Research Activities

Research conducted by the staff of RIGDPR is mostly of an interdisciplinary nature, undertaken in partnership with academia and experts from NGOs or government in Sudan as well as from outside Sudan. They have led to a number of publications, linked to policy through the choice of choice of topics that are critical to Sudan’s national context, as well as activism on issues such as peace, legislation and empowerment. The theme of empowerment was explored through seven research studies that focused on diverse components of this broad issue. The methods applied range from secondary data and content analysis to qualitative methods, while surveys using quantitative methods have been less frequently carried out. These research studies have enabled internal capacity building for junior staff, the establishment of successful partnerships, publications, some curriculum development, the production of case studies and the achievement of some advocacy and changes in policy.

Previous Research

Factors Influencing Access of Women Migrant Domestic Workers to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services and Information in Khartoum State (2012-2014)

This study is funded by NORAD and will analyze the impact of policies and regulations on Ethiopian and Eritrean female migrant domestic workers’ access to health care services. It will investigate employers’ attitudes towards migrant domestic workers’ use and access to sexual and reproductive health services and the factors that influence the domestic workers’ health-seeking behavior for sexual and reproductive problems. The aim of the research is to formulate recommendations for policy and programs addressing Ethiopian and Eritrean female migrant domestic workers’ access to sexual and reproductive health services. The major premise behind this study is that seeking sexual and reproductive health information and services is a human rights issue. Therefore, this study is expected to inform future policy and programs in health and migration fields. It will enhance development of appropriate strategies that can improve access of female migrant domestic workers to sexual and reproductive health care. The study will also inform programs that can educate policy makers and employers on the sexual and reductive rights of these female workers and how to improve their access to care. Data produced from this study can also inform advocacy work by NGOs and advocates for legal reform to protect the rights of female migrants.

Gender Analysis of Environmental Governance in Sudan (2012-2013)

Funded by NORAD, this research project will explore the position of women in different environmental mechanisms, policies and strategies, and attempt to understand the implications of women's existing roles and responsibilities in the management of environmental institutions for development and institutional innovations. It also aims to promote the use of gender analysis to identify new opportunities for innovation that involve a concomitant change in women's status, and to generate essential information that could be used for gender mainstreaming at all levels in the formulation of future legislation and policies, as well as planning and monitoring interventions in the environmental domain. The study findings will assist in the design and implementation of programs, strategies and policies that maximize the production and participation of both men and women in order to contribute to the achievement of equitable and environmentally sound forms of governance. The research results and outputs are intended to contribute towards creating positive change in environmental governance, and enhancing the capacity to fulfill two of the main Millennium Development Goals: the enhancement of women’s empowerment, gender equity and equality, and ensuring environmental sustainability. In addition, the research will contribute to the academic and research community in terms of data availability, building the capacity of the research team and empowering the research respondents.

The Introduction of the Quota System in Sudan and its Impact on Enhancing Women’s Political Engagement (2011-2013)

This research is part of a regional study funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC). It focuses on women’s political participation in Sudan, with special emphasis on young women. It aims to identify factors that affect women’s political participation and explore the introduction of women’s quotas in the 2010 elections and their impact on enhancing women’s engagement in politics, both within political parties and in general. The findings will fill an important gap in the literature on women’s political participation in Sudan, and will benefit women activists, civil society organizations, political parties, government bodies, international organizations and academics in Sudan and beyond.

Ethnic Identity, Cultural Diversity and Conflict Resolution in Sudan. Case Study on the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State (2011-2012)

This project is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). It examines how people from the Blue Nile and Nuba regions perceive their own identity and their strategies for obtaining their rights and affirming their ethnic identity in the face of dominant groups in Sudan. In addition, it looks at the government’s policy towards these groups with regard to cultural actualization, integration and acceptance, and whether the federal system can effectively promote multiculturalism and diversity in order to achieve stability and peace. The study aims to come up with strong policy recommendations concerning how ethnic identity and cultural diversity can be managed to reach sustainable peaceful coexistence and a just peace; how human rights can be recognized by state institutions including the constitution at both federal and state levels; and how democracy can be utilized to promote diversity and reconciled with justice to guarantee the rights of both majority and minority groups. The inequalities within and between ethnic groups in the study areas will also be highlighted.

Assessing Diversity at AUW: Perception and Management (2011-2012)

This NORAD-funded project will assess the level of diversity within the AUW from a feminist intersectional perspective and the staff and students’ reaction towards it, and draw up a proposal for corrective measures if necessary. It will look at the definition of diversity at the AUW, students’ perception of diversity in Sudan, AUW students’ experience of diversity and how they define it. Based on the most recent intersectionality-related theories about handling diversity in institutions, the study will suggest new guidelines that might help raise understanding and tolerance levels towards diversity within the University. The main output of the research will be drawing a social composition map of the AUW from a feminist intersectional perspective, its implications with regard to diversity handling and equal treatment, and the writing of a final document that includes not only gender, but also all the other identity traits that intersect in individuals and groups within the AUW. This document will highlight the experience of the staff of AUW in relation to diversity and how they handle it. Moreover, it will analyze the experience of the students in this regard and explore whether they think that the AUW is helping them to integrate themselves into university life and society.

Equitable Health (2009-2013)

This study assesses the accessibility and quality of care provided to vulnerable groups. It is being carried out by a multidisciplinary research team from several African countries and two countries in the North (Ireland and Norway).

Policy Analysis on Migration in Sudan (2009-2011)

This study is aimed at reviewing the situation of migration and population mobility in Sudan during the last twenty years, and examining policies regarding laws for refugees and the displaced population. The research also addresses the gender dimension of migration and its impact on policy making. This research is part of the Edulink program between the Institute and the University of Oldenburg in Germany funded by the EU. Another two research studies were completed as part of this program in 2011 with the aim of bringing about development interventions. One study is on assessing assimilation, transformation and the impact in well-being and self-actualization among the displaced population in Khartoum state. The research uses qualitative and quantitative methods and case studies from both genders to reflect on the decision of returning to South Sudan. Policies and development interventions will be identified as key recommendations for decision makers in Khartoum state. The second study was on the political economy of foreign labor in Khartoum state, examining the value of migrant labor and the impact of economic policies of the country on attracting foreign labor through a case study of the health sector.

Survey of the Organizational Capacity and Training Needs of the State Ministries of Education (2009-2010)

This commissioned study was conducted in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of General Education as part of the project on the education information management system which was introduced in the fifteen ministries of education in the northern states of Sudan, funded by the EU. Three teams were formed by AUW, under the supervision of the Institute, in order to carry out this crucial national survey. The research was carried out in 2009 and lasted one year. It aimed to review the structural organization of the ministries, assess the capacity of their human resources, and identify training needs of the staff. The research used both structured and semi-structured interview sheets, and focus group discussion. The results assisted planners in formulating future national strategies for improving human resources, the education environment in schools, and the operational environment of the ministries.

Contesting the Interim National Constitution of Sudan (2007-2008)

This research focuses on contesting and debating the current Sudanese Interim Constitution of 2005, assessing the constitution from a good governance and gender perspective. The research is part of the project on Macro-Micro Peace in Sudan funded by the Christian-Michelsen-Institute (CMI) in Norway. The research was undertaken by one researcher based on desk research, using content analysis method to review, critically analyze and assess the evolution of constitutions in Sudan. A workshop for activists and policy makers was held to further discuss the findings, and the proposed amendments for a new forthcoming constitution. The findings were given to four experts who provided further comments and information on the topic. Both the workshop and comments were used as tools to substitute for interview and focus group discussion methods. The method was fruitful, generating some new ideas and information as well as emphasizing many findings, indicating that the findings and recommendations were logical and acceptable. The research was completed in 2008, and two papers were produced in Arabic along with a research report in English.

Talking Empowerment in Arabic (2007-2008)

This research was initiated as part of the Pathways to Women’s Empowerment Project: The research project used a combination of strategies, including a research competition, fieldwork by the three winners, a literature review, and content analysis of proverbs and songs related to empowerment issues. A workshop was held where UN agencies, NGOs and government representatives as well as the Institute presented their experiences of projects geared towards women's empowerment, explaining their conceptualization of the term and indicators for measuring it.

Sudanese Women’s Awareness of their Constitutional Rights (2006-2008)

This study aimed at assessing Sudanese women's rights in the constitution and their awareness of these rights. Research on awareness was done by a staff member working as team leader, with Gender and Development MSc students as data collectors who also used the research as a basis for their dissertations. It was undertaken in five states in Sudan, funded by the Ministry of Higher Education.

Women in Decision Making Positions (2006-2007)

This research was undertaken in partnership with the Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR). The study was a regional one involving four countries. The methods used were mostly qualitative, with some use of quantitative methods. The output was a publication. During the research process, initial findings were discussed in a workshop involving research participants, civil society and some decision makers in government. The research can be used as a model for using mixed research methods; it also involved junior and senior staff, enabling capacity building for junior staff. Another research study was previously carried out in collaboration with CAWTAR in 1994-96 on the issue of Women and Labor.

Good Governance and Gender Equality Research (2006)

This study was commissioned by UNDP to assess the needs of NGOs and universities for voter education and capacity building on issues of good governance.

Gender Mainstreaming in Sudanese Universities (2005-2006)

A study was undertaken specifically to develop a checklist for gender mainstreaming in universities as a project commissioned by the World Bank Institute. The checklist developed was tested by undertaking research in five universities. The findings were presented in two workshops for the vice chancellors of fifteen universities and key staff in universities, mainly women and decision makers at the Ministry of Higher Education. A book was published in 2008; its dissemination can have a policy impact or be used by activists to bring about change. The checklist is the first that has been developed to assess/audit gender specifically for universities.

Women’s Health Profile (2004)

This study on women's health was mainly desk research commissioned by WHO and carried out with the Ministry of Health, the Sudanese Women’s Union, the Institute and the School of Health Sciences at AUW. The research included workshops to adjust the guidelines of the research set by WHO on where to find data, analysis and report writing with a team comprising the three partners, a team leader and coordinator. It included a multidisciplinary team of medical doctors, health scientists, sociologists, gender experts and legalists. The research findings were presented in a workshop for senior policy makers and a report was produced for publication by WHO headquarters. The findings have not been extensively used as case studies, but the statistical data gathered provided useful sources for researchers or activists on women's health.

Adolescents’ and Women’s Rights in Sudanese Legislation (2004)

This research was undertaken as part of a regional study on the Arab World sponsored by UNFPA. The research was desk-based, using international conventions as a standard for assessing Sudanese legislation in the areas of criminal, labor, family, and reproductive health laws and socio-political rights in the constitution. The research highlighted the factors that have had an impact on law making and the violence against women in some articles or laws, and made suggestions for changes in existing articles as well as new laws. The research used content analysis methods and was undertaken by a multidisciplinary team of ten researchers including legal specialists, sociologists, gender experts, a medical doctor and a political scientist, led by a research team leader. Workshops were held to set the objectives and guidelines for the research as well as to review the findings and disseminate them to policy makers and political leaders. The final output was six booklets in the form of a training package and a CD produced so as to be used by activists for advocacy and capacity building purposes. The series is out of print and some laws have become the subject of debate, but no changes have yet taken place. If a new political context arises, this work may provide a basis for achieving change. Several workshops and research studies have followed this work, which was pioneering in nature, being comprehensive in its review of five laws as well as critical and analytical in approach and using objective criteria for assessment.

Sudanese Women’s Strategies: Challenges and Prospects (2002-2004)

Five studies were undertaken as part of a link project between the Institute and Humboldt University of Berlin and the Free University in Berlin. The link project included student exchanges, summer schools and staff exchanges. The project was selected as one of the best partnership programs funded by DAAD (The German Higher Education Exchange Programme). Ten senior staff from both countries and another four junior staff, three from AUW and one from Humboldt, were the main researchers. The research was participatory in developing its objectives, guidelines and methodology. The topics researched were Rural Women and Finance; Women Entrepreneurs in Urban Markets for Food and Beverages; Gender Dimensions of Time and Space in Rural Areas; Ecology and Gender with an Emphasis on Food Security; and Suburban Agriculture as a Survival Strategy: Problems and Conditions for Problem Solutions.

The team of researchers was interdisciplinary, including economists, sociologists, agronomists and researchers with a management background. The gender dimension in the research was considered, but the focus was on women. As the research developed several workshops were undertaken on methodology, discussing findings and dissemination within academia. Though the objective was to influence policy and design a project to address the research findings, due to lack of funds this was not done. The findings are used as case studies in different courses at the Institute, the School of Rural Development and the School of Management Studies at AUW. The research led to the achievement of the key objectives of capacity building and curriculum development. A research methodology course was developed and offered to NGOs and universities. Moreover, junior staff managed to get their doctoral degrees through participation in the research project. The research findings were published in 2007 and 2008 in journals and periodicals of both AUW and Humboldt University of Berlin.

Assessment Survey of UNFPA-Supported Integrated RH/Income Generating Projects (2001)

This research aimed at assessing the impact of IGAs on women’s empowerment and enhancement of their reproductive health status, as well as contributing to the development of indicators for assessing women’s empowerment, reproductive health (RH) and sustainability of IGA projects.

Adolescents and RH/FP (2000)

This socio-cultural survey aimed at investigating the knowledge, attitude and practice of adolescents on reproductive health and family planning issues in Umbadda area in Omdurman. It was commissioned by UNFPA.

Operational Research on FGM (2000)

This project was an effort at involving the community in Umbadda (Omdurman) in identifying solutions for eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM). It was part of UNFPA-sponsored research studies in 2000.

Health-Seeking Behavior towards Vagina Discharge (2000)

This research identified the socio-cultural aspects that influence and guide the health-seeking behavior of women regarding their reproductive morbidity. The research led to a doctoral thesis. It was funded by UNFPA.

Quality of Care in RH Centers in Umbadda, Omdurman (2000)

This study aimed to assess the quality of care in reproductive health centers in the Umbadda area. A training manual on the topic was subsequently developed.

Study on the Situation of FGM in Khartoum, Sudan (2000)

This study for UNICEF attempted to re-evaluate the status of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Sudan using qualitative methods to study in depth the behavior and thinking of different actors involved in the practice.

Inter-Communal Conflicts in Sudan (1999-2001)

This research project was undertaken in 1999 on the theme of inter-communal conflicts in Sudan, their causes, resolution mechanisms and conflict transformation. The research was undertaken in five regions in Sudan – Darfur, the Eastern region, River Nile State, the Nuba Mountains and the Southern region – in collaboration with staff from the universities of Khartoum and Juba. The research team comprised ten researchers, including social anthropologists, legal specialists, public administrators, political scientists and conflict resolution trainers. The study was carried out in partnership with the Center for Strategic Initiative in Washington as well as Novib in Holland which funded the research. It was started in 1999 and ended in 2001, and a publication was issued in 2005. The process of developing the research objectives and guidelines was participatory and closely monitored to enable comparisons to be made between the case studies in the five regions. The study was interdisciplinary, using mainly anthropological methods, historical review, legal document analysis as well as interviews. The research emphasized the gender dimension, highlighting women's engagement in conflict instigation, resolution and transformation. The findings indicated their subordinate role in these processes. The research provided key case studies on conflict in Sudan, and was widely used by policy makers both in Sudan and outside Sudan. It is used in academia as informative material on multicultural conflicts in Sudan.

Muslim Women’s Experiences (1999-2001)

The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) of the Netherlands embarked on a research project about Muslim women’s experiences and views regarding education, health and knowledge of Islam. The research was carried out in six Muslim countries in Africa and Asia as well as among Muslim communities in Holland. The research included rural and urban women of different classes and ages. Research methodology combined life histories, case studies, group discussion and interviews. The institute participated through two staff members who were part of the data collection research team, organizing workshops to discuss the initial project focus, objectives etc., as well as the participation of senior staff in the final research report analysis and presentation in the Hague. The main objectives of the research were to help policy makers in the Netherlands and in the countries where the research was undertaken to promote women’s education and health through interventions that take women’s concerns and views into account. A publication and country reports were the output.

Sustainability of Income Generating Projects (1999)

This research project was carried out in 1999 on the topic of the sustainability of income generating (IG) projects directed at women. It was policy-oriented desk research. It included a search for case studies, projects on IG in Sudan, and a workshop to discuss the cases and come up with policy recommendations. The output was policy recommendations that influenced future projects aimed at women, including the need to include a credit component as well as awareness rising. The cases are used at undergraduate level for the course on gender studies as well as in the Policy and Project Management course at MSc level. A book was published in 2000. This research was undertaken in partnership with several Sudanese NGOs and UNFPA. The latter funded the research, workshop and publication.