Following on from his first blog, Excellent's former Programmes Officer, Christopher Purnell, reports from day two of working with communities in Mozambique to build sand dams...

Day Two – Rallying the community

After arriving at the Chacalanga dam site,  I’m told that community participation has not been good at the site, theorized to be an issue with the form of international aid that the community has experienced in the past. Over a 10 year period, the community have got used to sparing aid packages of food, and aren’t used to working on such a project as this one.

Building sand dams is hard work, but it’s a sustainable solution to water scarcity. Instead of offering short-term relief, the community has complete ownership of the sand dam project from start to finish, and therefore achieve water security for themselves which will last for generations to come.

"Building sand dams is hard work, but it’s a sustainable solution to water scarcity."

Christopher Purnell, former Excellent Development Programmes Officer.

Through a translator I spoke with the community exploring the long-term benefits of the dam; how the dam will provide a constant supply of water the whole year round. How this water can be used to grow crops that will provide all their nutritional needs. How new business ventures can be started by moulding bricks and selling the surplus crops at the local market. How the money made from these business ventures can send their children to school. Basically, we discussed at length how this sand dam could change their lives and all that was required is a month or two of hard work.

Soon enough people started to arrive at the site. 20 turned into 40, 40 turned into 80, and after 45 minutes there were more people at the site than I could count. The important thing was that the community was now fully engaged and ready to work. The rest of the day was spent searching for bedrock, but this time we found it.

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