Published in June 2021

Where did the last year go? It seems only yesterday that I was writing about the growing threat of drought and desertification. It was in fact in June 2020 that I flagged up the growing pressure of degraded landscapes and the impact on those living in dry areas of the world.

One year on, June 17 2021 marks the UN’s World Desertification and Drought Day and there is not much to celebrate.

Drought is one of the most far-reaching impacts of the changing climate. Unlike other natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, drought is slow and silent. It works by stealth creeping over large areas of land as rainfall patterns shift, transforming land into desert and making farming impossible. It can trigger major setbacks for the most disadvantaged populations: from famine to migration and displacement. A single year of drought can undermine years of social development, in particular for vulnerable members of society.

"Keeping land in good heart and fixing places which have become degraded through drought is vital. Sand dams can do both of these and lots, lots more."

Yet land is perhaps one of the most valuable resources we have. It’s a place for people to live and grow the food they need. I am reminded of one of American writer Mark Twain’s famous quotes: “Buy land, they aren’t making it anymore.” Keeping land in good heart and fixing places which have become degraded through drought is vital. Sand dams can do both of these and lots, lots more. That’s why, with your support, we continue to press ahead with our programme for building sand dams in parts of Africa despite these challenging times.

On a happier note, there are some things here at Excellent that we can celebrate. Earlier this month we got the fantastic news that Excellent Development was a winner at the 2021 Charity Awards, this coming just a week after being shortlisted for a World Water Award at the 2021 Energy Globe Awards.

These accolades are greatly appreciated and affirm our no-nonsense approach to supporting dryland communities to gain access to clean water is making an important contribution to international development.

We are very proud of the recognition and will use it as motivation to continue striving towards the ultimate, most rewarding and important goal – that is supporting vulnerable families living in drylands to transform their own lives. 

Please consider making a donation to support vulnerable dryland communities to build sand dams and have access to clean water; a basic human right.

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