Serious donors gathered in Doha, Qatar, Sunday to raise billions for Sudan’s Darfur region, which has suffered from more than a decade of civil war. The hopeful donors are seeking $7.25 billion, which will bring sustainable development to Darfur.
"There is an opportunity to assist the people of Darfur through massive generosity," said Ali Al-Zatari, the representative of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Sudan.
Darfur was the center of what many called genocide against the areas’ Black, herding tribes by the Sudanese government. Conflict began when the tribes launched an offensive against the government, accusing them of neglect and discrimination. In retaliation, the government armed untrained militias that were responsible for the deaths of nearly 300,000 people.
Although Darfuris appreciate the renewed focus on their plight, some worry that the flurry of fund-raising in Doha won’t actually reach the people who need it most.
"Those who are going to pledge money want to know if the money is going to reach Darfur or not," Al-Baqir Afifi, an activist, told CNN. "It is still insecure in Darfur; there is chaos.”
According to U.N. rep Al-Zatari, 3.5 million people in Darfur are in need humanitarian assistance, and 1.5 million of them still live in displaced person camps.
On Sunday, Britain was among the first to pledge its support for the project, vowing to give $16.5 million for Darfur annually over the next three years. The money will help communities to grow their own food and train residents in skills that will help them find work.
"It is not good enough to simply offer more handouts," Lynne Featherstone, Britain's international development minister, said, according to Al Jazeera."Our aid will help the poorest to get the help they need to stand on their own and make them better able to cope when crises occur."
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(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)