Helping communities help themselves

At Excellent Development, we don’t give hand-outs; we give people the opportunity to transform their own lives. The people who seek our support want nothing for free. We provide the necessary kickstart, but it is the communities we work with who invest their valuable time and skills to truly help themselves.

Improving lands for improving lives

We believe that sustainable environmental development and human well-being go hand in hand: that improved livelihoods don’t have to come at the expense of our environment. In fact, conservation of the environment is the only way people in drylands can overcome poverty in the long run.

Passionate about sand dams

In drylands, rainfall occurs in just one or two short, intense seasons. Because the land is so dry, when rain does fall, up to 85% is simply lost as run-off. Capturing this water where it falls is essential for improving environments and livelihoods. Sand dams are by far the most cost-effective of doing this.

A sand dam is a reinforced concrete wall built across a seasonal riverbed. During the rainy seasons, they capture water and sand behind the dam wall. A sand dam can store up to 40 million litres of water, protecting it from evaporation and contamination by storing it safely within sand. This is enough to support over 1,000 people with a local water source for life.

Sharing knowledge

Our vision is that millions of the poorest people’s lives are transformed with sand dams. To achieve this, we need to enable many more organisations, governments and institutions to adopt sand dams as one of the tools available for land management and the alleviation of poverty in drylands.

We have over 15 years of experience in successfully supporting the application of sand dams in different countries and social contexts. Sharing this experience and knowledge is key to our strategy. We do this by providing consultancy services to governments, institutions and NGOs; facilitating learning visits; hosting workshops, participating in international conferences and networks.

Working in partnership

We work in partnership with local organisations who in turn work closely with their own communities. This enables us to better understand different local environments, so that our interventions can be successfully applied to specific political, environmental, social, technical, legal and economic conditions.