Scaling up sanitation and hygiene across Sudan

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For the past six months, a wide range of actors have been working to develop the Sudan National Sanitation and Hygiene Strategic Framework.

Once finalised, the Framework will help to speed and scale up efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene services and practices across the country.

WASH expert Sarah House explains RedR’s contribution to this vital initiative. In recent years, Sudan has made progress in the area of sanitation and hygiene - but the country still faces some significant challenges. For example, 29% of the Sudanese population currently practice open defecation. Only 68% have access to an improved water source. Schools are underequipped in terms of latrines and hand-washing facilities, and unsafe disposal of sewage and hazardous wastes are major risks to health.

However, the newly-developed Sudan National Sanitation and Hygiene Strategic Framework (SNSHSF) directly addresses these challenges. Once finalised, it will guide all sanitation and hygiene efforts across the country.

The framework covers the key areas of household excreta disposal and hygiene promotion; institutional and public sanitation and hygiene; and environmental health services. It also looks at a number of ‘cross-cutting issues’ and the ‘building blocks’ of a successful sanitation and hygiene strategy including: legal and policy frameworks; institutional responsibilities; finance; planning; monitoring, review and learning; and capacity-building.

Pictured: Participants from UNICEF and the Ministry of Health at the SNSHSF validation workshop in Khartoum in August 2016

The framework was drawn up through a consultative process led by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), and involving representatives from the Government of Sudan, civil society, the private sector and universities, the UN, development partners and humanitarian donors. The process has been funded by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and supported by a core group of representatives from the FMoH, UNICEF, WHO, Khartoum State and RedR UK in Sudan.

For the past six months, the RedR Sudan team and myself have been facilitating development of the framework. We facilitated an analysis of the current situation and obtained recommendations from sector professionals through a desk review and holding workshops and interviews with people from across Sudan before drawing up a draft. This then went through a review process and is now being revised. The Federal Ministry of Health will then finalise the framework, approve it for use, and finalise the action plan and budget for its implementation.

The framework will enable the Government of Sudan and its partners to speed and scale up their efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene across the country.

The committed and hard-working people involved in the process make me hopeful that Sudan will make significant progress on this critical issue, which affects so many rights and aspects of life.


Sarah House (pictured) is an independent water and sanitation consultant and public health engineer with 25 years of experience in the global WASH sector. Sarah is also a RedR Member and Associate Trainer.

Why is sanitation and hygiene so important?

Access to adequate sanitation facilities, along with good sanitation and hygiene practices, is critical for human health, dignity, and economic development. They also contribute to the attainment of a number of human rights, including survival, well-being, attaining an adequate standard of living, health, education, and gender equality.

Find out more about RedR's work in Sudan: