smiling women in bright colours standing in a row

NEW:  The SOS Sahel UK story: the journey from one international to four national NGOs

by Margie Buchanan-Smith (November 2021)
Published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN)

The report was launched at an online event, “SOS Sahel’s localisation journey” on Thursday 24 February. If you would like to watch it, or find versions in English, French or Arabic, go to the Resources Page for links. Watch this space for the expanded illustrated version coming in April.

Our approach

SOS Sahel UK was a development charity that worked with local African organisations to support herders and farmers in Africa’s drylands

SOS Sahel UK pioneered the localisation agenda, transforming country programmes into independent national NGOs across various countries in the Sahel. We then supported our partners to strengthen their institutions, so that they could support vulnerable communities to find long-term, sustainable and peaceful solutions to the poverty and marginalisation they experience. SOS Sahel UK’s mission was to see thriving sustainable communities across the Sahelian drylands that have control over the decisions that affect their lives and the resources they need for a secure and fulfilling life.

Time to say goodbye

After 36 years of working across the drylands of the Sahel, SOS Sahel International UK has closed its doors. We have completed our goal: for decades SOS Sahel UK have been driving the localisation agenda– building up strong country programmes and helping them to transform into independent entities that lead their own development agenda. In recent years we have been working with SOS Sahel Sudan and SOS Sahel Ethiopia, which are now experienced, effective and sustainable organisations that have the resilience to face daily challenges. They are strong and robust, even in the face of conflict, political instability and climate change. We have successfully passed on the baton to our partners, who are independent African organisations ready to lead their own development agendas for their people.

Our partners can now survive without us, and our decision to close has allowed us to give our remaining financial reserves to our partners, to give them the best chance in the future. They are now ready to thrive without our support, which is something to celebrate. 

Read more about this decision, and about the life of SOS Sahel International UK, in our latest newsletter and on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Visit our partner’s websites for more information about them and their work: