Breaking the cycle of dependence

The majority of people we support are subsistence farmers who rely on the land and natural resources for survival and income.

After basic necessities are bought, such as salt, sugar, soap and paraffin, a family's next priority is to raise secondary school fees for their children. In areas which are prone to drought, it’s a precarious existence. In order to become more secure, farmers need to grow a reliable amount of food; enough to generate a surplus that can be sold at local markets.

Sand dams enable farmers to grow more food. Dryland suitable seeds together with the increased availability of water also means that farmers can grow a variety of crops. Growing a bit of “everything” diminishes the risk of losing an entire harvest if one or two crops succumb to pests, disease or drought.

Nikolas Kalunda of the Wumissyo wa Kuomoni self-help group in Kenya has been able to do just that. His community have recently built two sand dams.

Nikolas said:

"Because the farming was seasonal, and most of the time the rains did not do well, we used to go back to the market to buy food, because we were not getting much to eat. Now we are selling food."

In just one year, Nikolas went from struggling to grow or buy food to producing a surplus from his farm. He is now able to sell his produce at the local market and even to hotels in Mombassa – a remarkable achievement.

Find out how much income Excellent Development has supported communities to generate since 2002