Let’s get water flowing to where it’s needed and build a climate-resilient future
As rivers dry up, so do incomes
Across the world, climate change is disrupting rainfall patterns. Floods and droughts are both increasing in frequency for everyone, including here in the UK. But for smallholder farmers in the world’s toughest places, this unpredictability is a huge threat to livelihoods.
In southern Zimbabwe, this year’s rainy season materialised too little, too late. Without water nothing could grow. Farmers had to watch their crops wither and perish. When the rain finally arrived, it poured, destroying any remaining plants and washing away fertile topsoil. Many families are facing food shortages and income losses.
On top of the failed harvests, global inflation caused a spike in the cost of essential food items. In May this year, Zimbabwe was added to the UN’s list of hunger hotspots.
But water scarcity is one crisis that can be averted.
Harnessing sun and sand to capture rainwater
We’ve been working with communities in the Gwanda region to build sand dams. Made from locally available, low-cost materials, sand dams are constructed across dry riverbeds. Sand builds up behind the dam wall. When heavy downpours finally come, water is filtered through the porous sand and stored underneath for the drier months. With the water captured, we add a solar-powered pump and irrigation system to channel it to where it’s needed.
The results have been transformative for smallholder farmers like Lindrose (pictured). With a year-round water supply she’s grown a successful crop of maize, beans and butternut squash. Her family are able to enjoy nutritious meals and her income has increased.
“Now we have a bumper harvest. We can grow crops all year round, and I can support my family.”
Your gift will help us take practical action against avoidable crises.
Quenching a thirst for education in Kenya
In the arid Turkana region in northern Kenya, nomadic communities depend on livestock as valuable assets. Female household members previously had to trek up to 15km to find water for both domestic needs and for livestock to drink.
Through the installation of community-managed boreholes and solar-powered pumps, over 30,000 people and their cattle are now accessing clean water in local villages.
Girls now have more time to attend school instead of collecting water and attendance rates have risen.
Regreening the desert in Sudan
North Darfur is one of the most drought-prone areas of Sudan. To help replenish land lost to the advancing desert, we’re planting over 30,000 tree saplings and planning to propagate thousands more.
Communities are also re-seeding 500 acres of grassland to provide food for livestock and restore the balance of resources between pastoralists and farmers.
Thanks to these regreening initiatives, over 4,500 farmers have gained access to more land that’s fit for cultivation.
Drought-proof planting elsewhere in Zimbabwe
Pfumvudza is a method of farming which we promoted in parts of Zimbabwe. It involves planting maize in small potholes that trap water, typically in a smaller plot of land than usual.
This method has transformed harvests, and even a small plot of land can feed a family of six.
After our successful introduction, the Government of Zimbabwe recognised Pfumvudza as a preventative measure for crop failure. They are now rolling it out to 1.8 million farming families with our support.
“Having water would change our way of living. There would be enough food in the house, and I could pay my children’s school fees.”
Mantombi Ndlovu, a subsistence farmer in Zimbabwe
Your donation today changes lives…
…with your support, our teams around the world can work with more people to build better, climate-resilient futures.
And creates a ripple effect…
…as we work with local organisations and communities, they pass on their new skills and knowledge to others, building on their success.
Which multiplies your impact…
…because every £1 invested by forward thinking people like you helps us to develop solutions that work, and unlock on average another £2 in grants from foundations and other funders – so we can do even more.
And creates bigger change…
…your gift can help change the systems that drive the problems. When our solutions are picked up by governments or businesses, positive change can happen on a much bigger scale.
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