Women continue to play a critical role in the recovery and reconstruction of Sudan despite being the largest population disproportionately affected by the protracted conflict. To date, the conflict has displaced and impacted 8.1 million people out of which 69% are women, which amounts to 12.4% of the total population of Sudan. Though a grave situation in the country, the women’s resilience has not been waived.

One inspiring success story of a woman working in a conflict-affected area is about Nada Bashir, a project manager for UNOPS in Sudan. Nada’s journey is a testament to the resilience, courage, and commitment of women.

Nada Graduated from Khartoum University with an Architectural Engineer and has more than 21 years of experience in the field of project management, 9 of which were in UAE where she became the first female to be allowed to work inside the National Drilling Company site. She is passionate about project management and was the first Sudanese Project Management Professional holder since 2005 (Colorado – USA).

In 2021, Nada decided to go back to Sudan as she became increasingly aware of the challenges faced by women and children in her country. At that time she hadn’t even secured any job – but her decision was based on her passion and interest in serving the people of Sudan. After the war broke out in 2023, despite the danger and the challenge, she kept working and was determined to make a difference in her community. “I knew my people were in need more than ever, so I decided to continue working as long as the situation allows me,” Nada says.

With a unique combination of technical competencies and managerial abilities acquired during demanding roles in complex multi-million construction projects, Nada is currently focused on health infrastructure. To address the inadequate health infrastructure in Kassala, UNOPS Sudan and the Italian Government have been working together to implement a $10.5 million project. In 2023, UNOPS rehabilitated the diagnostic centre, renovated the blood bank, and constructed the Saudi Maternity Hospital’s new technical building as well as its public facilities blocks. With a population of around 2.8 million, Kassala town serves as the capital of Kassala State in Eastern Sudan. As a result of civil unrest, Kassala state is currently receiving an increasing number of IDPs which is growing daily.

“When the war erupted, I had two open sites with unfinished works. Mobilizing the contractors to complete the work was not an easy task. In addition to the psychological pressures, we didn’t have an internet connection, telephone lines were cut off, and much more… Against all odds, we managed to complete and hand over the first phase of the project. These health facilities are the main and only facilities of its nature which are currently serving not only Kassala residents but more than 175,000 IDPs. Now when I see the smiles of the facilities managers and the satisfaction of the beneficiaries while using those completed buildings, I couldn’t be happier!” Nada proudly says.

She continues explaining: “You know that out of the 2.8 million beneficiaries, 24.8% are women, 15% are children below five years old, and 4.9% are people living with disabilities – I believe I have not only contributed to the success of the project but also saved the lives of countless women and children. The project has contributed to the broader goal of rebuilding a more resilient and inclusive society in Kasalah, Sudan.”

“I say to all the women out there working in a challenging environment, believe in what you are doing, and no matter how difficult it is, it is not impossible,” Nada concludes.

Going forward, UNOPS will complete the General Surgery Unit, operation theaters and construction of the two main roads of the Kassala Health Citadel with external pavement and rehabilitation of the external areas between the blood bank and the diagnostic centre.

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