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Women in Darfur: reinventing the future

Plan is working to protect women and girls in Darfur against violence, and to provide support to those who have already suffered abuse.
Plan is working to protect women and girls in Darfur against violence, and to provide support to those who have already suffered abuse.

Plan is working with women affected by the violence and conflict in Darfur to give them hope, raise their morale and reinvent their futures.

“It is our approach that lessens their pain, gives them hope, and raises their morale by restoring their self esteem and reinventing their confidence in the future.”
— Plan Darfur Operations Manager Kamal Awouda

Sexual violence against women is a grim hallmark of the Darfur conflict. Thousands of girls and women have been raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence in Darfur. Inquiries by the International Criminal Court identified “high numbers of . . . mass rapes and other forms of extremely serious gender violence.”

Women and girls are being attacked not only to dehumanize them alone, but also to humiliate, punish, control, inflict fear upon, displace and persecute the community to which they belong.

Women's protection and development

Women and girls have been disproportionately affected by the violence in Darfur and the subsequent humanitarian crisis. In addition to losing husbands, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers to the conflict, they have lost their homes, belongings, and livelihoods and have been subjected to sexual abuse and violence.

To ensure the protection and development of women, Plan is:

  • Protecting women against gender-based violence. Plan works with local women to raise awareness of women’s issues among law enforcement agencies.
  • Providing counseling and psycho-social support. Many women who have suffered abuse have spoken about it to no one, not even their husbands — not even the police.
  • Lobbying to recruit women as police officers and to serve in other law enforcement agencies.
  • Increasing awareness of women’s rights, of health issues and traditional harmful practices, promoting pre- and postnatal care and safe delivery, and providing women's health services.
  • Regularly consulting with women’s groups in the camps to create consensus around a common agenda for women.
  • Involving women in implementation of programs and services in the camps.
  • Training women in finance skills, legal services and economic opportunities in the camps.
  • Coordinating and collaborating with national and local women’s civil society groups.

More than our program interventions, it is our approach that lessens their pain, gives them hope, and raises their morale by restoring their self esteem and reinventing their confidence in their future.

Our team in Darfur says this: "We work in a different environment amidst difficult circumstances. The only motivation for us is the faces of children, mothers and youth who are helpless and live in dire conditions in the camps. They are our people and they are human beings. They deserve a normal life like all other people. For every Plan worker who is working in Darfur, this is the only inspiration."

How can you help women and children in Darfur?

Since 2005, Plan has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Abu Shouk, Al Salam and Zam Zam camps located in the vicinity of El Fasher, the capital of Northern Darfur. About 20,000 school children in Darfur benefit from Plan's program every year, and over 150,000 people benefit from our various programs and campaigns on hygiene promotion, malaria prevention, environmental sanitation, girl child education and child protection.