Published in November 2020

When we developed our strategy, back in 2017, the world was a very different place than today. Certainly there was no pandemic. But some things are the same like the need for clean, dependable water supplies for those living in arid regions.

That’s why one of our ambitions was to extend the range of our work in those countries where we had already made an impact. We knew that once communities saw the effectiveness of sand dams first-hand, there would be enthusiasm for more. Predictably the limiting factor is funding. That’s why we are making our programme in Zimbabwe the focus of our Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020 – a campaign that will allow our supporters to have their donations doubled by our generous campaign partners.

With the help of our in-country partners Dabane Trust, we have been investing in sand dams in Zimbabwe for some years. You may have seen on the pages of our most recent annual report that last year, through the construction of a single dam, over 1,000 women, men and children in Zimbabwe now have access to clean water. Stimulated by this success, our goal for 2020/21 is to increase the number of dams and level of environmental conservation support there.

"The construction of a sand dam is an essential first step. But it is just the beginning. By investing in training, we can be confident that the communities we work with will benefit from long term food security and are more able to withstand other pressures like climate change as well as survive the ongoing impacts of COVID-19."

The aim of our programme is to create places that communities can call home and be more self-sufficient. A dependable water supply means they can start investing in soil improvement, forestry and horticulture. This will go some way to addressing the legacy of unsustainable land use in the country. 

An important characteristic of our work in Zimbabwe has been supporting and training communities in good land management practices and in health and hygiene. The construction of a sand dam is an essential first step. But it is just the beginning. By investing in training, we can be confident that the communities we work with will benefit from long term food security and are more able to withstand other pressures like climate change (with its erratic weather patterns and health risks), as well as survive the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

A recent UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) impact assessment has stated that the COVID-19 pandemic and global knock-on effects could sink or stall Zimbabwe’s reform agenda as well as efforts to revive its flagging economy, with “disastrous” consequences for the landlocked southern African's country’s poor and vulnerable people. Such a devastating outlook only motivates us more to continue with the work that we do.

Despite the challenges the global pandemic has thrown at the staff, partners and supporters of Excellent Development, we have continued to press ahead in alleviating water scarcity. Please help us make next year a good one for communities in Zimbabwe by supporting our Big Give Christmas Challenge which would help build new sand dams as a first step in helping others.

Want to help us support dryland communities in Zimbabwe and have your donations DOUBLED? Find out more about our Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020