This year, Excellent Development has reached the incredible milestone of having supported 1 million people to achieve their goals of attaining access to clean water. This would not have been possible without the generosity of all of our supporters over the years. It would also not have been possible without the determination and hard work of all the communities supported by our sand dam, water, and climate-smart agriculture projects. Our Programmes Officer, Callum Sheehan, recently caught up with the Kyamukulu self-help group, to discuss their new project, and what it means to be part of the 1 million people that now have access to clean water.

The chairman, Benard Mutua, describes how their self-help group (SHG) came to be involved with Excellent: “The group was started in 2008. The main reason for setting up the group was lack of water in the community. When we formed the group, we tried to do some small constructions across the river in order to get water, but they didn’t work. Bernard Mutua, Chairman of Kyamukulu self-help group.So after they failed we looked to the Africa Sand Dam Foundation (Excellent’s strategic partners) for help.”

“Before, our lives were not easy. We were dependent on river scoop holes for our water... Sometimes this would only be enough for two 20 litre jerry cans per day. So we would share this across the whole village.”

Benard Mutua, Chairman of Kyamukulu self-help group, southeast Kenya.

This is typical of the communities that we have worked with over the years. All incredibly motivated to change their circumstances, they approach our partners in order to gain the expertise needed to ensure their projects will be successful. Through the support of Excellent, and their own hard work and commitment, Kyamukulu’s sand dam was completed on July 17, 2018. 

Benard continues: “Before, our lives were not easy. We were dependent on river scoop holes for our water; we had to dig very deep into the river channel in order to access it. Sometimes this would only be enough for two 20 litre jerry cans per day. So we would share this across the whole village.” Nancy Mule, Treasurer of Kyamukulu self-help group, southeast Kenya

"The sand dam and shallow well will be able to provide us with safe water, as the shallow well is covered and will provide us with water that is safe for human consumption.”

Nancy Mule, Treasurer of Kyamukulu self-help group, southeast Kenya.

The group treasurer, Nancy Mule, describes how without the sand dam, “the nearest water source is 5km away, and it normally takes at least four hours to collect water from there, depending on how long the queue is. The available water source is not safe, so unless the water is treated, we can get lots of waterborne diseases in the community, because it is an open water source that is shared by human beings and animals.”

Nancy describes how “the sand dam and shallow well will be able to provide us with safe water, as the shallow well is covered and will provide us with water that is safe for human consumption.”

However, the 1 million people that Excellent have supported benefit from more than just clean water. The other major aspect of our work is promoting climate-smart agriculture among the communities. Something that, as Nancy tells us, all the other members of Kyamukulu will now benefit from: “On the group farm, we are planning on planting vegetables and fruit trees that we can use as a source of income. We are also looking forward to the change in our environment, as the sand dam will make it greener, and our livestock will have more food available.”

“We are very happy to be among the 1 million people supported by Excellent Development”, Nancy tells me. “We appreciate that people in the UK and around the world have supported us with this project. This work we have done makes me very proud of my community, because the future looks bright and most of the water challenges that we have been facing for a very long period of time will be behind us. We have suffered for many years with challenges of water, so we are very thankful to Excellent’s supporters for supporting us with this sand dam.”

Benard concludes, “Constructing this dam was hard and difficult. Throughout the process, we were motivated to build a good dam. This is why we never lost hope. We also had challenges in preparing the local materials, but we were motivated by the fact that sometimes we have to travel for 10km (return journey) to the River Athi in order to get water, so we were working hard in order to bring water close to the homesteads, to avoid having to walk those long distances.”

He added: “I am thankful to Excellent Development and Africa Sand Dam Foundation for their support in this project. Water will now be available within our village.”

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