In this year's Big Give Christmas Challenge, supporters helped to raise an amazing grand total £107,505.25 (including match funding) that will go towards four sand dams in southeast Kenya; 2 for communities in Ukambani to provide farmers with a lifelong supply of clean water, and 2 in Tsavo National Park to improve access to water for the range of wildlife in the park.

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 £156 million for UK charities.

For seven days, it offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donations doubled!

This year Excellent Development took part in the Challenge once again, raising £57,505.25 (including GiftAid) in online donations to enable the construction of four sand dams in the drylands of southeast Kenya, where severe water scarcity is contributing to widespread poverty and threatening wildlife populations, to improve access to water, enhance food security and increase resilience to climate change.

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

About Kenya

The drylands of southeast Kenya are characterised by frequent and severe droughts. Climate change is intensifying these droughts, posing a real threat to rural communities and causing widespread food and water insecurity. During dry periods, women and children can spend up to 12hours daily fetching water, leaving them little time for farming or to go to school. Wildlife too are suffering the consequences. In 2017, 300 elephants in Tsavo National Park died as a direct result of a drought that year.

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 2 rural communities in Ukambani to build a sand dam and receive farming support. No longer reliant on unreliable rainfall patterns and with improved farming methods, farmers like Julianne (pictured) will be able to grow crops year-round, providing a source of food and income, even during dry seasons.

“Before our sand dam project the water point was very far. Sometimes we would leave at 3am to reach the river in time to come back and continue with our tasks. We lost a lot of time and energy walking to that place. But now we have water very close, so instead I use that time to develop my farm.”

Julianne Daudi, Chairwoman of Kavili community, southeast Kenya.

A further 2 sand dams will be built in Tsavo National Park to improve water access for wildlife, and by recharging the water table, the sand dams will help protect and restore the habitat, reducing vulnerability to drought for the long-term.

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

Missed our Big Give campaign? You can still give a dam! Click here to make a donation and support vulnerable dryland communities to end hunger with sand dams, clean water and climate-smart agriculture.

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