Published in April 2023

Those of you who have been following the news may have spotted the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. It makes for some rather bleak reading. The climate change limits, agreed by global leaders, are likely to be missed.  Even more depressing is the news that the current climate extremes we are reading about are hitting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems hardest. That hardly seems fair when those vulnerable regions of the world (for example, the drylands of Africa where we work) account for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The idea of climate justice has gained traction over the last year, with developing nations arguing that the developed world should help fund the investment needed to help them build climate resilience and overcome the extreme weather coming their way. Aditi Mukherji, one of the authors of the most recent IPCC report, puts it clearly: “Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected.”

The report estimates that over half the world’s population is living in parts of the world most vulnerable to climate change. And in the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in vulnerable regions.

"To secure climate justice, investment in those parts of the world really needs to be stepped up. Small local schemes like sand dam and climate-smart agriculture projects must be part of the solution, as they not only help communities to transform their own lives with water and food security, but also enable them to rebuild their livelihoods and build climate resilience by restoring degraded land and regreening surrounding environments."

In response to the increasing risk of drought and water scarcity in parts of Africa, we have successfully expanded our programmes. We now offer nature-based, climate solutions to more places where there are vulnerable communities. Learning from our successful delivery models in Kenya and Zimbabwe, we now have sand dam programmes in Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Where we can, we also offer support to other countries and organisations that would like to learn how to site, design and construct sand dams, to enable more people vulnerable to the effects of climate change to become more resilient and to transform their lives.

Expanding into new countries has not been without new challenges. In Malawi for example, one particularly devastating storm (Cyclone Freddy) hit the country earlier this year, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives, destroying homes and displacing local communities. Despite the damage and disruption caused across the country, sand dams there survived the storm, and we alongside our local partners, Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD), continue to support the people in Malawi and help provide a fairer future for those most in need.

Want to make a donation towards a sand dam project and have it doubled for free!? Click here to find out more about our Big Give Green Match Fund campaign