At Excellent Development, we have been working with family farmers in rural Kenya for more than 15 years. We never cease to be astonished by how much they achieve in the face of drought and climate change - with just a little kick start. Stories like Joyce Musembi’s from the Ithime self-help group in Ukambani inspire us every day.

Since Joyce joined the Ithime self-help group in 2010, her family’s life has changed. With support from our generous donors, the group has worked hard to build eight sand dams. With help and advice from Excellent, they have also transformed their farming methods.

Joyce said: "Sand dams help us because we use the water to drink and to plant… even our cows and goats are healthier."

Joyce now has access to water from a sand dam 2km from her home.

"Since I terraced my farm, I reap a bumper harvest as opposed to before. Once I plant greens, the money I would have spent on them in the market I direct to paying school fees for my children and buying soap and such other things."

Joyce Musembi, Ithime self-help group.

Joyce told us: “The area along the river where the dam is constructed is greener. We are digging terraces to protect the soil from erosion. It ensures good yields once you plant your crops.”

Before her farm was prospering, Joyce spent the little money she had on vegetables from her local market to feed her six young children. But since 2010, Joyce has learned how to plant her own kitchen garden.

She proudly told us: “The children help me fetch water from the sand dam we have just constructed, and we water the garden together."

“I reap a bumper harvest now. Once I plant greens, the money I would have spent on them in the market I direct to paying school fees for my children... They do well in Mathematics and Kiswahili.”

The legacy of these achievements will last lifetimes – something Joyce wholeheartedly appreciates.

She told us: “I see a bright future. Our lives will be better.”

Create lasting change with sand dams - please donate what you can

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