Let’s turn the tables on climate change

The climate crisis is the biggest threat to the whole of humanity – with the power to reverse decades of progress and thrust millions more people into poverty.

While the world works on long term policies to prevent future harm to the planet, people are suffering as a result of the damage already unleashed.

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.

Twenty of the driest twenty five years on record have ocurred since 1975. There was no rain at all in North Darfur in November and only a tiny chance of any rain in December and January.

Many people who had fled the area due to earlier armed 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.

Life for Khadija

In Khadija’s village, the only drinkable water is now four hours walk away. Every day she leads her donkey and youngest child to the well and back in the scorching heart.

The main source of income for the 400 households in Khadija’s village is farming. But with water access becoming harder, they struggle to grow enough to feed their families, let alone earn an income from any surplus.

Khadija’s family lived on one meal a day last year. During this time, some of her children got really sick and had to go to hospital.

If there were a safe water source nearer to the village, Khadija could spend more time looking after her other children and helping her husband tend their crops.

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Our plan

We aim to work with 35,600 people from 19 villages over a three-year period. Our innovative plan has five key elements:

  1. 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 will work with community members to build and restore five dams/hafirs and other earthworks.

  1. 2. Irrigation

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

  1. 3. Forest planting

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

  1. 4. Re-greening pastureland

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

  1. 5. Farming and Business Training

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

Our goal

With your help, farmers will be able to quadruple the yield of their sorghum crop – and household incomes will double. Thousands of vulnerable people will be able to turn the tables on climate change and farm their way out of poverty.

A proven 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 (right) won the United Nations 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.