Sudan has a long history of conflicts between the central Nile valley and peripheral regions in the West (Darfur), South (South Sudan, Kordofan and Blue Nile, East (Beja), and North (Nubia). Darfur remains unevenly integrated into the central Sudanese state while the conflict continues. In 2019, years of political and economic crisis triggered an unprecedented nationwide non-violent struggle that brought an end to President Omar al Bashir’s 30-year reign. Subsequently, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC)—representing the protest movement—and the Transitional Military Council (TMC) agreed to establish a civilian-led government and a three-year transition towards new presidential elections.
The power-sharing government must navigate high expectations for change from all sides, while being constrained by a short timeline and limited capacity. The civilian leadership now faces growing threats from within, especially from competing political parties, security leadership resisting democratic change, and from old regime elements which intend on sabotaging their efforts. The peace process struggles to move forward and the proposed power-sharing arrangements currently under discussion threaten to weaken the FFC. The multiple movements for change that joined to remove Bashir continue to extend their national reach but with differing agendas that risk undermining their unity, while COVID-19 compounds the deepening economic crisis.
The overarching goal of USAID’s TEPS program in Sudan is to strengthen the foundation for democratic and peaceful Sudanese development by promoting stability and establishing a basis for longer-term development. Perhaps no single other investment can have a greater impact on stability in Sudan than supporting legitimate and meaningful participation in democratic processes with a long term view towards peace and improving economic opportunities for Sudanese citizens. This program serves as a catalyst for stability in Sudan by encouraging greater engagement between communities and government at state and local levels, while also strengthening the capacity of Sudanese citizens to productively engage with their elected officials. TEPS, through its implementing partners, works towards increasing the involvement of community members in determining priority needs and creating opportunities for improved government-community engagement and collaboration. The TEPS project responds to Sudan’s social, political, and economic realities through a flexible and adaptive approach to changing conditions and priorities, focused on achieving quick impact while also helping to create the enabling conditions for enduring peace and sustainable development.
The objectives and achievements of USAID TEPS are:
Development Objective 1: Improved intra- and inter-state relations at community level
TEPS has implemented community-based efforts to promote peaceful coexistence between communities and across borders within Sudan and its neighbors. TEPS equips Sudanese citizens and groups at state and local levels with skills and techniques to mitigate and resolve conflicts, prevent youth mobilization to violence, and support social and economic integration of war-affected areas. TEPS’ achievements and activities include:
Development Objective 2: Strengthened Sudanese participation in transition processes
TEPS builds awareness and mechanisms through which citizens can participate constructively in a national dialogue and transition process in order to build an outcome that represents their aspirations. TEPS also supports a constructive and peaceful civil society and citizen participation. It does this through capacity building of these critical components of inclusive governance, in order to engage in a national dialogue and play an effective role towards transition when it does occur. TEPS’ achievements include:
Development Objective 3: Increased resilience of communities to social and economic shocks
TEPS is contributing to efforts that strengthen resilience to social and economic shocks. In doing so, TEPS coordinates its efforts among donors and International Non-Government Organizations (INGO) to promote self-reliance, sustainable livelihoods, and peace building skills, especially for displaced populations. TEPS’ achievements are:
Development Objective 4: Civilian engagement with formal and informal governance mechanisms and transitional government efforts sustained throughout the transitional period
TEPS will continue to back civil society efforts to engage the state, connect with marginalized communities and groups, and advocate for democratic reform. This objective will allow TEPS to support the peace process, agreements, transitional justice, institutional reform, constitutional development, and elections as needed. A successful transition will represent a shift in gender, generational, and ideological norms across Sudan. It will empower women and historically marginalized people, and promote diversity.