About

Background

Origins

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. For the last decade or so of our life, we have not implemented projects but instead worked with and for our independent national partners (primarily SOS Sahel Sudan and SOS Sahel Ethiopia) to help them strengthen their organisations so that they can continue to work with some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.

Our vision

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.

Our mission

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

Since our country programmes became independent, our role at SOS Sahel UK focused on helping our partners navigate and overcome some of the barriers that they face as national African NGOs. We supported them to strengthen their own organisations so that they improved their performance, accelerated their impact, built on their success and learned from their failures. Ultimately, this has helped them to deliver effective programmes that target vulnerable communities and improve lives.

We did this in various ways. Firstly, we provided our SOS Sahel partners with a firm platform from which to grow. This platform was grounded in our shared brand, history and reputation which helped them to have a voice at a global level. It was 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 provided our partners with services that helped them to improve their organisational capacity; this included support and training on financial management, compliance, report writing, fundraising, documentation of learning and best practice, strategic support, and general mentoring.

Closure

After 36 years of working across the drylands of the Sahel, SOS Sahel International UK has closed its doors. We have completed our goal: our partners, SOS Sahel Sudan and SOS Sahel Ethiopia, 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 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 FAQs page.

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

sahelsudan.org

sossahelethiopia.org