The Development Impact of NGO Activities in the Red Sea Province of Sudan: A Critique


  • Hassan Ahmed Abdel Ati

    1. (Department of Geography, University of Khartoum, PO Box 321, Khartoum) specializes in regional planning and rural development. As well as writing several papers on environmental degradation in northern Sudan, and its socioeconomic consequences, he has been involved in research for the Red Sea Area Programme, a joint research venture between the University of Khartoum and the University of Bergen.
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This article examines the results of, and the prospects for, the declared shift of NGOs from relief operations to development activities in the Red Sea Province of eastern Sudan. Statistical and qualitative information contained in the reports of NGOs themselves provides the main data source on which the analysis is based. Although NGOs have been successful in conducting massive relief operations in the area, the article asserts that they have not yet and are not expected to achieve any tangible results on the development front. The main reason for this is the apparent misconception of development on the part of the NGOs as an isolated, localized activity which they can perform; another is the NGOs' failure to recognize the difference in the methods, means and prerequisites necessary for relief and for development; a third is the failure of NGOs to equip local institutions to absorb and/or sustain any achieved ‘development’, since most NGOs operate in complete isolation from governmental and traditional Beja institutions.