Sudanese Refugee Women: Community Leadership, Community Development


The URBAN REFUGEES Incubation Program and the Sudanese Women for Peace and Development Association

In August 2019, the Urban Refugees Incubation Program started supporting the refugee-led Sudanese Women for Peace and Development Association (SWPDA) in identifying areas of technical improvement to enhance its financial sustainability, professional networks and partnership development. SWPDA is seeking tools to increase its visibility as a trustworthy stakeholder in the refugee response.


URBAN REFUGEES (UR) facilitated trainings on fundraising, financial management, partnership development and communication, and will continue with trainings in project management, income generation, and governance.


UR’s partnership development training module enabled SWPDA to leverage the knowledge of its own refugee community to create a digital database of vulnerable community members. This exercise resulted in the initiation of a partnership with Mercy Corps, which is contemplating an economic empowerment program that would deliver three-month cash grants to the most vulnerable families within the community.


Additionally, SWPDA is developing a partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to develop strategies to combat sexual and gender-based violence and strengthen skills for economic independence. SWPDA is also in talks to partner with Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID), a key refugee-led organization (RLO) in East Africa, to provide English language and computer skills workshops and to develop a joint grant request to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund to face COVID-19 related challenges.


The Incubation Program’s fundraising training enabled SWPDA to pitch its mission to representatives from UR, the UN, the American Embassy and members of the private sector in Kampala.


“This first experience was difficult but I learned a lot. I feel very confident in writing proposals now and I am determined to write many more in the future,” said Shima Bahre Abdallah, SWPDA Deputy Chairperson and Project Manager. “We feel like many doors can be opened to us now!”


SWPDA is a female refugee-led organization based in Kampala, Uganda, founded in 2014. It is committed to unifying and empowering all Sudanese refugee women equally and providing support to the most vulnerable members of their communities.


SWPDA is currently impacting some 600 women and children. It offers a safe shelter to female survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, supports community newcomers with the refugee registration process that allows them to receive assistance from NGOs and provides food during Ramadan. A key player within the Sudanese refugee community, SWPDA facilitates the sharing of information with larger organizations to ensure impactful humanitarian aid to those who need it.


SWPDA’s skill development has had a positive impact on the organization’s own self-confidence and energy. This is a tangible example of UR’s mission of supporting refugee-led organizations to become key actors within the refugee humanitarian response in order to foster sustainable refugee leadership.

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