MISSION OF THE MONTH: Harvest Appeal 2016

MISSION OF THE MONTH: Harvest Appeal 2016

Harvest Appeal 2016: One sand dam successfully completed and two more to come!

The construction of the first sand dam to be supported by our three harvest appeals (2105, 2016, and 2017) has been successfully completed and the dam is now in use. This is excellent news for the 2,123 inhabitants of Eltamraya Village in Kordofan State, Sudan, as well as for approximately 1,000 further people from the surrounding villages. The dam is providing them with safe, clean water to drink and to use for irrigation, while at the same time increasing ground water. The people benefiting include farmers, who have been able to resume the cultivation of sorghum, groundnuts, okra, maize, beans, and sesame in the dry season, nomadic herdsmen, and people who have had to leave their homes because of internal conflicts. Large numbers of camels, cattle, sheep, and goats are also being brought to the dam to drink.

The construction was carried out between 11 November 2015 and 31 May 2016 by the local community, with supervision and assistance from SOS Sahel Sudan and the vital support of SOS International UK (based in Oxford). High levels of dedication to the project were evident from the outset. The local Sudanese government authority allowed the project team to start work even before the technical agreement was in place, showing just how essential they found the plan. Furthermore, the local office of the water corporation assigned a water engineer to supervise the project. The community was motivated and engaged at all levels of construction; they dug the foundation for the dam (30 m × 2 m), provided food and water to the workers, made accommodation available for the skilled labourers who came from outside the area, and safeguarded the materials and equipment. Women made an important contribution by collecting stones and cooking food for the community during communal work days. St Mary’s donation—we collected £10,180 in 2015—paid for over half of the construction costs of £18,160. The remainder was funded by a contribution from the Bryan Guinness Charitable Trust.

Delighted by this achievement, we are now starting our Harvest Appeal 2016 for a second dam. This will be in the same area of Alkuaik, El Reef Elshargi locality in South Kordofan State. The new dam will be built about 500 m upstream or downstream from the completed one and will be followed next year by a third one on the opposite side. The benefits of having three dams in the area will be enormous and give real hope for prosperity for the communities of the region, who have already been brought together by sharing the work.

Linda Horgan, Director of SOS Sahel UK, and Ella Nicholson, Project Manager, will be visiting Sudan in the second half of September. They will do their best to go to Alkuaik to gather first-hand information about the dams from the local people. They may, however, be prevented from reaching this remote region as, since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, the state of South Kordofan has been the scene of constant conflicts between the government and rebel forces, fighting for control over territories. Whatever the case, they will come to St Mary’s in October to give us a talk and show pictures of the project.

With our Harvest Appeal this year, we very much hope to collect at least as much as we raised for the first dam and maybe even more, so please give generously to this very worthwhile and well-run project which is changing the lives of so many families!

Wendy Tyndale