In this year's Big Give Christmas Challenge, supporters helped to raise an amazing grand total £107,789.25 (including match funding) that will go towards three sand dams and a range of environmental protection measures in Matabeleland South province in southern Zimbabwe. As well as having a vital source of clean water, the local environment will be transformed, and degraded land restored, so that communities can grow more produce, providing a source of food and income for their families.

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 - The EQ Foundation) for their generosity.

About The Big Give

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is the UK’s biggest match funding campaign which, since 2008, has raised over £190 million for 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 £57,789.25 (including GiftAid) in online donations to enable the construction of three sand dams and implement environmental protection in the drylands of southern Zimbabwe, an area experiencing severe land degradation, chronic water scarcity and widespread food insecurity. 

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

About Zimbabwe

Water is increasingly scarce in southern Zimbabwe, posing a significant threat to people’s livelihoods and critical ecosystems. Severe environmental challenges, including deforestation, climate change and land degradation, are further compounding the problem, and contributing to chronic food shortages and widespread poverty, particularly amongst rural farming communities. In 2021, 95% of households in Matabeleland South province (where the project will take place) received food assistance. Consultations with communities who recently completed a similar project also demonstrated that at the start of the project, the average distance to the nearest water point was 2.5 – 3.6km (which was reduced to 400m with the construction of their sand dams).

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 Big Give Christmas Challenge

We will support communities in two micro-catchments in southern Zimbabwe to construct a total of three sand dams, providing them with year-round access to clean water. The communities will also be trained in environmental protection techniques, and will be supported to establish community-managed woodlots, helping to restore degraded land, enhance soil fertility and improve conditions for farming.

“We used to have to walk long distances to fetch water, around 6-7km to the river. But now we have water nearby from the sand dam. I have set up a garden to grow food for my family, so now my children eat healthy. They do not have to eat the same type of meal every day and this makes me very happy.”

Varies Banda, community member in southern Zimbabwe.

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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