Published March 2024

Building a sand dam takes a lot of hard work, but the multiple rewards to come make all the efforts worth it according to Mozambican farmer Cesario Finiasse (pictured above), member of the rural Nhamatiquiti community, and father of eight children. Read about Cesario and his wife’s aspirations now that their community have a sand dam and access to clean water.

What issues did you have accessing clean water before the sand dam?

We used to have to travel to the river to collect water, but there were times when the river was dry and there was no water at all, so we would have to travel further to other areas. This was a problem for everyone, but especially the women in the community who were mostly responsible for collecting the water whilst the men work. For example, my wife would leave here at 3pm in the afternoon to collect the water, but it might have taken her 5 hours to return as the queue at the water point was so long, even she and others would sleep in the queue. And she could only collect a little water, as she then had to walk it back home with the single jerry can on her head.

These water issues cause hunger in families because if you are spending the whole day looking for water, then by the time you are back home you are too tired and don’t have the energy to go work on your farm, which affects food production (and how much produce you can then sell). Household chores are also delayed.

How did your community come to building a sand dam?

A team from Micaia Foundation (local partners of Sand Dams Worldwide) came and had a meeting with the community and informed us of the benefits of a sand dam which would help reduce water issues. I had not heard of a sand dam before, but I was satisfied with the information at the meeting, as was our community, so we worked hard together to build the dam. I was very happy to do it and I fully participated in the construction, from collecting stones, to mixing cement, helping the builders and all the other things. The work was difficult but when you finish the dam there is great satisfaction across the community, because everyone knows how important the issue of getting clean water is.

How do you feel now that the sand dam is completed?

I am happy, as thanks to the sand dam, we won’t have water issues anymore. In the future we will have healthy gardens and produce vegetables (something that was difficult to do before the sand dam) and enough water for drinking and for other domestic use, such as cooking and bathing. This will all easily be done because we have water, enough for us and even for our animals.

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