The Big Give Christmas Challenge is the UK’s biggest match funding campaign which, since 2008, has raised over £118 million for UK charities.

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

This year Excellent Development will be taking part in the Challenge once again, this time aiming to raise £75,000 to build two sand dams and implement a range of environmental protection measures in southern Zimbabwe, in an area experiencing severe land degradation and water scarcity.

In fact, evaluations from the communities we are currently working with in Zimbabwe demonstrated that 47% of them were able to collect less than half of the daily recommended minimum amount of water. Severe environmental challenges (including deforestation, climate change and land degradation) are further compounding the problem, leading to a decline in soil fertility and food availability, with chronic food shortages.

In 2018/19, 84% of the population in the region were affected by drought, and according to the UN’s World Food Programme, nearly 8 million people – half the population of Zimbabwe – are now facing food insecurity. In turn, vulnerable rural communities who rely on agriculture are increasingly experiencing high levels of poverty.

Sand dams offer a solution. They will provide year-round access to water, improving water security for an entire community for generations to come. What’s more, the community will be more resilient to climate change, as environmental conservation measures and woodland regeneration will help restore degraded land, enabling vegetation to flourish and creating more fertile land. Combined with increased water availability, farmers will be able to grow more food, providing a source of income so they can lift themselves out of poverty. You can watch how sand dams work here:

This year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge is taking place from midday on Tuesday 1st December until midday on Tuesday 8th December. For more details about our appeal, and to have your donation doubled when the appeal goes live in December, save the date, and save this link!

Please note that any donations made to our Big Give Christmas Challenge appeal must be made via the Big Give website using this link between midday on Tuesday 1st December and midday on Tuesday 8th December.