|dc.description.abstract||Based in New York, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has been working in the Sudan since the 1980’s. During this time, this Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) has shown itself to be a leader in its field. Funded by numerous agencies and aiding hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries, IRC’s role in Sudan is constantly growing. Poised between the people whom it serves and the Government of Sudan, in whose territory it operates, the NGO roles as advocates and social service providers places them in a challenging position.
Since the first international NGOs entered Sudan during the great famine and war in the 1980’s, the government has become increasingly suspicious of their actions. More recently, however, NGOs have become more commonplace in Sudan, funding and managing many of the social programmes in the country, including education, health care, water and sanitation and even infrastructure projects. This presence in the country has lent international political clout to NGOs, but has created resentment by the Sudanese government.
This situation is not unique. Around the globe many countries are being pressured by NGOs to alter policy direction. The concept of good governance has become prevalent in Western funding departments and donor organisations, calling for its use to encourage governments to become more democratic. In order to access funding, NGOs must therefore shift their focus to a greater emphasis on ‘good governance’ as well. This is indeed the case of the IRC whose broad mission includes strengthening civil society and enabling good governance in Sudan.
The strong presence of NGOs combined with the sheer number of people they serve, the types of services that they provide, and their influence both nationally and internationally has lent credibility to the belief that these organisations are important entities in Sudan. However, the ability to carry out their mandates in times of emergencies and crisis is challenging as they must work within the constructs of the communities in which they serve and with the government of Sudan, which controls several of their activities.||en_US