Life in Sudan

Life for many of Sudan's population of 34 million is harsh. The country has suffered from years of civil war, and millions are displaced with many living in refugee camps both within and outside of the country. With a life expectancy of just over 52 years and AIDS/HIV rampant with many more dying from water related diseases, 80% of the population seeks out a living on the land although just 6.7% of it is arable. 46.5% of the population live below the poverty line. The population is predominately Sudanese Arab however along the Red Sea to the east of the country are the Bedawiye (Beja) people; to the west the Fur and Zaghawa peoples; to the north the Nubian people who live and farm along the Nile whilst the south is home to the Nuba.

Historically in Sudan men and women have remained segregated although that is now changing especially in urban areas and in the south of the country, however the north remains more traditional in outlook with men and women leading virtually separate lives. In most rural areas electricity is unheard of (just 1% of the nine million in the south have access) and in those areas just 10% of the population have access to sanitation facilities.

Rural Life in SudanRural employment includes cotton, peanuts and sugar growing especially along the Nile where pumps bring water to the fields from the river. Lemons, mangoes, grapefruit, paw paws and oranges are also grown. Further afield from the Nile, farmers live something of a nomadic lifestyle concentrating on rearing cattle, camels sheep and goats. These nomadic tribes include the Kababish who live in the northern Kordofan province of Sudan and the Baggara who live in Darfur and also the North and South Kordofan provinces of Sudan. Some five million others are engaged in the production of gum, making Sudan the world's largest gum exporter.

Until the split with South Sudan oil production drove the impoverished country's economy, however following independence for the south and taking with it three quarters of Sudan's oil production, the nation is facing an economic crisis, already billions of dollars in debt and now cut off from revenues from its main export. (Its currently spending three billion $ more each year than it is receiving in revenue.) Ongoing negotiations with South Sudan may find a compromise with the south paying the north a fee to transport its oil to port. On the other hand it may just as easily result in renewed conflict. These video documentaries explore daily rural life in Sudan.



 
 
 
 
 
 

Life in Sudan

Life in Sudan

Life in Sudan

Life in Sudan

 


Volunteer Sudan

Volunteer Work Sudan

Check out all the latest African volunteer work placements and opportunities in Sudan.
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Life in Sudan

Life in SudanDespite being home to the White Nile, the Blue Nile and the River Nile, much of the Sudan is desert, particularly in the north of the country and there are frequent droughts, not only causing thirst, but destroying harvests. Water is a serious issue in Sudan where small boreholes are the main source with people walking miles, then queuing for hours to get supplies. For many women living in refugee camps, even walking to water wells presents significant dangers with many reporting rape and violence on leaving the relative security of the camps and villages. Ironically embedded within Sudanese culture is the practise of Sabeel; a tradition whereby householders will leave a jar of water outside their homes for passers by to drink from.

Ironically, Sudan has the largest source of freshwater in the world, but its underground and no real effort has been made to tap into these natural resources by the government, although many charities who are able to operate in Sudan are establishing water projects there, not only to provide essential water supplies, but to prevent social tensions, many fuelled by water access.

Sudan is a predominately Sunni Muslim country and praying five times a day, regardless of what you are doing is an important part of daily life. 44% of the population live in urban areas and overall most families in Sudan have 7-8 children.

Human Development Index Sudan

Human Development Index for Sudan 1980 - Present

The HDI (Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country. Sudan is in 171st place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart above shows how levels of poverty and living standards in Sudan are significantly below that of other Arab states and even low human development.