Destruction of key infrastructure, homes and displacement have led to further disruption of protective environments and access to social services for children and adolescents and their caregivers. The recent floods have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities due to disease outbreaks—including COVID-19 and vaccine-derived polio—, conflict and poverty, leaving children exposed to different forms of abuse, violence, exploitation, neglect and psychosocial distress. Thousands of children and their parents lost documents and birth certificates in many regions, including Ombeinan Village, Sennar State, where 80 per cent of the families no longer have documentation. Most displacement areas present risks for children’s safety, and the disruption of social networks and loss of families’ income is likely to increase the likelihood of child labour and sexual exploitation. Children with disability may experience increased vulnerability due to lack of access to health and social services.
Child Protection partners continue to respond in the most affected areas in Darfur region, Aj Jazirah, Sennar, Blue Nile and Khartoum states. Six teams were deployed to support core child protection services, reaching 39,000 children across the country.
Overall, the response will have a community-based approach, through deployed mobile teams who will train and work with local protection actors. In addition, Child Protection activities will also integrate other services, including risk communication and community engagement due to COVID-19, prevention of diarrhoea-related diseases, vaccination, and malaria prevention.
Across the country, there are 18 organizations implementing Child Protection activities, and their operations can be scaled up in case of increased need. These partners have trained staff and mobile teams ready to be deployed to provide immediate life-saving services, strengthen community protection structures and systems and enhance coping and risk mitigation.
The main capacity gaps have been reported in Red Sea, Sennar, Aj Jazirah, Northern, River Nile, North Kordofan and West Kordofan states, due to limited presence of operational partners, as well as overstretched Child Protection services following the COVID-19 pandemic. Inadequate levels of stock and limitation in access to communities due to damages on the roads and COVID-19 are major challenges. Across Sudan, there are 300 community-based child protection networks, out of 1,650 required to respond with mobile services. The country has only 200 trained Child Protection workers, one third of the number required. Stocks and supplies are depleted, including tents meant for child friendly spaces now being used as family shelters.