In 2015 Georgina Turner, our former Chief Fundraiser, travelled to Kenya to visit some of the communities we support. Read about Georgina's trip and what inspired her most.

"Visiting Kenya was a great experience, and really opened my eyes to the endless impact a sand dam can have on a community. I loved the time I spent talking to communities and self-help groups – hearing how their lives have changed (for the better) following the construction of their local sand dam.

Member of the Kyeni Kya self-help group, southeast Kenya

Before the sand dam, community members would spend entire days collecting water, leaving no time or energy for anything else.

"On my first day in Kenya we visited the Kyeni Kya self-help group. We’d been driving through very dry land, and seen very little greenery. As we reached the community, we set out to walk across the valley in which it was set. As I looked out to the lush, green land ahead, it was immediately clear that life was very different here.

"As we walked down the valley, our guide from our partner organisation, the African Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF), explained what I was seeing. The local sand dam gave the community access to water in such abundance that they were able to grow vegetables; kale, tomatoes, spinach and more. The valley was a hub of activity with people turning soil, watering plants with water collected from the sand dam, working on the land.

"As we walked further down the valley we met two community members making bricks, Benjamin Kioko and James Ngumbi. I stopped to talk, and they explained that they were using soil, sand and water from the dam to make the mix. This mixture was then put into a mold and baked. The bricks would be used to make homes. Benjamin told me “it would not be possible to make the bricks, to build, without the dam”.

"The community members explained that before the sand dam, they would spend entire days collecting water, and would be exhausted on their return. They would collect only what was necessary - there was no time or energy to collect water for anything but drinking, washing, preparing food. With water less than ten minutes away, it is now far more readily available, and the community has the time and energy to do more with it.

"This is when the great wealth of the benefits of sand dams really struck me. Having clean, safe drinking water is important, but having an abundance of water, easily accessible, and readily available was allowing this community to thrive.

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