The Excellent approach
At Excellent Development, we support rural dryland communities who come together to help themselves.
We don't give hand-outs; we give the opportunity for people to transform their own lives.
We believe that environmental conservation is essential for poverty alleviation in drylands.
Sand dams provide enough water to support over 1,000 people for life.
Sand dams store up to 20 million litres of water.
Through local partners we support communities to practice climate-smart agriculture.
Since 2002, we have supported communities in sub-Saharan Africa to build 366 sand dams.
Helping communities help themselves:
At Excellent Development, we don’t give hand-outs; we give people the opportunity to transform their own lives. The people who seek our support want nothing for free. We provide the necessary kick start, but it is the communities we work with who invest their valuable time and skills to truly help themselves.
Improving lands for improving lives:
We believe that sustainable environmental development and human well-being go hand in hand: that improved livelihoods don’t have to come at the expense of our environment. In fact, conservation of the environment is the only way people in drylands can overcome poverty in the long run.
Passionate about sand dams:
In drylands, rainfall occurs in just one or two short, intense seasons. Because the land is so dry, when rain does fall, up to 85% is simply lost as run-off. Capturing this water where it falls is essential for improving environments and livelihoods. Sand dams are by far the cheapest way of doing this.
A sand dam is a reinforced concrete wall built across a seasonal riverbed. During the rainy seasons, they capture water and sand behind the dam wall. A sand dam can store up to 20 million litres of water, protecting it from evaporation and contamination by storing it safely within sand. This is enough to support over 1,000 people with a local water source for life.
Our vision is that millions of the poorest people’s lives are transformed with sand dams. To achieve this, we need to enable many more organisations, governments and institutions to adopt sand dams as one of the tools available for land management and the alleviation of poverty in drylands.
We have 12 years’ experience in successfully supporting the application of sand dams in different countries and social contexts. Sharing this experience and knowledge is key to our strategy. We do this by providing consultancy services to governments, institutions and NGOs; facilitating learning visits; hosting workshops, participating in international conferences and networks.
Working in partnership:
We work in partnership with local organisations who in turn work closely with their own communities. This enables us to better understand different local environments, so that our interventions can be successfully applied to specific political, environmental, social, technical, legal and economic conditions.
Since 2002, we have supported the construction of more than 400 sand dams. The results have been extraordinary.
There is a saying in Kikamba which translates to: "One finger doesn't kill lice." So I am sure that when we work together we will prosper.
Mandela, Wumiisyo wa Kiumoni self help group, Kenya