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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article3 September 20202 min read

Sudan: Nawal, a local from the Blue Nile State, and Amani, whose family fled to this region, became successful business owners after a leather-crafting workshop

Nawal Khalifa (in the middle in blue) during the leather workshop
© GIZ/ Alzein Musa

Nawal Khalifa Abdalla and Amani Adam Jadead both live in Ed Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile State, in Sudan. Amani is from a local family in Blue Nile State whereas Nawal’s family are internally displaced people who fled to the region.

Before Amani participated in the leather-crafting workshop at the Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Ed Damazin, she was a housewife caring for her children, husband and her elderly parents. She did not have her own income and was dependent on her husband’s small salary. As she had not attended secondary school nor had any professional training, her employability was low.

When Nawal divorced from her husband a few years ago, she also lost his financial support. “It was really difficult to find a job as a woman living in this camp”, she reports. Nawal had to return to her family’s house. The family had no regular income either and were struggling to feed and care for all family members. Nawal’s return, therefore, caused a lot of tensions particularly between her and her father.

Amani and Nawal are two of the 70 women who participated in a short-term course in Leather and Synthetics Processing at the Vocational Training Centre in Ed Damazin, which were supported by the Cross-Border Collaboration Programme for Western Ethiopia and Eastern Sudan (CBCES). “During the workshop, we learned how to assemble, cut and stitch on leather or synthetics. We were also instructed in safety measures and some calculations”, Amani says. “I can now produce leather hand bags, sandal shoes, wallets and belts.”

After having completed the short-term course, Amani bought some raw materials and trained her three daughters and three girls from the neighbourhood in the same skills. Now they are producing four dozen handbags a day and selling them at the Damazin market. With her income, she can earn a living for her children and support her sick mother. “I am even planning to extend my little business”, Amani proudly announces. “I am regularly going to give workshops, so I can train more women in my area. I want to help the women in my community have a better future.”

After the workshop Nawal also started her own leather works business at home, producing handbags and belts. Her mother and two sisters help her processing the leather. Her father sells the products in the camp area of Ed Damazin. “My family now has an own income and I see big chances to even expand the business”, Nawal says. She is very happy with her new status and her father says he is proud of her for being able to help the family.

The Cross-Border Collaboration Programme in Western Ethiopia and Eastern Sudan aims to develop economic opportunities and improve overall living conditions in the border region. It is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany and co-funded by the European Union through its Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). The implementation is promoted by Ethiopian and Sudanese government institutions as well as by the Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD). The programme supports vocational training with a focus on young people on both sides of the border in Blue Nile State, Sudan, and in Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia, so that youth can be more economically active, acquire access to employment, or start their own business.


Publication date
3 September 2020

Programmes in the region