Participants at Nile Day 2021 Celebrations organized by Sudan Nile Discourse Forum in Khartoum - Sudan
On the 29th of April 2021, the Sudan Nile Discourse Forum (SNDF) celebrated National Nile Day 2021 at Khartoum under the theme "The role and voice of the local communities on Nile Basin development" Within the activities of the NBD regional Nile day year".

Sixty one (61) participants from local communities attended the national Nile day celebration. The event was also graced by a wide participation from the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, water experts, Civil Society Organizations, primary school students, Forest National Corporation Khartoum state, the media fraternity, SNDF volunteers, and SNDF Executive Committee members.

While giving his opening remarks, the Under-Secretary of Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources expressed his gratitude to the SNDF and NBD for organizing this celebration of National Nile day. He explained that “the recent years, Sudan has been facing a number of challenges, especially in areas related to environment and water issues, such as deforestation, lack of pastoral resources, misuse of water resources, land degradation, and climate change.”

Sudan is in the process of concluding many agreements and treaties related to the water of the Nile and the large development projects that will be established on it in the future. It was necessary therefore that SNDF continuously enlightens communities in Sudan and others around the Nile Basin of the importance of these development projects.

Overall objective

The National Nile Day celebration in Sudan aimed at improving the communities' knowledge of the Nile Basin environment to become more informed and prepare for participation in the current and future investment projects in the Nile Basin.

Specific objectives:
• Creating consensus on the roles of local communities' indigenous knowledge in the Nile basin development
• Creating a spirit of cooperation between Nile communities in the Sudan to improve Nile Basin environment for development and prosperity.
• Raising awareness and encouraging culture of participation in environment and water resources management among Nile communities and stakeholders in the Sudan.
• Establish a feedback mechanism for community participation for future development projects in the Sudan.

The role and voice of the local communities on large scale investments projects in the Nile Basin

In his presentation, Dr. Ahmed Adam Mohamed, a water expert and who also engineer and Ex Undersecretary of Ministry of irrigation and water resources, he focused on the largest investments project on the Nile basin internal and external of the Sudan land. On other hand the presentation focused on the challenges that faced all communities of the Nile basin such as poverty – climate change –Droughts - floods – soil erosion - adjustment of river flow and water quotas .
The lecture focused on opportunities available in joint cooperation between the Nile basin countries, to benefit from the implementing major development projects such as two-way trade – hydro-power generation –reducing evaporation –control and regulation of river discharge (flood period 3 months) – Economic integration (Ethiopia energy, Sudan agriculture ,Egypt manufacturing.

Detecting knowledge of children on Nile through drawing

A competition was held to detect knowledge of children on Nile through drawing
15 students from different age groups participated (4 females – 11 males). The competition's objective was to produce drawings reflecting the Nile and the environment by Children's Eyes. The competition started by the orientation about the environment and some photos of environmental violations.
There were also other activities like exhibition of various pictures of Nile and distributed about 200 seedlings in Arkwit Block 68 surrounding SNDF office and two main streets. Seedling were planted with partnership of Forests Cooperation Khartoum state and Green Khartoum initiative.

Results achieved

• Awareness of participants through discussions and lecture
• Dissemination of information about the investment projects to more than 60 people through the various media outlets.
• Creation of partnership with many governmental and civil society of common interest was created
• Activation of media network for the Nile Basin environment

Conclusions and recommendations made

• Commitment to conduct an environmental feasibility study for projects on the Nile, inside and outside Sudan.
• The importance of joint cooperation between the Basin countries in planning and implementing projects to save on effort and money.
• The importance of the role of media in spreading knowledge among the Nile Basin communities about development projects, (advantages and disadvantages).
• Pressuring governments to involve communities on projects planning before their establishment.

Challenges faced and mitigation measures taken

• The spread of Covid-19 made the work movement and organization very difficult.
• Covid-19 effect on the number and diversity of attendance - according to commitment, distances, and health conditions of would be participants

Lessons learnt

• Working in groups and forming smart partnerships helps in carrying out the work successfully.
• Ensure high dissemination of information through various media.

Author: Adil Mohammed Ali
National Technical Support Expert - Sudan

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