis.

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Save the Children
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