Imagine living with only 1.25 litres of water a day – to drink, cook, clean and wash with. And having to walk for miles each day, carrying a heavy 20 litre container on your back, just to provide your family with water.

For millions of women in the world’s rural drylands, life is dominated by the burden of collecting water.  For the old and the young, the sick and the healthy, it is a gruelling chore with no relief.  

Even when heavily pregnant, women still have to trek over long distances, in order to provide their families with water.

Often alone, and far away from medical help, some women give birth on the journey to or from water points. But, for some women, the consequences are worse still. The ongoing strain of carrying water for miles, day after day, can have a terrible impact on health for pregnant women – causing miscarriages and still births.

Thankfully, there is a solution. Supporting people in drylands to build sand dams, which provide a local supply of water, means that women no longer have to bear this burden. Can you help by making a donation, so that more women are alleviated from these long journeys to collect water?

Jane Kinongo, of the Ithime self-help group, told us of the problems that rural women in Kenya face:

“We would even go to fetch water while pregnant. We had to fetch water even when having labour pains. Sometimes someone would miscarry or have a still birth at home due to the long distance... After giving birth one would be back on the trek after three days. Women also had many problems with excessive bleeding from carrying heavy jerrycans on our backs after birth.”

Women in rural Kenya have no choice but to fetch water for their families, no matter what the cost. You can help change this, by making a donation today. Communities can collect some of the materials to build a sand dam from their local area – like rocks and sand – but the cost of the cement, barbed wire, steel bars and tools they need is beyond their means.

Will you help them today? A donation of £55 could provide a roll of barbed wire – an essential component to reinforce a sand dam – to enable people in drylands to free themselves from the endless drudgery of collecting water, and have time to grow enough food to feed and support their families.

Having a local supply of water means that women no longer have to sacrifice their health, and risk the health of their unborn babies, on daily treks taking as long as 11 and a half hours in the driest periods of the year.

By trapping water close to home, sand dams provide a new way of life for the women of these communities. A life in which women no longer give birth alone, far from home, on a journey to find water. A life in which there is enough water to grow crops, and enough time to rest and recover from childbirth. As Jane explains, water changes everything:

“Since the construction of the dams, life has changed dramatically because we now draw water closer to our homes. The health problems women faced then have ceased to exist… now the women can rest for 3 months after giving birth.”

The women in Jane’s community will no longer have to pay such a terrible price, just to collect water. But there are too many women who still have to make this journey, no matter what. Will you help us prevent more tragedies by making a donation today?

Here are some ways in which your donation could support a self-help group to build a sand dam, providing a local supply of water much closer to home:

  • £15 could provide a farmer with drought-resistant seeds, so they can feed and support their family.
  • £40 could provide a wheelbarrow, to carry rocks, sand and bags of cement to the sand dam.
  • £60 could provide a roll of barbed wire to reinforce a sand dam, anchoring it to the bedrock.

People living in drylands have already achieved so much this year. There are so many success stories – so many people who have grasped the opportunity you have given them with both hands, working day in day out, fuelled by their determination to secure a local water supply for themselves, their mothers, their sisters, their sons and daughters.

Please consider donating today, to help us meet our urgent need. Your donation will ensure that that fewer women have to face the terrible health consequences of collecting water, and more families can begin to thrive.

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