Khartoum — The European Union (EU) is supporting Government authorities in Eastern Sudan to create an evidence-based, innovative, and sustainable development and protection solution for refugees and host communities and hence provide alternatives to irregular primary and secondary migration.
To that end, Landell Mills, the international development consultancy implementing the EU-funded "Capacity Building Project for State Authorities in Eastern Sudan", organised a five-day workshop in Khartoum from 4th - 8th July 2021. The training enhanced the statistical capacities of state government officials from the ministries of Finance, Education, Health, Water and Sanitation and Production and Resources to better serve development planning in the three states of Kassala, Red Sea and Gedaref.
"Embracing the data revolution, governments and development partners need to work collaboratively to promote the value of data and strengthen the evidence base on the significance of investing in data, as a critical enabler for governments to accurately plan, fund and evaluate development interventions", said Ms. Kawther Badri, Landell Mills Key Expert on this EU-funded project, in the workshop's opening remarks.
Ms. Badri added that, in the era of big data and artificial intelligence, where data is being recognised as the new oil or gold, and lifeblood of decision-making, lack of accurate, reliable, and timely data poses a serious challenge to developing countries' progress towards the SDGs promise of "leaving no one behind".
Ms. Badri called upon trainees to advocate for data-driven development planning and to purposefully engage in spreading the knowledge and skills gained through this training to colleagues and counterparts in their respective states to effectively participate in the local development planning process. She stressed the importance of sharing their new knowledge and skills as the role of Government extends beyond its traditional services to contribute to community development and economic growth by exploiting the resources, capabilities, and skills available at local levels, including the enormous and valuable data collected and stored over the years in all vital sectors.
On his part, Mr. Abd Moneim Osman, the Assistant Director at the Directorate of Economic Planning and Development of Kassala State Ministry of Finance and Manpower, hailed the EU's support to development efforts in east Sudan in general and Kassala State in particular. "The EU had previously supported building the capacity of government officials in eastern Sudan in strategic planning, project design, and monitoring and evaluation to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals".
Ms. Manahel Abdelrazig from the Ministry of Finance, Red Sea State explained "I came from Port Sudan, Red Sea State, to participate in the workshop that aimed to build our capacities in collecting and using data and statistics to inform development and service projects. During the five days' training, we had first-hand experience of using data collection tools, designing, processing and analysing data and data indicators to serve health, education, water and sanitation and other services and development sectors".
In November 2018, the EU contracted Landell Mills to implement the "Capacity Building Project for State Authorities in the East" which is one component of the predominantly EU-funded Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP) for the Horn of Africa. Landell Mills works closely with the State Ministry of Finance and Manpower in Kassala to strengthen the local development process, including enhancing the capacity of the Ministry's Directorate of Economic Planning and Development.
Overall, it is expected that the project will contribute towards improving the livelihoods, human development, and overall wellbeing of both refugees and host communities in East Sudan through improved and sufficient capacity to establish a reliable data information system.