Learn more about specific causes in Sudan that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentSudan faces a number of environmental concerns, including desertification, climate change, increasing water shortages, decreasing rainfall, riverbank erosion, and deforestation. Air pollution and environmental degradation, along with a country-wide shortage of clean water, contribute to the country’s high mortality rate.1 The Sudanese rely heavily on the environment for exports and agriculture, and overuse of the land has caused degradation of existing desert environments. Environmental problems have been closely linked to the long conflicts in Sudan and the aftermath of war.2
FamilySudan’s family structure is strongly rooted in tradition. Traditionally, couples do not meet until their wedding day, and parents arrange the marriages for their children. The average marrying age is 19 or 20, but in poorer areas girls are often younger. 1 Approximately 33% of girls are married before their eighteenth birthday.2 It is legal for Muslim children to marry as young as 10 years old. Polygamy is common, and 30-60% of women in Sudan are involved in polygamous relationships.3
Human RightsHuman rights issues abound in Sudan. Violent conflicts are especially concentrated in Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile states, which are located in the southern region of the country. Government forces have displaced hundreds of thousands of citizens in Darfur and subjected countless others to torture, rape, and killings in an attempt to purge anyone not of Arab descent. Many of the affected people have no access to humanitarian aid and are forced to flee the country.1 The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2009 for the genocide in Darfur, but he has avoided arrest. Citizens elsewhere in the country are also subject to government oppression. Sudanese women face the daily risk of being arrested for “indecent behavior” at the Read More discretion of public officials. Violence against women, including beatings and rape, is commonplace and not punished. Anyone who speaks out or writes against the government is subject to arrest and threats.2 Sudan refuses to comply with ICC arrest warrants and reform demands in order to improve the human rights situation.1 Show Less
EducationSudan’s educational system is free and compulsory for all citizens 6 to 13 years of age, although thousands of children do not attend school. Children in rural areas often work at family farms and do not have time to attend school.1 The large number of dropouts both at a basic and secondary level, the inability to attract teachers to remote schools, insufficient resources (particularly textbooks), and inadequate instructional time make learning difficult.2 Additionally, schools are often built poorly, and the buildings are insufficient and unsafe for students.3
PovertyNearly half of the nation’s 44 million inhabitants live in poverty. The distribution of wealth is uneven throughout the country due to high corruption in government spending. Many regions have received little to no development assistance, leaving the majority of the citizens in these regions in poverty.1 Poverty is the result of years of civil war, depletion of natural resources, and low agricultural production.2
ReligionThe largest and most culturally accepted religion in Sudan is Islam. The majority of Sudanese Muslims identify as Sunnis. Religion played a large role in the civil conflict that plagued Sudan’s North and South civil war for many years.1The North, which claims almost two-thirds of Sudan's land and population, is Muslim and Arabic-speaking, while the South was more indigenously African with Christian influences and a Western orientation. Today, Catholic and Anglican churches make up the majority of the remaining Christian presence, and this is primarily a result of missionaries and mission work.2
Clean WaterSudan has limited access to clean water, which poses great challenge to its people and economy. Poor environmental conditions and sanitation continue to decrease the availability of safe drinking water throughout the country, where approximately 97% of the water supply is used by the agricultural industry and only 2% is used domestically. Because 80% of the country works in agriculture, it is crucial that Sudanese people have water, particularly in rural areas where farms feed the local community. Many women and children have to go out and find water sources for domestic use. These sources are often far from their homes and trips back and forth are dangerous. Even if water is found, it is often unclean and can lead to serious diseases such as Read More diarrhea, cholera, Hepatitis E, and Guinea Worm Disease.1 Show Less
EconomySudan’s economy is wrought with corruption, instability, and lack of economic opportunity. The country has a 13% unemployment rate, and 80% of the population relies on the agricultural sector for employment. When Sudan split with South Sudan in 2011, it lost three-quarters of its oil revenue and has struggled to maintain economic stability because of its lack of export diversification.1 Strict government regulations and limited investments prevent economic diversity.2
GovernmentSudan became a separate country from the Republic of South Sudan in 2011, when decades of civil war and a six year peace agreement ended with South Sudan’s independence. Despite the conflict ending, Sudan’s government has been characterized by many years of corruption and violence. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir originally earned his title in a 1989 military coup and has been in office ever since. He is the only sitting head of state to ever face an indictment by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity that he committed in Darfur.1 Cross-border violence also contributes to political instability within Sudan.2
HealthThe Sudanese health care system lacks the ability to care for the nation’s people. Even though funding for health care has increased, it is still below what the World Health Organization recommends.1 Sudan faces serious diseases. These illnesses include cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, measles and more.2 Healthcare is extremely limited in rural areas. Without enough facilities and medical staff, accessibility to treatment is very poor. Even in wealthier areas, there is still a significant shortage of health care professionals. There are only three doctors for every 10,000 people and hospitals can be overcrowded.3
ChildrenThe under-5 mortality rate of Sudanese children is 70 per 1,000 live births, and average life expectancy of a Sudanese citizen is just 63 years.1 Children face issues such as poverty, limited access to quality food, education, and health care, child soldier recruitment, child marriage, displacement, female genital mutilations, and the right to life.2 Due to inflated food prices and violence, children are particularly at risk for food and water shortages.3
AnimalsThe country’s native wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, and monkeys. There is a large amount of cattle that graze in the grassy lands by the Nile.1 The large amount of cattle can contribute to overgrazing of the land, leaving it susceptible to flooding and drought. Other species, such as rhinos, used to inhabit the land but are extinct due to unchecked hunting.2
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