News and blogs A word from our Chairman New Year, same issues, fresh hope Published in January 2018 Excellent's Chairman, David Jordan, writes about what he, the charity and it's supporters can look forward to in 2018... Many of you will have used the start of 2018 to set New Year resolutions. You may plan to get fit, eat less, exercise more and generally take better care of yourself. Good luck to all of you who have made personal commitments for the year ahead. Organisations also set their own resolutions for the year ahead and Excellent Development is no exception. Last year we published our strategy for the next 8 years, taking us from 2017 to 2025. Over the next 12 months we will be starting to put this strategy into practice. That means improving the quality of life for more people through the building of many more sand dams this year in those places where water is scarce. "Over the next 12 months we will be starting to put this strategy into practice. That means improving the quality of life for more people through the building of many more sand dams this year in those places where water is scarce." While our focus is firmly on the year ahead, we continue to learn from the great work we have already done. That’s why I found myself looking back over a 3 year project which started in 2013 designed to improve food security in Makueni, Kenya, through the construction of 62 new sand dams. As a result of the project, the average time taken to collect water was cut from 4-8 hours to a 15 to 20 minute round trip. Also at the time of the evaluation, over 500 men and women were trained in how to grow drought resistant crops; with many putting that training into practice. We learn something each time a sand dam is constructed with the help of the local community. With this project we learnt that the involvement and commitment of local people is essential, not just for the construction of a sand dam, but for its ongoing management and the sustainable use of the water it provides. The evaluation of the project also hints that there was an important unplanned spin off. After coming together to help fund and build a dam, some of the local communities become stronger, more organised and willing to work together for the benefit of all. That can only be a good thing. Finally, a brief look back at a late 2017 success and a thank you. In November I highlighted the chance to donate to Excellent Development’s work and have the donation doubled through the Christmas Big Give scheme. With your help we exceeded our target and raised over £81,000 towards the work we do to help erase poverty. That was quite a Christmas present. Thanks to all those who helped make this possible.