Jonathan Drew, Director of The Explorations Company, shares his thoughts on Excellent, the impact of sand dams, and why he's such a fan...

Who are The Exploration Company?

"The Explorations Company have been creating superlative and highly individual holidays and safaris to Africa, the Indian subcontinent (and surrounding countries) and South America for almost 30 years. We keep to our core ethics of every holiday starting out as a completely blank sheet of paper, and all those in our small team actually coming from the continent in which they are so specialist. Family travel is a core element to what we do; we love to create seriously bonding and “together” holidays that use the various aspects of the trip in question to infuse wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Jonathan Drew from the Explorations companyOne such memory may well come from visiting one of our charitable partners; every adult client who travels with us has a “subscription” added to the cost of their holiday, this is then matched by us and the result, at each year-end, is spent on “sharp end” projects - such as helping to build sand dams!"

"Excellent’s focused and cost-effective commitment to the base benefits of sand dams inspired me..."

Jonathan Drew, Director of The Explorations Company.

How did you find out about Excellent and what inspired you to become a supporter?

"Africa remains a core part of what we cover and we have long been supporters and enthusiasts of sustainable, simple technology that can really help local communities in Africa on a long-term basis without continued commitment by a donor being always necessary. I was previously a dairy farmer in the UK, came across Excellent when researching basic sustainable technological systems in Africa and was immediately interested by the straightforward and long-term nature of the sand dam concept, as well as Excellent’s commitment to making sand dam provisions work on a more useful agricultural (or silvicultural) basis for the benefit of the local communities in question. Excellent’s focused and cost-effective commitment to the base benefits of sand dams inspired me to put Excellent forward as a long-term beneficiary for the funding available through our donor scheme. We also cover India and, as Excellent are also working in Rajasthan, the already-positive synergy became even stronger."

What was your first encounter with Excellent like?

"We had been donating to Excellent for some years when, on a trip to Kenya, Excellent's former Executive Director Simon Maddrell was fortuitously at the same lodge at the same time as myself and our Managing Director, Nicola Shepherd. An inspiring afternoon was spent looking at a recently-completed sand dam and asking/answering questions. An interesting and eclectic day that will always be remembered."

What's next?

"We’d like to continue supporting Excellent for as long as possible and to raise further funds for Excellent via direct client involvement emanating from disseminating information about Excellent to those with whom we are in contact. Introducing the clear long-term benefits of sand dams (for example), to individuals who have clarity of vision and the ability to make a serious difference (not always just through monetary giving) can, in some instances, lead to direct and beneficial partnerships between individuals and the charitable organisation in question."     

Sand dams can transform millions of lives. See below on how you can contribute.

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