The Nile communities in Sudan face considerable challenges including poverty, instability, rapid population growth and environmental degradation. At the official level, the long dialogue among the Basin countries to create a regional partnership to facilitate the common pursuit of sustainable development and management of Nile waters has resulted in adopting the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). The shared vision component of the NBI proposes "to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources".
However, much is left to be done at the civil society and community level. One of the major concerns of Friends of the Nile in Sudan (the FONS network which is establishing the Sudan National Discourse Forum) is that there is little or no involvement of many communities in the NBI-related development activities. FONS believes that in the absence of participation by most of the stakeholders, Nile-related decisions could have high social and environmental costs in the future. To prevent this from happening, FONS is setting up a Sudan Nile Discourse Forum (SNDF) to provide a mechanism for community participation in Nile decision making.
There are four areas where the SNDF is actively engaged:
- Bringing together different Nile stakeholders and developing common areas of understanding around the Nile-related issues;
- Building the capacities of the Nile communities and establishing an alliance for change which could influence Nile policies at the local, national and regional levels;
- Lobbying for better living conditions for Nile community members; and
- Working at linking the NBD with ongoing NBI activities.
The goal of the SNDF is to provide Nile civil society communities with the knowledge, capacities, capabilities and access needed to improve their lives, better their communities and influence their own destinies.
DR. Muawia H Shadad
Dr. Muawia H Shaddad is a member of Sudan Nile Discourse Forum. He works with the University of Khartoum, Faculty of Science. Dr Shaddad is a civil society activist, Chair and Board member of many NGOS and Networks. He is a founder member of Nile Basin Discourse and Sudan Nile Discourse Forum.
Sumaia Mohamed Elsayed
Sumaia is an associate professor at Ahfad University for women, with a PhD in Science Zoology - University of Khartoum (1992), Masters in Applied Entomology Imperial College, University of London England (1988), Masters in Science Zoology University of Khartoum, Sudan (1982), Bachelors in Science Zoology and Chemistry, University of Khartoum, Sudan (1978) and a Diploma (DIC) Imperial Collage (1988). Sumaia is involved in teaching / research in environment, environmental health, water and sanitation.
Sumaia has wide expertise in the field of teaching and researches (Biology, Entomology), medical entomology, environmental studies, natural resource based conflict management, environmental and management. She has coordinated several projects and workshops related to budgeting and reporting and capacity building. Sumaia has handled consultation work for stakeholders, in determining capacity gaps, assessing training needs, designing training program, execution, and evaluation of training success, public awareness and outreach programs through mass media, production of education materials, and training. She is an executive member of SNDF.