Sustainable Development Strategies For Rural Nubian Communities
Issues & Directives
Dr Abdel Gadir Shalabi
Cosultant/Health and Community Development
A Network for Nubian Establishments and Organizations
It is very difficult for people
who have not been to
Sikkout and Mahas to imagine
nor appreciate the extent of disaster and destruction that has befallen that
region in the past 20 years. The Nubian region has always been famous for
its agriculture and the abundant production of wheat ,beans and dates .The keen
interest of Nubians in education and learning is also well documented .However
,the systematic and deliberate obliteration of economic, agricultural and
educational development has led within this short period of time to the complete
marginalization of the region and the reduction of its people to absolute
poverty and destitution ..Not unexpectedly ,this
situation compelled Nubians to desert their land and immigrate to other cities
Never the less the authorities neither sympathized with the Nubians nor recognized their predicaments and ordeals .They even went to the extent of obstructing external help from International Organizations. The discontinuation of UNICEF’s project for children friendly villages and the Christian Organization’s medical services are just two examples that portray vividly the authorities blatant enmity towards the Nubian Race and their intentions for their replacement by other population groups.
The Nubian Network is therefore envisioned as a movement for development aiming at encouraging the Nubians to remain in their original regions and providing them with better opportunities to explore and develop the land ,water and mineral resources and utilize the benefits to improve education, agriculture and health facilities as well as to maintain ,preserve and develop their cultural values and heritage .
The purpose of this paper is to identify the directives of the strategies for sustainable development of the Nubian Region which would hopefully be conducive to the Nubian race to return, reclaim their land and develop the Nubian Region.
Issue 1 :
The Nievasha Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
On the distribution of wealth and
power and the right of different ethnic groups in
This direct the strategies to:
1- Stepping into the future feeling reassured , confident and secure .
2- Claiming the share of the Nubian Region in power and wealth.
3- Establishing local governance that rejects political and ethnic dominance and marginalization or any other action imposed on the Nubians from the center.
The Right of Nubians to the
“Nubians without the basin are a people without a future”
The basin is a very fertile and
virgin land with the largest reservoir of underground water in
1-Ensuring the ownership of the Nubians to the Basin
2-Distributing the Basin lands between Wadi Halfa and Al Ghaddar(6.4 million Acres) among Nubian cooperative societies and development establishments.
3-Transferring the ownership of agricultural land plots to the poor and destitute.
4-Desgnation of additional lands for investment by local and international companies and individuals without undermining the right of Nubians to benefit from these lands through ownership ,leasing and letting. .
5-Discouraging any expansionist tendencies by countries neighboring the basin .
6-Endorsing the right of Nubians to developing the basin and the region and compensating them for the lands lost in the past.
The Nubian Nile is a gift of God to the Nubians who as the original inhabitants of the lands between the first cataract and Souba –on blue Nile- for thousands of years, have diligently guarded its waters ,cataracts and gates until they were forcefully moved from the Nubian Niles lower and central regions.
1- The Nubians benefiting from the River Nile and from the silt and fish it carries.
2- Avoid contaminating the waters and the environment by unregulated polluting industries .
3- Optimal use of the new Nubian Delta and the establishment of environment friendly industries ,agricultural projects and reservations .
The Nubian Sun
The Nubian Sun is so described because of its long ,bright and year-long shine and profuse emission of solar energy unequalled in any other part of the world. We should always remember the speech of great Biankhi who said,” Nubians; Raise your(thy) heads high and let the Sun shine on your(thy) foreheads ,for we(Thee art) the descendants of that Sun .”
1- Solar energy of the Nubian Lands is an unmatched and unending source of energy .
2- Awaiting the promises to extend electric power to the Nubian region may delay development for many more years.
3- Starting immediately to rehabilitate schools, hospitals and health centers, farms and mosques etc with solar energy .
Issue 5 :
Gold and other minerals have
always been and for thousands of years a strong and significant incentive that
foreigners to colonize the Nubians. A prominent
archeologist once said,” The amount of iron mined from the area between Kaboushya and Shandi was more than
the iron mined from
1- Returning the mines in Atteri ,Dweishat and Absari to the Nubians.
2- Exploring for new gold mines and other minerals in the area.
3- Directing the income generated from these mines to the economic and social development of the Nubian region .
Issue 6 :
The Nubian Woman
It is well documented in history that many Nubian women such as Amnardes , Amani Shekhto and Aabar Baankhi’s mother were famous for their wisdom, strength of will and abilities for sound leadership have excelled as queens ,army commanders and High priestesses.
1- Empower Nubian Women to play their rightfully deserved role in social and economic development . for political leadership.
2- Allow Nubian Women to compete for political power and leadership.
Issue 7 :
Observers of the state of the Nubian borders at present would hardly believe that 7000 years ago the Nubian border was at Al Shallal village near Aswan .The gates at Elephentine Island to which Nubian pilgrims used to visit annually during the Nile floods season ,still stand witness to mark the border between Ancient Nubia and Egypt .
Although Lower and Middle Nubia were colonized repeatedly by the Egyptians in ancient times ,they were never officially annexed to Egypt until 1899 ac as per the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty i.e. only about 100 years ago .This date marked the start of submerging Nubian lands gradually by building Dams and unregulated irrigation schemes .Moreover ,the Nubian borders were moved south from Al Shallal to latitude 22 North south of the current Egyptian border against the will the Nubians norths and south of this artificial border.
1- The tendency to build more dams and hence systematically submerge more Nubian Lands and with them Nubian history and heritage, leads to up-routing and displacing the Nubians and passing the ownership of their land unlawfully to foreigners .
2- Marginalization policies since independence that targeted the eviction of Nubians and Arabizatin of the region .
4- Revision of the agreements signed by the governments of Egypt and Sudan against the will of the Nubians and in the absence of freedom and transparency, noting the prevailing corruption of political arena at the time which favored a few carefully selected beneficiaries from the two countries.
Ancient History and Heritage Preservation
Stop submerging more Nubian lands and with them
important historical evidence by constructing more dams
, passing these lands into
non-nubians hands and thus endangering the very
2- Preservation and protection of ancient remains as material historical evidence and for the education of new generations.
3- Establishing research and education projects for further studies specially in the fields of anthropology, ancient history, heritage, Nubian language and arts and working towards teaching the nubian language in primary schools.
Creating an infrastructure of qualified scientists and
scholars in Nubiology to promote and protect Nubian
history and heritage and sponsoring such schemes from revenues of the
Agriculture and modern technology
The Nubians have always been dependent on agricultural products for their livelihood and additional income mainly dates, wheat and beans.
1- Improving and modernizing agriculture through optimum utilization of available agricultural technology specially solar energy and tissue culture
2- Introduction of new agricultural products that may be effective in controlling poverty and disease such as the Moringa oliveira tree.
Introduction of solar energy into small farms
ranging in area between 5 and 10 acres on the
4- Establishing a tissue culture laboratory in the region to support date palm research and development .
Education and Solar Energy
Recent policies led to the deterioration of education as a result of negligence , exorbitant school fees and acute shortage of teachers .This is followed by the emigration of Nubians in persuit of economic opportunities and better education for their children.
1- Introduction of solar energy to all the schools in the region .
2- Facilitating the use of modern audio-visual educational aids specially computers ,the internet and remote on-line teaching .
The pulmonary tuberculosis outbreak in west Sulaim ,Sukkout and Mahas of Nubia in 1999 at a time when the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis was well known and easily accessible, was a clear indication of the collapse of public health in the Nubian Region. This was accompanied by :-
*Obstructing the efforts of
foreign aid and non-governmental organizations. The rejection of the help of the
*Using the same unfounded excuse
to prevent foreign volunteers mainly from
*Rejecting UNICEF’s assistance to support the 12 baby-friendly villages in Sekout with the excuse that the area does not need such services.
1- Revision of the public health system in the region.
2- Resuming free primary health care services specially maternal and child health, nutrition and health education ,environmental health and disease control programs, vaccination against infectious diseases and provision of essential drugs .
3- Maintaining and restoring all health and medical institutions ,safe water supply and introduction of solar energy.
Issue 12 :
Nubian Relationship with
Most Nubians living in Egypt find it extremely difficult to return or even visit their original homes ,lands and relatives in lower Nubia .This occurs consistently in spite of the fact that continuous interaction and special relationships used to existed between Nubians south and north of Adindan prior to the last submergence and until the sessation of the Nile steamers traveling between Wadi Halfa and Aswan and the transfer of the customs authorities.
1- Calling for enhancing and fostering the relationship
between the two Nubian regions in
2- Demanding compensation for the returnees in both
3- Discouraging agreements concerning Nubian lands and water without the prior approval of Nubians through lawful and transparent referenda and abolishing any agreements signed in the past without the participation and consent of Nubians .
Non-Governmental and Foreign Organizations
The Nubian region witnessed a series of significant ancient civilizations that are still receiving wide attention and much interest from the world community which calls for preserving this important heritage. The Nubians laud , appreciate and commend the efforts the United Nations Organizations for saving important ancient Nubian monuments ,UNICEF for participating in the child friendly villages project , WHO for supporting the provision of safe water supply and many European Voluntary Organizations specially from Holland and Germany for their formidable contribution to alleviate the suffering of Nubians.
1- The Nubian Network must cooperate and work closely with Non-governmental and Foreign organizations
2- Demanding acknowledgement of the Nubians rights and need for development .
3- The Network must act as the coordinator between members, organizations and donors
who emigrated to the Khashm Al Girba area are now suffering from the impact of excessive silt
sedimentation from AlGash river floods which affected
almost 80%of the storage capacity of the Dam .Moreover the Miskeet trees also invaded agricultural lands and epidemics of malaria ,dysentery and
malnutrition further contributed to
reducing the remaining resources
and thus negatively affecting
education, health and other services. The consequences of such drawbacks led to
reverse immigration of Nubians not
Wadi Halfa as logically
envisaged ,but to the outskirts of
1- Encouraging those who wish to return to their original villages in Wadi Halfa .
2- Giving returnees lands on the banks of the River Nile near their villages and in the Nubian Basin Triangle.
3- Supporting cooperative societies and other development projects from the profits of the Nubians’ share in national wealth , the income from the Nubian Basin Triangle and the projects of the New Delta.
Threats and New opportunities
The Nubians, like the people of
- Information Technology Revolution
- The introduction of new ,clean and non-polluting alternative energy sources .
- The effects of land ,water and air pollution.
- The new and reemerging diseases
- CPA and the sharing of wealth and power as a fundamental prerequisite to new opportunities
1- Recognition, monitoring and evaluation of these factors for optimum utilize.
Coordination with governmental and non-governmental , making
of available technology ,acceleration of the process of sustainable development
and protection the waters of
Implementation of the provisions of CPA regarding the sharing of wealth and the
rights of minorities and original inhabitants of
The Nubian Diaspora
Many scholars and experts in the
field of Nubian Development believe that there are at least 6 million Nubians in
Diaspora at present ,residing in
many cities in
-Other European countries
1- Strengthening and accelerating communication with the Nubians in Diaspora.
2- Making optimum use of their experience specially in management .
3- Encouraging financial and logistic support and inviting them to participate in development and invest the Nubian Region.
4- Fostering partnership between Nubian Groups and nongovernmental and foreign organizations .
Dr Abdel Gadir Shalabi
Cosultant/Health and Community Development