SOS Sahel International UK was established in the mid 1980s as a response to the devastating drought and famine across the Sahel. Whilst we began as a response to an emergency situation, we have always had our roots in long-term development, dedicated to relieving poverty of marginalised groups who live in the drylands of the Sahel. Historically, SOS Sahel UK was an umbrella organisation with country programmes across select countries in the Sahel; our first and largest country programme was in Sudan, but we also worked in Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger and Mali. However, with a dedication to grassroots, African-led development we began a long and difficult process of organisational transformation, supporting our partners to become independent nationally registered NGOs. SOS Sahel UK no longer implements projects but works with and for our independent national partners who work with some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. Read more about our history.
Where we work
The Sahel – the band of drylands spanning west to east across the African continent on the southern border of the Sahara desert – contains many of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people, who face the realities of not only living in poverty but in extremely harsh environmental conditions. The region has experienced recurrent drought every few years since the 1980s, which has devastated harvests, economies and traditional farming ecosystems. Coping strategies for many livelihood groups are increasingly under stress, and a convergence of climate, conflict and economic shocks has caused the number of food insecure people in the region at crisis and emergency levels to increase. It is in this context that our partners work in Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
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.
To work with our partners to seek long term, sustainable solutions to the poverty experienced by millions of people across the drylands of the Sahel region of Africa.
What we do
Our role at SOS Sahel UK is to help our partners navigate and overcome some of the barriers that they face as national African NGOs. We support them to strengthen their own organisations so that they improve their performance, accelerate their impact, build on their success and learn from their failures. Ultimately, this helps them to deliver effective programmes that target vulnerable communities and improve lives.
We do this in various ways. Firstly, we provide our SOS Sahel partners with a firm platform from which to grow. This platform is grounded in our shared brand, history and reputation which helps them to have a voice at a global level. It is also based on a partnership built out of trust and respect, with flexible and committed support based on their own agenda, not ours. Secondly, we provide our partners with services that help them to improve their organisational capacity; these include support and training on financial management, compliance, report writing, fundraising, documentation of learning and best practice, strategic support and general mentoring.