Published in June 2020

These days it’s harder to focus on the long-term. With so much uncertainty about the impacts of the current global pandemic, it’s understandable that we focus on tomorrow, next week or next month and possibly next year. But there are some problems that need a long-term view.

Take the increasing threat of desertification which is affecting so much of the world. This definitely is an issue where a long-term perspective is needed. As global temperatures rise, more of the planet is becoming vulnerable to desertification, which means that land, once used for producing food, becomes permanently degraded. It’s a vicious circle. In the quest to grow food, land is cleared of natural vegetation becoming vulnerable to erosion. Throw in more erratic weather patterns such as drought and heavy rain and the same land loses its fertility and its capacity to grow crops is lost, often for good.

The answer is to start investing in land, bringing it into sustainable farming and producing nutritious food for people that would otherwise go hungry.

"We want to play our part in reducing and, where possible, halting the health threat of water scarcity and land degradation (especially in light of the impact COVID-19 is having on the world’s most vulnerable dryland communities)."

Sand dams can support small-scale farming on land that needs some irrigation if crops are to flourish. Rather than large-scale land clearance, our approach is to locate productive land alongside natural vegetation and use good husbandry to build up soil fertility. I have seen first-hand how these small local initiatives work, with the double dividend of producing food and protecting land from degradation. Research carried out a few years ago confirmed that sand dams not only help communities grow crops effectively but they also reduce the impacts of droughts which are becoming more and more frequent in parts of the world.

The science is powerful but so too are the stories of those who live and work in these arid landscapes. Take Musila and Joyce, both members of the Wendo wa Matoki self-help group in southeast Kenya. The construction of a sand dam and training in climate-smart agriculture has meant that both Musila and Joyce can enjoy improved agricultural yields and develop the long-term health of both their families and the land that they farm.

We want to play our part in reducing and, where possible, halting the health threat of water scarcity and land degradation (especially in light of the impact COVID-19 is having on the world’s most vulnerable dryland communities).

That’s why, as we acknowledge World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought this month (June 17th), we are asking our supporters to join us in taking the long view and support our work in reducing global health threats with sand dams and access to clean water.

As ever, thank you for your support during these challenging times.

Please donate and support vulnerable dryland communities to reduce global health threats with sand dams and access to clean water

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