Periscope :Water should be Top Priority in Eastern Sudan
There is a basic and fundamental concept on human sustainable development that have formulated almost two decades ago by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, precisely from the First Report in 1990.
This concept says simply that sustainable human development is: Development of the people, by the people, for the people.
Unfortunately, this concept is almost completely absent from the minds of the East Sudan Development Fund and their partners, national or foreign.
Looking at just one or two of the projects that the Fund has planned to implement prove the above assumption.
The Fund intends to implement sanitation projects at the cost of US $ 250 millions on sanitation in some cities in the East (Al Sudani Newspaper 11 April 2012). It is difficult to put such an act in the category of a comedy or black tragedy because how can someone think of sanitation projects in cities that has very chronic shortage of water. This doesn’t mean that sanitation is not important but it is an issue of priorities. First of all the people in Eastern Sudan at present are in a desperate need for water more than sanitation and secondly how will these sanitation systems work without adequate supply of water. The natural result that they will be blocked in no time and the funds spent goes with the wind.
In addition, an easily accessible clean water supply source help people to settle and have a big impact on access to education and reduce by a large percentage contaminated water related diseases. The same applies to the sum of US$ 275 billion that will be spent on road construction in North Kassala State which could have been utilized for a more effective development projects on water from the Gash River (same above source).
It is almost funny that Japan had provided US$ 13 million for the urgent improvement of the water supply facilities in Kassala City while the Fund is spending US $ 250 million on sanitation.
Also, there are some serious concerns about the Fund that needs to addressed, first why should the Fund HQ be in Khartoum and not in one of the Eastern States and this leads to another issue the very high over heads expenditure of the fund because of its location in Khartoum. On this point, the accepted model in development projects that the Over-heads should not exceed 8 to 10 percent of the projects cost. Can any one independently and transparently verify that this is the rule applied in the East Sudan Development Fund.
In conclusion, we would like to say that there is a great and urgent need to review and re-organize the Fund on the principle that development is the development of the people, by the people, for the people. There is still a chance for a better performance for the fund but under this concept.
By Alula Berhe Kidani, 17/04/2012