Published in October 2017

Sand Dams Worldwide's Chairman, David Jordan OBE, takes a look back over a month of important dates and their relevance to the work of the organisation...

Those of you who use a paper or electronic calendar will know that each month highlights a number of pressing causes. October has been no exception. This month marked a number of important dates relevant to the work of Sand Dams Worldwide. The International Day of Rural Women (October 15th), World Food Day (October 16th) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17th) have all been and gone. Each one reminds us that there is still much more to do to help those whose lives are so much more difficult than our own.

The work of Sand Dams Worldwide helps to tackle each of these desperately important issues. The building of a sand dam is just a starting point. Once a dam is up and running it sets in train a whole series of events benefiting people and communities.

As well as providing safe drinking water, vital to human health, sand dams also provide a less obvious but important resource. That’s time. On first reading it may be hard to understand why the precious gift of time is so important in tackling poverty, food production and improving the lives of rural women, issues all highlighted on my October calendar.

Without a local water supply, women often carry the burden of collecting water for their families. In the Kibwezi District of Kenya, for example, it is common for women to devote an average of six hours a day collecting water during the dry season (read their story here). They carry up to 20kgs on their backs or heads, not leaving much time or energy for anything else.

But alongside a reliable water supply, time really can be a catalyst for change. With water from a fully functioning sand dam, rural women are alleviated from the grueling drudgery of spending hours collecting water for their families. They have more time to invest in growing their own food. This provides opportunities for families to sell their produce, generating an income and helping to move them out of poverty.

Take a look at our annual report to show how the winning formula of time plus water is working in practice.