Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata

Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, World Council of Churches director of Public Witness and Diakonia


The World Council of Churches (WCC) led a delegation on a visit to Sudan from 19-22 April. The ecumenical group included the World Council of Churches (WCC), All Africa Conference of Churches, ACT Alliance, Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa Global Ministries, Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa, and Norwegian Church Aid.

“The purpose of this visit was three-pronged,” described Mtata. “First, we were there to understand the challenges the people of Sudan are facing. Second, we were there to provide encouragement. The third purpose was to agree with them on the appropriate way to intervene with the crisis the people are facing.”

The visit included meetings with WCC member churches as well as ecumenical bodies. “To our surprise, almost all the participants in this meeting were people who had fled Khartoum and had fled to Port Sudan,” he said. “They were telling the harrowing experiences they faced. Many of them still have relatives living in Khartoum.”

Almost 10 million people have lost their homes amid the conflict in Sudan. “They are desperate because they do not have assurance when they will go back to their homes,” said Mtata. “Their homes were looted and destroyed. They shared that children have not been going to school now for almost a year.”

But as he visited with internally displaced people, Mtata saw struggling people still taking care of each other. 

“They have started provided classes for the children,” he said. “They have prepared some routines where they can play with them, give them some moments to draw, get the children to express their feelings.”

Mtata and the delegation also heard terrible stories of women who have been raped and abused. “We know that many of the women do not have immediate medical support or psycho-social support,” he said. “They do not know when they are going to get out of this situation anytime soon.”

The church leaders have one main message, Mtata said: they want the war to stop. “Of course they have a second request: they need humanitarian assistance,” he said. “They need basics. They need food. They need water. They need medical help.”

Yet, overall, global response to the Sudanese people in need has been very meager, Mtata lamented. “The people in Sudan are in desperate, desperate need. Of course there are those who have been displaced and have moved to other countries. They are also in desperate need,” he said.

Mtata also described conversations the ecumenical delegation had with political actors, including the Sudanese president. “It was very important for us to communicate the message from the World Council of Churches that we want to accompany the people of Sudan on a clear path to peace,” he said. “They also shared with us their blueprint toward a national peace and reconciliation.”

The delegation also met with humanitarian actors who are working with the Sudan Council of Churches, and the other faith-based organizations operating in Sudan. “They helped us to understand the numbers of people who were affected,” said Mtata. “They also helped us appreciate the efforts they are making.”

Mtata said a meeting with the Muslim Council of Sudan was very helpful. “They are working toward peace,” he said. “They made one clear proposal: they want to work with Christians in Sudan to make a national pact for peace. They want to propose this to the politicians.”

Mtata concluded by suggesting ways in which the WCC fellowship can help the people in Sudan. “We need to pray for the people of Sudan,” he said. “We realize it is not in the media. We need to lift up the people and also raise awareness.”

We also need to ensure Sudanese people are provide for, Mtata said, encouraging people to expand and support humanitarian response any way they can. 

“We can highlight the plight of the people of Sudan,” he concluded. “We can advocate with our governments that we need to do something about the situation in Sudan. The war must come to a stop.”

Photo gallery from the visit to Sudan

In solidarity visit to Sudan, WCC strengthens foundations for peace (WCC news release, 25 April 2024)