A visit to the Wiriyamo community in Mozambique reveals how life is changing for its residents thanks to a sand dam. Our regional partner, the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM), spoke with a local farmer who says his life has been transformed.

What's your name?

My name is Joao Manuel Manejo.

How old are you?

50 years old.

How many children do you have?

I have seven children (four sons and three daughters) – four of which are in school. I also have three grandchildren, all girls.

How was your life before the sand dam project?

We had many problems such as lack of water for growing vegetables and domestic use. We experienced hunger and also had many diseases due to the consumption of dirty water.

Can you describe a typical day in the past?

The most difficult day I've ever spent was when our province faced the drought that resulted in a lack of water and food. My kids could not go to school as they had to spend time collecting water. It was a period that we travelled more than 3km only to face long queues for water at a well.

Joao Manejo - Wiriamo

"I remember this phase when the water dried up in those wells. Despite being more than 3m of depth, still the water was not enough to supply the whole community. We were limited in doing other activities because we spent too much time collecting water."

We had nothing to eat because all the crops we had would eventually dry up. I used the local bushes to collect fruits from the bush, such as malambe, massau and other fruits (for food and sale). Sometimes I sold charcoal in order to have access to another type of food but even then it was not enough to feed the whole family. We had to adopt one meal per day for survival, and we lost many cattle at that time (because they also needed drinking water). It was the most critical moment I've ever had.

How have your lives changed since the sand dam project?

We now have enough water for domestic use, for irrigating of our crops as well as for our cattle to drink.

We managed to have good income this season from our farming. We can now grow different crops for household consumption and sale.

With the sale of vegetables, I managed to buy two goats, one pig, and school supplies for my children. But the most important thing was I was able to increase food security in my family.

What new crops did you grow?

In the first season I grew maize, peanuts, sorghum and beans, but in the second season I was able to grow cabbages, onions, carrots, and tomatoes.

Any final thoughts?

My last words are for thanking CCM, together with Excellent and all donors, because this was only possible with all their support.

You changed our lives, we will be everlastingly thankful for what you have done and are still doing for the people in general.

Could you help more people to break free from poverty by supporting them to build sand dams and carry out climate-smart farming, so they have enough water to drink and food to eat? Please donate what you can.

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