Hawata model project, Sudan
The Hawata Model Project in Gedaref State, eastern Sudan, illustrates how the principles outlined in UNHCR's Environmental Guidelines can be put into practice.
Raising the level of awareness for environmental issues has been a critical aspect of this project. Two successful workshops have been organised to strengthen the capacity of the national implementing agency - the Forest National Corporation - and other partners: the first focusing on domestic energy needs and management, which included training on survey techniques; the second on environmental awareness at the camp level and among implementing partners. A baseline survey on domestic energy needs of Hawata was concluded in November 1997 and an environmental awareness strategy for the camp is currently being drawn up with assistance from the UNESCO Programme of Education for Emergencies and Reconstruction.
A total of 3,500 tree seedlings have been planted around homes, schools and in public places. Survival rates ranged from 40 per cent in public places to 90 per cent around homes and 99 per cent in schools. Seventeen hectares of greenbelts will be established, and preparations for rehabilitation are well underway prior to the onset of rains (mid-June). The FNC-managed tree nursery has been restored and is stocked with more than 50,000 seedlings.
In an effort to reduce domestic energy requirements, fuel-efficient stoves and cooking practices have been promoted. The project has established local capacity to produce improved mud stoves at zero cost, replacing less efficient, traditional stoves. A total of 800 improved stoves have been made by refugees and locals under guidance of the project staff.
Through the combined approaches outlined above, environmental concerns are now much better integrated into the day-to-day management of the camp. Especially important has been the organisation of a Project Steering Committee which provides stakeholders with a common forum for discussion and planning. The positive messages from these activities are greatly appreciated by the host government: plans are already underway to replicate certain practices at other sites.
An evaluation mission is scheduled to visit Hawata. Following this, consideration will be given to strengthening the scope of project activities within Hawata and to applying some of the lessons learned through from this model project to other refugee camps in the Sudan.