Thanks to our supporters and funders, we have enabled over a million people to gain access to a lifelong supply of clean water, much closer to home.

That’s thousands of parents enabled to build sand dams, so they can provide their children with clean drinking water, free from waterborne diseases like bilharzia.

And thousands of children freed from a lifetime of gruelling and dangerous walks to collect water, who can focus on their education – paving the way to a brighter future for themselves and their family.

Your donations can support self-help groups over several years. During that time, they will typically build a series of sand dams, raising the water table in the region, enabling them to plant vegetables and trees. They will also learn new farming techniques, empowering themselves to transform their lives.

Yet there are millions more women and men in drylands who urgently need long-term support, so they too can overcome poverty. Will you support them to provide their families with clean water, take control of their futures and achieve their dreams?

The Munyuni self-help group formed in 2011 to address their lack of water in the oppressively dry region of Kathonzweni, southeast Kenya. In an interview in 2012, group secretary Peter Mwanza explains:

"We fetch water from River Athi. We travel 20kms. When you go to fetch water early in the morning you come back at noon or 1pm. This is a torture for us."

The self-help groups are living in extreme poverty. Building their first sand dam is incredibly tough. They must collect enough water to mix the cement before they can even start building the sand dam. It’s an enormous challenge for group members, who are already stretched to breaking point by providing their own families with water.

Charles Kithisya Ngundo, chairman of the Munyuni self-help group, told of his group’s struggle:

"Our region has been affected by severe drought. We are still working hard in spite of the hunger. We are working everyday out of perseverance and patience.”

The Munyuni self-help group went from 48 members down to only 16 members during this tough time – but they still managed to complete their first sand dam, thanks to the pure strength and determination of the remaining members, providing clean drinking water for almost three thousand people.

Lasting change doesn’t come easily. It is only made possible by determination, commitment and long-term support.  Could you enable a self-help group to break the barriers of poverty and achieve lasting change, with a regular monthly gift?

The Munyuni self-help group overcame hunger and drought to build their first sand dam. Before the sand dams, the community would spend most of their waking days trekking long distances in search of water. They decided to use the time saved to grow food – mango trees and vegetables – so that their children would never go hungry again.

With training and support, they prepared a community vegetable farm, working together to earn a living.  Now, as group member Regina Kalewa Mutisya explains with a smile, life is very different:

“We have planted trees and vegetables – kale, spinach and onions. We sell the group harvests all in one go and keep the proceeds in our group bank account. It is these proceeds that we have used to buy our water pump and watering pipes. Last month, I sold trees worth 16,000 Kenyan shillings [approx. £114]. This was not possible without water closer to me. I have paid school fees for my oldest son in college through these trees and feeding my family is not a problem.”

For most communities we work with, building their first sand dam is just the beginning.  Once word gets round about the success of the sand dam, people will often come from miles around to use it – meaning that even with the huge volume of water that a sand dam can store, sometimes it can run low before the rains come.

By building a series of sand dams, communities can ensure that they have water all year round – and their friends and neighbours too. The Munyuni group used the water from their first sand dam to build three more over the following five years, bringing an abundance of water to the region.  

Regina is so happy with their change in fortune, as she proudly explains how life is now:

“We have constructed four sand dams, one shallow well and a school water tank at Kanyonga Primary School. The environment around the dams is cooler... water is now closer to our homes.”

With long-term support, Regina – and the other members of the Munyuni self-help group have transformed their own lives and the lives of their neighbours, families and future generations too, beyond all recognition.

Could you provide essential, long-term support so that more people like Regina, Peter and Charles can build sand dams, grow crops and break free of poverty?

Your regular donation will help to supply the tools and materials needed by a self-help group to build a series of sand dams, bringing an abundance of water to their homes and families.

It will also equip groups with the tools and skills for farming projects, enabling them to plan ahead, earn a living and break free from poverty.

And it will continue to help provide the guidance and support needed to ensure that the group’s achievements will last a lifetime, providing clean water for generations.

Support some of the world’s poorest people in drylands to break free of poverty, by starting a regular gift today.

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