Forging Through Adversity: The Blacksmiths of North Darfur and Practical Action

The blacksmiths of El-Fashir are among the most socially excluded castes in Darfur. Only a few generations ago they were still congregating at the outskirts of towns and villages, practicing their trade in an isolated, subsistence manner. In addition to existing on Darfur’s marginalized social periphery, the blacksmiths faced the added vulnerabilities of drought, famine, armed conflict, and displacement. Through their trade – passed down from generation to generation – and a unique, long-standing, and evolving partnership with Practical Action, they have been able to forge through their social, economic and political adversity. Today, the El-Fashir blacksmiths cooperative produces agricultural implements and tools which are widely disseminated across Darfur and nearby states through institutional contracts with international agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and through local markets.

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