Sudan: Key challenges
Vast country holding together disparate groups
The size of Sudan is equal to a full ten UKs and, on top of this vast geographic landscape, the country contains 597 tribes speaking 400 languages.
Since its independence in 1956, Sudan has seen only 11 years of peace. Bordering nine countries, many of which have their own problems with insecurity, problems also flow across national boundaries.
Its huge size presents major obstacles to providing development and aid, and the political environment is also challenging.
Conflict in the south
After a devastating civil war, many millions of refugees are now returning home - some after 20 years living in camps - and we support them to build their own homes and grow their own food again.
The causes of the conflict were complex, fuelled by persistent marginalisation and underdevelopment of areas of Sudan by an economically-growing capital Khartoum, and competition for access to political and economic power.
Fights over access to water and grazing land, often between nomads and settled communities, were fuelled by increasing droughts, while ethnic-religious tensions also played a role.
Conflicts still continue to flare-up and the peace agreement is struggling to be fully realised, with argument over control of the rich oil region in the centre of the country. The peace must be protected, as its failure could be devastating.
Conflict in the west
Darfur, to the north-west, has become a cause-celebre, gaining high profile global media coverage for the shocking death toll and human rights crisis as civilians are caught up in the conflict and villages burned.
The conflict between rebels and militia groups – often poor and landless themselves - results from many of the same problems as in the south, although in Darfur the warring factions are all Muslim.
The conflict has now spilt over into unstable neighbour Chad, whose government is also defending itself against rebel attack, and refugees who have walked for days for refuge find they have not escaped conflict on the other side.
We support others to provide shelter, safe water and sanitation, as well as building health clinics and schools for people living in the camps, running adult education classes, and training in handicraft and sewing to help people deal with trauma and earn an income.
We have offices in Khartoum in the north, Juba in the south, and a field-base in Maban in the east.