Published in May 2018

Excellent's Chairman, David Jordan OBE, reflects on the importance of family, and how sand dams can impact on families in rural drylands...

For many of us family is a precious thing. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, husbands and wives all help shape who we are and how we live our lives. From a personal perspective, my family enriches every day of my life. We are stronger together. My experience of working with Excellent Development has shown me first hand how a safe and dependable water supply created through a sand dam can help support family life in communities a long way from here.

"My experience of working with Excellent Development has shown me first hand how a safe and dependable water supply created through a sand dam can help support family life in communities a long way from here."

Perhaps it's no surprise then that the UN’s International Day of Families (May 15) caught my eye. This year, the debate focuses on inclusive societies with the emphasis on equal justice for all family members, especially women. This chimes with what we do at Excellent. Our work supporting rural communities to build sand dams (1,013 to date!) brings a dependable water supply close to those who need it most, and helps support families living in some of the driest places in the world.

Mothers and wives once released from the burden of fetching water a long way from home can work alongside fathers and husbands as market gardeners and farmers, bringing in vital funds to support family life and pay for their children’s education. With less time travelling for water they can contribute more to village life and help shape the decisions that affect them.

Sons and daughters who previously walked many miles fetching water are able to spend time at school learning new skills to prepare them for the future. In rural Kenya, for example, children in communities with sand dams save on average up to 6 hours a day for their education. That's a lot of time to invest in their future. 

All members of the family benefit from improved health as a result of using the clean water sand dams yield, and the improved diet from food grown by enterprising mothers, fathers, husbands and wives who are able to spend their time farming the land around the sand dam.