In partnership with the Africa Sand Dam Foundation, Excellent Development have been conducting research to highlight the difference sand dams make to the most vulnerable communities in rural Kenya - showing some pretty remarkable results!

Spanning the course of the past five years, over 2,500 households from 64 self-help groups (SHGs) were questioned regarding poverty indicators including most notably, their access to water. These surveys were conducted both pre and post sand dam construction and the data shows beyond doubt how sand dams can change lives.

Water is a scarce and precious commodity in Ukambani, Kenya. In the ever incalescent conditions thrown at them by the Kenyan sun, women and children make the gruelling, yet essential trip to water every day. Across the 64 SHGs surveyed, travelling to a water source on foot took an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes before the communities had access to a sand dam. This average fell to just 1 hour and 26 minutes post sand dam construction, saving an average of 2 hours and 41 minutes every single day. In fact, 18 of the 64 SHGs saved over 3 hours per day and a further 8 of the 64 SHGs saved over 6 hours every day; half of which would of been carrying up to 40 litres of water.

The long walk to water took members of David Makau Ndangili’s household 11 hours 30 minutes in total before sand dam technology was implemented in the area inhabited by the Kwa Munyaka self-help group. Within a year of a sand dam being built, it took the same household 45 minutes to collect drinking water including waiting time, and the time taken to walk to and from the sand dam. This is a 93.5% decrease in the amount of time taken to collect drinking water, and more importantly, provides David’s family with the freedom that comes hand in hand with having water security.

Just imagine what can now be achieved in this time. Communities have time to come together. Women have more time to start new business ventures, grow more diverse crops, and care for their families. Children have more time to attend school, play, and well, just be children! All in all the quality of life of these communities increases significantly with the presence of a sand dam.

Not only does the data show the impact sand dams have on the amount of time it saves the communities that build them, but also highlights how they relieve households of the staggering distances travelled to collect water. Prior to sand dam construction, the average round trip to collect water was 4.8km. Whereas the 64 SHGs travelled just under a kilometre after sand dam construction, a round trip of 1.8km, saving 3 kilometres of walking every day.

One stand out change was that of the Sinai Women’s SHG. Prior to building their sand dam they travelled an average of 18km in total on their daily chore to access water for their household. This total distance travelled after their hard work in sand dam construction is now only 1.4 km, saving 16.6km of blister inducing walking daily.

Sand dams are going a long way to break the cycle of poverty in Ukambani, improving not only access to water but the many socio-economic factors that comes with it. Despite these improvements we must not rest. Many more communities in the area still need the material help necessary to acheive water security and transform their lives.

Could you donate today and supply more communities with the tools, hardware, support and guidance they need to build a sand dam, providing themselves with a lifelong supply of water?

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