It was something many in the village of Wada’a, Sudan, had never seen before. A couple of months ago, workers began channeling water from a small dam-like structure into the parched farmland surrounding the community of 17,000, which is in the state of North Darfur.
In another place or at another time, this simple act of irrigation might not have seemed remarkable.
But the dam’s completion came as Sudan tipped into armed conflict, with fighting erupting across several parts of the country, including El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State.
The dam project – led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – has buoyed Wada’a residents, who have long struggled with drought. These include farmer Ahmed Mohamed El Doma, who routinely travelled five hours a day on donkey back to retrieve water from other villages.
“Wada’a dam is our hope now to end all this misery,” he said.