Our Story

Material Information

Our Story
Alternate Title:
SOS Sahel International UK : our story
SOS Sahel International UK ( Author, Primary )
Place of Publication:
SOS Sahel International UK
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
أفريقيا -- الساحل
Afrique -- Sahel
Sahel ( LCSH )
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- Sahel
16.024646 x 13.321854


General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : SOS Sahel (Organization : London, England) : URI

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Holding Location:
Special Collections
Rights Management:
This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Dirivitives License.


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SOS Sahel

International UK

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 the poverty of
marginalised groups who live in the drylands of the Sahel.

We launched our first programme in Sudan in 1985, with country programmes in Ethiopia, Niger,
enya and Mali soon to follow. The organisation adopted a Sahel-wide strategy emphasising
grassroots participation and sustainability. Over the years, the economic, social, environmental and
political context of the Sahel has constantly shifted, however SOS Sahel UK has managed to stay the
course. The people we work with live in some of the toughest environments on the planet; our
projects have therefore consistently addressed issues related to environment, natural resource
management and climate change as a means to reduce poverty.

Historically, SOS Sahel UK was an umbrella organisation. However, with a dedication to African-led
development from the outset, conversations about devolution that started in the early 1990s
became a firm commitment to African-led development by the end of the decade. In 2002/03, a
transformation process began in earnest, as the country programmes became independent African
organisations, better able to reflect the perspectives and priorities of dryland dwellers. SOS Sahel
UK has now transformed from an implementing NGO, into a facilitating one, working with national
GO partners (many of which were former country programmes) that share our values and follow

the principles of community-led development.

From Country Programmes to Equal Partners

The process of decentralisation began in the 2000s when the first national
NGOs assumed responsibilities of the SOS Sahel country programmes in
Niger (CARC-GRN registered in 2003), Mali (Sahel Eco registered in 2004)
and Ethiopia (SOS Sahel Ethiopia registered in 2005). The country
programme in Kenya drew to a close in 2009. The Sudan country
programme continued for many years, until SOS Sahel Sudan registered in
2010 and slowly began taking the reigns, becoming fully independent in
2014. SOS Sahel South Sudan grew through different process; in 2011,
with the secession of South Sudan from Sudan, SOS Sahel South Sudan
was established as an independent national NGO from its infancy.

The transformation process was long and difficult, but ultimately
worthwhile. We provided our partners roots from which to grow, and it
has resulted in some extremely strong and reputable national
organisations across the Sahel, that have local knowledge and experience
at their heart. The importance of strong civil society in often turbulent
and difficult contexts cannot be downplayed. For effective, appropriate
and sustainable development to take place, it needs to be led from the
ground up with trust, commitment and cooperation.

SOS Sahel UK continue to partner with some of our historic ‘daughter’
organisations—namely SOS Sahel Ethiopia, SOS Sahel Sudan and SOS
Sahel South Sudan. This partnership is led by them; we provide help and
support where needed—mobilising funding and other resources,
supporting the generation of learning and evidence, and providing
capacity building support.

noms Lois

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