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Innovative Practices Boost Sudan’s food Security

By Practical Action On 07.06.2024 Climate changeNews

Thousands of farmers in rural Sudan are enjoying a better livelihood after working with Practical Action to adapt to climate change. 

The UK public raised £3.15million in 2019 for Practical Action’s “Turning the Tables on Climate Change in Darfur” appeal, and the impact has been life changing for hundreds of thousands of people. 

Farmers in 19 communities in North Darfur are now better off thanks to better storage of rainwater and a combination of their hard work and training. 

Practical Action has used networks it helped establish decades ago to build peace between farmers and pastoralists, improve access to water resources, replant and protect pastureland, plant trees, and teach climate-smart agriculture and new ways of earning money.  

By doing so, more than 150,000 farmers are increasing their resilience to climate change. 

This work demonstrates that sustainable practices can have a positive impact on both the environment and people’s lives. 

Akinyi Walendar, Practical Action Africa Director, said “The longstanding conflict in Darfur and its impact on the livelihoods of its people has led to the displacement of people, deforestation, and the loss of farming skills and knowledge.  

“one of the root cause of this conflict has been climate change as people who have lived side by side have clashed over diminishing resources.  

“It is a vicious cycle leaving people struggling to produce enough food to sustain themselves.”  

Nearly a third of households in Sudan experience food insecurity, relying on aid during drought periods.   

The UK government matched the amount donated by the UK public, providing much-needed support for vulnerable communities in the region. 

North Darfur is one of the most drought-prone areas of Sudan. Climate change has made weather patterns less predictable. Rains that used to fall no longer do. Crops that used to flourish now fail. More than a million people have been displaced in Darfur due to conflict described as the first climate change war by the United Nations.

Two men utilizing water conservation techniques while planting corn in a field where water is scarce.

Over the last two years, Practical Action’s work here has:

  • Directly reached nearly 36,000 people made up of smallholder farmers and pastoralists from 19 villages.   
  • They in turn have trained their neighbours, meaning a further 120,000 people have increased their capacity to earn a better living. 
  • Reached almost 500 people with disabilities to play important roles such as agricultural extension agents. They also served on various project committees to ensure that the project succeeds.
  • Constructed a new water Dam (Malih Dam) in Korga Nornga village with a storage capacity equivalent to 80 Olympic sized swimming pools to provide water for livestock and irrigation of local farms. It will also improve underground water recharge and reduce conflict over water access.
  • Installed a gate valve for the dam to control the water pressure. It also ensures that the dam is working well after being filled during the rainy season.
  • Established a water management committee and trained them on various ways of maintaining and managing the dam for better use.
  • Established home or backyard gardens for women that helps supplement their daily food needs. They trained them in leather production and dairy production and distributed locally made water tanks to sustain irrigation. They also provided them with donkey carts for transportation of needed materials and ploughs and tools for farmers.
  • Distributed pasture seeds for animal grazing and added fire breaks. This helped promote peace as pastoralists now have designated spaces for animal grazing.
  • Established five farmers’ field schools for real-time learning from demonstration farms.
  • Constructed hand pumps on migratory routes and rehabilitated water reservoirs (Haffirs).
  • Constructed a community run seedling nursery in the Gani area which produced over 17,000 forest trees and thousands of fruit seedlings.
  • Coordinated meetings with community members for enhancing transparency, information sharing and problem solving. This is done to ensure that the community support the effective delivery of the project objective.

Farmers tripled their production of sorghum and millet and sold them for income.

Elmutaz Eltayeb, Practical Action, Project Manager for the Building climate & conflict resilient livelihoods for rural communities project said:

“I want to extend my appreciation to our donors for their incredible support in getting this project started.

“Climate change has impacted us for years without a reliable solution. Now we’ve seen the impact of their donation, and we couldn’t be prouder. The communities they’re helping are thriving—and they want to thank them for it.

“When we visited the community, we saw that water was available in abundance for farming for the first time in years. The community members are so happy that they want to extend their appreciation to all the donors who made this project possible”.

The Building climate & conflict resilient livelihoods for rural communities project is funded by UK Aid Match, a programme that matches public donations to aid projects and was managed by Practical Action.