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Child Labour Among Forcibly Displaced and Host Communities East Darfur and West Kordofan States, Sudan

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Sudan has a long history of hosting refugees and asylum seekers, some of whom are looking for better employment opportunities, but most are fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries. The majority of the 1.1 million refugees are South Sudanese, but Sudan also hosts refugees from Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Many of the refugees in Sudan reside in rural out-of-camp settlements, which are often located in remote and underdeveloped areas with limited resources, infrastructure and basic services in the country’s southern states, Darfur, Kordofan and White Nile.

In 2019, the Partnership for improving prospects for host communities and forcibly displaced persons (PROSPECTS) was launched with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Netherlands MFA). The Partnership is focusing its technical assistance on improving the quality of life for forcibly displaced and host communities from al Nimir camp and the nearby settlement of Assalaya in East Darfur, and Al Meiram and Kharasana Settlements in West Kordofan.

PROSPECTS Partners have committed to adopting New Ways of Working so as to provide a more integrated approach by humanitarian and development partners to address protracted displacement. All across Sudan communities face social protection threats,; including gender-based violence, targeted attacks, the worst forms of child labour, and other violations of basic rights. The restriction on freedom of movement in conflict-affected areas also affects these communities’ ability to engage in income generating activities. To survive many households are forced to adopt ‘negative coping’ strategies and mechanism; including semi-bonded labour, poor working conditions, and child labour.

The analytical framework for this Child Labour Assessment was jointly developed by Consilient Sudan, the PROSPECTS Sudan programme team, the PROSPECTS Global Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, as well as through the contributions of a number of key technical specialists from various ILO technical departments. This includes, technical specialists from the Skills and Employability Branch, the Enterprises Department, the ILO’s Jobs for Peace and Resilience Unit, the Child labour Branch, and the ILO’s Social Protection Department.

Data collection for this assessment was completed in January 2021 with the surveying of 1,172 households, completing 64 key informant interviews, and 32 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and community members in Khartoum, East Darfur (Ed-Daein, Assalaya and El Nimir Camp), and West Kordofan (El Fula,
Kharasana/Keilak, and Al Meiram). The assessment has been able to collect evidence and report on the magnitude of children’s work and child labour in forcibly displaced persons (FPD) and host communities (HC) in West Kordofan and East Darfur. Report finding also highlight the main factors that push children into child labour, and what are those that prevent children from working. Finally, there are clear recommendations on how to decrease, eliminate and prevent child labour in HCs and FDP communities.

I would like to congratulate the Government of Sudan for its continuous efforts towards creating the necessary conditions to promote self-reliance and integration of refugee populations, in spite of the numerous economic and political challenges faced in the country. I would particularly like to thank Consilient Sudan for their excellent work in conducting the assessment, and the UNHCR and UNICEF and the IFC for their collaboration with the ILO. Finally, I would like to thank the Embassy of the Netherlands for their generous support to this assessment and the production of this report, undertaken in the wider context of the innovative PROSPECTS Partnership.

Alexio Musindo


ILO Country Office for Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan and Special Representative to the African Union (AU) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)