One Year Later: Women and Girls Bear the Brunt of Sudan's Conflict


15 April 2024


Monday, 15th April 2024 marks one year since the start of the conflict in Sudan which has displaced millions and led to the deaths of tens of thousands. The conflict has had severe impacts on women and girls who are bearing the brunt of it. From gender-based violence to displacement, eating the least, to lack of sufficient access to health services, the Sudan conflict has created a War on Women.

Over the past year, the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in the conflict in Sudan has been pervasive.

Ahead of the International Humanitarian Conference in Paris on Monday 15th April, CARE and its partners are urging member states and donors to address the crisis. A new advocacy brief calls for robust efforts to prevent sexual violence and guarantee access to gender-based violence response services, as well as address women’s and girls’ specific needs.

Abdirahman Ali, CARE Sudan Country Director, said:

“We are witnessing a war on women and girls, amid a terrible wave of violence for the whole country."

“Even before the most recent conflict, a staggering 3 million women and girls lived in fear of sexual or gender-based violence. That number has now spiked by nearly 60%, with a major increase in the need for gender-based violence services. This alarming statistic exposes the brutal reality of this conflict and the huge burden placed on Sudanese women and girls, especially those forced to flee their homes. The situation is only getting worse with every passing day.”


Image: CARE International in Sudan is distributing cash to vulnerable families in East Sudan ©Mohammed Abdulmajid/CARE

The heightened risks of gender-based violence are everywhere: from homes in conflict areas to overcrowded camps. Reports from the UN highlight the pervasive use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, with instances of trafficking and exploitation widespread. The impact of the conflict on women and girls is further aggravated by unmet sexual and reproductive health needs: the demand for these services has surged from 3.1 million to 6.7 million since April 2023. Only a fraction of those requiring assistance receive adequate support.

Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, CARE International Secretary-General, said:

“We need global leaders in Paris to turn the tide on this crisis. They must take this opportunity to come up with immediate, concrete solutions to the human tragedy that continues to unfold and is spilling over across the region. We cannot see another month of violence, brutality, and increased suffering.

The Paris Conference cannot be one of empty and hollow promises. It must result in decisive, meaningful, and inclusive commitments to respond to this devastating crisis to prevent farming, as has been said here, and bring an end to this war on women and girls.”

Women and girls make up the majority of the more than 8.5 million forcibly displaced, around 150,000 pregnant women cannot access proper care, with two-thirds of health centres not functioning. Displaced women face increased protection and health risks. Some women have been forced to resort to drastic actions such as engaging in survival sex or forced marriage. Of the more than 4.86 million people facing acute hunger in Sudan, 1.2 million are pregnant and breastfeeding women suffering from acute malnutrition.

Farmers like Hawa, a mother of five from East Darfur, are now too afraid to reach their fields due to security concerns.

“We fear being robbed, sexually harassed, or even worse. The conflict is affecting our lives as now we have nothing at all. People don't have money to buy what they need, which is really affecting us.”


Image: CARE International in Sudan is distributing cash to vulnerable families in East Sudan ©Mohammed Abdulmajid/CARE

Despite facing these immense challenges, women in Sudan are showing inspiring resilience and courage at the frontline of the humanitarian response in Sudan. They have been delivering vital support and assistance for women, girls, and other vulnerable groups when international organizations have been unable or severely restricted to deliver aid. However, these essential actors face greater barriers to receiving funding, support, and participation in decision-making.

Beyond immediate relief, empowering women and girls through increased funding for survivor-centred gender-based violence services and amplifying their voices in humanitarian response and peacebuilding initiatives will be vital.

Abdirahman stressed that:

"Amid the conflict, wrenching displacement, rampant hunger, and the looming threat of famine, women are at the forefront in responding to the crisis. As doctors, midwives, nurses, aid workers, and volunteers, everyday individuals offer support and relief to those suffering even at the expense of their own lives. Their unwavering dedication is a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit, a beacon that pierces the suffocating darkness. We must urgently support their tireless efforts. Immediate action is imperative to confront the myriad of challenges besieging women and girls in Sudan and neighbouring lands."

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact David Moore, Media Officer at CARE International UK,

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