Publication Date

Summer 2011

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

Sustainable development projects are a vital modern method in fighting poverty and in reducing unemployment; they provide the main motivation for communities to become involved in the decision-making process of building their lives in their society. International institutions focus on establishing sustainable development projects for many communities, but this concern has yet to reach those in the greatest need, such as the refugees in eastern Sudan.

This capstone paper identifies sustainability of sustainable development projects and microcredit, as well as the challenges facing these efforts. A case study was conducted on Eritrean refugees in Shagarab camp in eastern Sudan where American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA) implemented sustainable development projects. Data was collected using questionnaires, discussions via phone and internet, and ARAHA documents.

The study found that implementation of sustainable development projects was limited to three kinds of projects: education, water wells and livestock. Furthermore, these projects were limited to only a few families. Establishment of microcredit projects was found to be nonexistent; and more importantly, there has also been no evidence of engaging the community in any project stage. This lack of community participation will lead to further challenges within the community regarding the means of obtaining basic needs for the future. The low graduation rate from higher education, an overall lack of knowledge, as well as the absence of large international organizations contributes to impacting on improving refugees’ livelihoods. Additionally, women’s empowerment projects were completely unrealized, despite the undeniable role women play in community development.

Given the study’s findings, greater focus is needed regarding sustainable development projects for Eritrean refugees in eastern Sudan. The study recommends more research and assessment of sustainability projects to enhance the productivity of refugees and promote women’s empowerment. Furthermore, this effort can in turn increase international awareness in order to raise support for development projects targeting these refugees.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration