Turning the tables on climate change

The climate crisis is the biggest threat to the whole of humanity but together, we can help people adapt to their new climate reality

Active Project

The Challenge

Beating drought in Sudan

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.

People who had fled the area due to earlier conflict are now returning to their farms and villages in the hope of a fresh start. Instead they find their lands overwhelmed by the advancing desert.

Unless we act immediately, they will be forced to leave for good. But with a little ingenuity, we can re-green the desert and grow lasting change.

Our approach

We are working with approximately 35,600 people from 19 villages over a three-year period. Our innovative project has five key elements:

1. Water management

Making the most of the water during the rainy season by storing it for as long as possible using repaired dams and newly built reservoirs: We are working with community members to build and restore five dams or ‘hafirs’, and other earthworks.

2. Irrigation

Connecting the stored water to where it’s needed most and using it to rehabilitate the land: Together we are installing two solar-powered pumping stations to directly irrigate 3,000 small farms.

3. Reforestation 

Planting forests to re-green land lost to the advancing desert and improve environmental resilience: A community tree-planting scheme is underway, with the propagation of 30,000 seedlings during the project period and tens of thousands more over time.

4. Re-greening pastureland

The local people are aiming to re-seed 500 acres of grassland to provide food for livestock and restore the balance of resources between pastoralists and farmers.

5. Farming and Business Training

Training is being delivered to farmers in new techniques such as crop rotation, crescent farming and crop spacing in order to improve harvests.

“Although the climate is changing here, the new ways of farming we are learning are allowing me to continue to sow and harvest. I am optimistic for the future.”

– Al Hafiz, small-scale farmer in Magdoub village, Sudan

The Ingenious Solution

In nearby areas we have been able to completely turn the tables on climate change – and turn desert into lush fields and forests.

  • Households from 34 village councils tripled their production of sorghum and millet
  • Over 4,500 farmers gained access to more land for cultivation by re-greening the desert
  • A community run seedling nursery produced 17,000 forest trees and 1,000 fruit seedlings

Our work between 2013 and 2016 with farmers like Suliman won the United Nation’s Convention to Combat Desertification’s ‘Land for Life’ Award in recognition of the project.

The approach has been showcased as best practice at UN conventions and is being replicated by other development organisations.

This is the true multiplier effect of our work, with a proven ingenious approach pioneered by Practical Action at a small scale becoming big change for many more people.

Our ingenious approach combines different solutions that act together to bring about an enormous and lasting change.

All public donations were matched pound for pound by the UK Government.

Donations from the UK public supported Practical Action’s work with communities around the world.

Donations matched by the UK Government were used to help families in Sudan.

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