Published in November 2018

As temperatures continue to rise and the effects of climate change become ever more dramatic, what part can sand dams play in protecting the world's poorest people? Sand Dams Worldwide's Programmes Officer, Callum Sheehan, shares his thoughts.

Last month the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report on the impacts of global warming reaching 1.5°C.

The world-leading researchers behind the report warn that if global temperatures rise beyond 1.5°C, the frequency and extremity of droughts, extreme heat, floods and other climate events will increase significantly. This will cause widespread poverty and unprecedented global challenges.

Currently we are on track to reach a 3-4°C temperature increase.

This makes for difficult reading. But it is important to remember that urgent and widespread action by governments and individuals can curb the increasing temperature.

However, some effects of climate change are already being felt around the globe.

That’s why it’s imperative that people in developing nations, those most vulnerable to climate change, are supported to protect themselves against the effects.

Here at Sand Dams Worldwide, we help those in poverty to do just this. By constructing sand dams, communities are able to access water year-round, even through severe droughts. Planting drought-tolerant crops means that farmers are able to maintain food sources for themselves and their families despite infrequent and unreliable rains. This is vitally important, as crop yields in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to fall dramatically as global temperatures rise.

Terracing the land surrounding sand dams ensures that during the rainy season, water is absorbed into the land, and valuable topsoil remains where it is, rather than being washed into the oceans.

Planting fruit trees, such as mango and papaya, provides an income for farmers while keeping the soil in farms healthy, regenerating ecosystems and absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. So far, over 1.1million trees have been planted as part of Sand Dams Worldwide's projects.

We are committed to helping communities in drylands to combat the effects of climate change, but we cannot do it without your support.

Donate here to help those most affected by the rise in global temperatures to safeguard the future of their families and wider communities