In May 2018, Excellent’s Programmes Officer, Callum Sheehan, caught up with some of the members of the Catipo community in Mozambique to see what changes their new sand dam has brought to the community.  

Felisberto Ciudad, 42, vice-chairperson to the Catipo sand dam committee, described how before the sand dam, many community members would have to go to the jungle to find wood for charcoal as a means of earning an income. However, the extra water the community now has from their sand dam means that they can grow vegetables instead. "And with these products we can feed our families and also have a little bit to sell to get some money which can help us in a lot of different activities. This is a great step for us, because before we were not surviving easily," says Felisberto.

The committee chairperson, Rosa Leonardo, reinforced this point. "Before the sand dam, life was difficult. It was tough just because for us to get water was a great problem... the water was not enough to support all of the people in the village. With this building (of the sand dam) it is helping us a lot."

"Before the sand dam, life was difficult. It was tough just because for us to get water was a great problem... the water was not enough to support all of the people in the village. With this building (of the sand dam) it is helping us a lot."

Rosa Leonardo, Catipo sand dam committee chairperson, Mozambique.

Rosa takes on a lot of responsibility in being the group chair. She is in charge of all group activities, such as erecting fences to protect the dam from animals, and overseeing the community’s vegetable gardens. She also liaises between the community and Excellent’s partners in Mozambique, the Christian Council of Mozambique. As the chairperson, Rosa told us how proud she was of the group’s achievements. "As a group, our greatest achievement was concluding the building of the sand dam. I have hope that we have built a sand dam forever, and it will change my life and the whole community’s life."

The dam, built over only 35 days in September and October 2017, and funded by Jersey Overseas Aid, now benefits over 3,200 people. The community used to travel for up to eight hours a day to collect water. However, the sand dam provides water within half an hour of their homes, giving the community more time to focus on income-generating activities.

The people of Catipo intend to keep focussing on developing their agricultural work, using the water the sand dam provides to ensure their food security, improve their overall health, and boost household incomes. 

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