Published in March 2018

Excellent Development's Chairman, David Jordan OBE, reflects upon a month that saw global discussion and celebration around themes of women and water, two key parts of our work...

My March calendar highlights two important dates for Excellent Development. The first is International Women’s Day (March 8th) with the call to ‘press for progress’, and the second is World Water Day (March 22nd) with the emphasis this year on the link between water and nature. 

Our work in some of the poorest parts of the world in building functioning sand dams is helping deliver for both these important causes. We are working with nature to capture and store seasonal rainfall and helping to empower women to play a full part in their communities. We are delivering a double dividend.

"We are working with nature to capture and store seasonal rainfall and helping to empower women to play a full part in their communities. We are delivering a double dividend."

In the driest parts of the world it is often women who carry the burden of collecting water for the family and there is little time for anything else. A sand dam can change everything. It can give the gift of time, help women develop new skills including those used to build the sand dam itself and help them play a fuller part in the local economy. Freed from the time consuming and physical hardship of collecting water, women are able to channel their energy into farming and earning money. The work we have undertaken in Makueni country in Kenya for example has been a major factor in helping local women build their confidence and ‘press for progress’.

World Water Day is a timely reminder that billions of people across the world do not have access to safe drinking water. It calls for more to be done to work with nature to help deliver the global goal of giving everyone access to safe water by 2030. The link between water supply and nature is a core to our work at Excellent. Sand dams can help tackle environmental degradation as well as providing a dependable source of drinking water. The sand dams have the added benefit of reducing soil erosion and helping to restore natural vegetation upstream. Terracing land and planting trees around the dam helps prevent soil erosion and provides a sustainable source of food and fuel.

Water, women and nature, all linked. Sand dams can deliver safe water, empower women and help protect and restore nature and much much more. They can unlock the potential for so many people and for the arid places they live.