Published in February 2018

Excellent Development Chairman, David Jordan OBE, reports from a recent visit to our sand dam projects in Lekurruki, Northern Kenya...

My most recent project visit was in January when I visited Lekurruki in Kenya to see the progress we are making with a programme of sand dams in this arid area of Africa. I saw the most recently completed dam when I visited in September last year, one of a series of dams constructed along the bed of the Tassia River in Lekurruki.

This dam completely filled with sand and water during the November rains, and has already been extensively used by the local Maasai community, their livestock and by local wildlife (including elephants).

"The transformation was extraordinary and I had to keep reminding myself that I really was in the same place where, only four months before, the landscape was dry and barren."

In a dry and arid landscape, vegetation by the dam was growing abundantly in response to the raised water table, and with it a flurry of butterflies and dragonflies otherwise absent from the surrounding area. The community is now building two more sand dams in this riverbed, with two more planned for later this year.

The transformation was extraordinary and I had to keep reminding myself that I really was in the same place where, only four months before, the landscape was dry and barren.

Every visit I make includes building relationships with new partners – people who can help promote and support building sand dams to transform lives. So during my recent visit I met up with the Kenya Wildlife Service. We wanted to talk about the potential for using sand dams in national wildlife parks. There are increasing reports that, in times of drought, animals are moving out of the reserves into inhabited areas in search of water. This is creating conflict between people and nature. Sand dams may provide a solution, helping to keep wildlife within the reserves and allowing local communities to farm irrigated land nearby outside the park boundaries. I will keep you updated on progress.