Published in December 2023

In Mozambique, the Chimbirgie community had suffered from water scarcity for years before their sand dam project. Having struggled with their development for years, we hear from community members who say their lives are now changing as a result of the water from their sand dam.

In a visit by the Micaia Foundation (our Mozambican partners) to the Chimbirgie community, two community members were interviewed to find out how their sand dam project has impacted upon community life. The first of these was the community leader, Eusébio Pondaponda, who participated actively in the construction of the sand dam in Chimbirgie.

Pondaponda often accompanies different groups of people who come to visit the dam and speaks of his renewed hopes for a changed Chimbirgie in the near future.

Eusebio Pondaponda - Leader of Chimbirgie community"I am proud when I look back at how we constructed this dam. Although there were challenges both before and during the construction, Micaia showed us that we can do anything as long as we are united. I am so glad that we stayed strong because now we have water."

Eusébio Pondaponda, leader of the Chimbirgie community, Mozambique.

With support from the Micaia Foundation, Pondaponda hopes to equip all community members with important knowledge on hygiene, sanitation and water treatment. He has pledged to continue to give all necessary support to the community’s water committee, who have taken responsibility for local water-related issues, so that they are able to implement their ideas successfully.

Other activities being supported by Micaia within the community include training in improved farming methods and the establishment of a capability programme, which is designed to help develop the community further by teaching people, particularly women, to read and write. Pondaponda says he is hopeful that Chimbirgie will continue to change for the better as people continue to work together on development issues.

Micaia also spoke with Rosa Mperuca, an elderly member of the Chimbirgie community who is mother to six children. She declared that she was filled with joy following the sand dam construction, as she realised that women would no longer have to suffer such long journeys to fetch water, with women being mainly responsible for water collection in the community. 

After witnessing this change, she was inspired to join discussions about the future of community development, which were previously dominated by men. She shares her thoughts after having witnessed the change in the local river:

"This is something new in our history; I have never seen so much water! I know that my children will not suffer any more from water scarcity. This is amazing."

During the training sessions organised by Micaia, Rosa was confident in discussing the issues that primarily affected women in the community. Having experienced the challenges that women had been facing, during dry seasons in particular, she was elected to be part of Chimbirgie’s water committee. She now plays a prominent role in making sure the dam is managed safely, particularly by ensuring that people do not swim in the river around the sand dam.

When speaking with Micaia, Rosa reflected on the sand dam project with some encouraging words: "I am happy to be a part of this historic change in our community. I will always support the water committee now, because I want women to suffer less and have more time to rest. I want to see people with vegetable gardens so that they do not need to go to buy so many vegetables. As we gain more knowledge, this can become our future."

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