Published in November 2023

In this year's Big Give Christmas Challenge, supporters helped to raise an amazing grand total £108,965.45 (including match funding) that will go towards the construction of two sand dams and a range of land conservation measures in the South Omo zone of Ethiopia; an area experiencing severe environmental challenges and water scarcity. 

On behalf of the dryland communities we support, we'd like to say a big thank you to all supporters, donors, campaign partners (our pledgers and champion funder - Ethiopiad) for their generosity.

About The Big Give

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is the UK’s biggest match funding campaign, which in 2022 raised more than £28 million for over 1,000 UK charities. For seven days, it offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donations doubled!

This year Sand Dams Worldwide took part in the Challenge once again, raising £59,969.50 (including GiftAid) in online donations to enable the construction of two sand dam and land conservation projects in Ethiopia. This will help to provide year-round access to clean, safe water for two communities, supporting people’s farming livelihoods as well as restoring degraded land and preserving the natural environment for years to come.

Donations were DOUBLED for free by our generous campaign partners, in turn helping us reach our overall target of £100,000! 

About Ethiopia

South Omo in southern Ethiopia is an area of significant conservational importance, where severe environmental challenges are harming biodiversity and threatening local pastoralist livelihoods. Water scarcity poses a major challenge, with 26% of the local population lacking access to a safe and reliable water source. The increasing regularity of droughts in the region is exacerbating this issue and contributing to serious land degradation, which is further worsened by reductions in vegetation growth as a result of livestock grazing. These conditions are leading to widespread food insecurity and poverty, which then places further pressure on already fragile ecosystems to sustain the needs of local people.

About sand dams

Sand dams offer a solution, providing year-round access to water, whilst also helping to provide healthier, more productive environments as they recharge groundwater levels, which in turn promotes vegetation regrowth and reduces soil erosion. Watch how sand dams work here:

About our projects in Ethiopia

We will support the construction of two sand dams across two communities in South Omo, providing them with year-round access to clean water. These communities will also be supported to implement environmental protection measures and practice community-managed tree planting, helping to restore degraded land and preserve the natural environment. Farmers in each community will also be trained in conservation agriculture and natural resource management to help them improve their food security.

Buno Gori - member of the Gurdo community - southern Ethiopia"The sand dam project has brought life to the community, not just for us but for our livestock and our crops too. Now I can fetch water from near my home and use it to grow new produce. In the coming days, I will sell my produce in the local market and use the money to expand my farm."

Buno Gori, member of the Gurdo community, southern Ethiopia.

We look forward to sharing the impact and stories from these projects, stories such as these. Please stay tuned and stay in touch!

Our current appeal: please donate what you can to help a community in Ethiopia to build a 'Sand Dam for Peace', access clean water and reduce water-related conflict

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