Published in February 2019

There is nothing quite like seeing things up close. That’s exactly what our field volunteers do. They see things up close and first hand. Investing their own time and money, our dedicated volunteers work alongside local communities to help build sand dams that will help turn around the lives of those living in some of the driest countries in the world.

Every year we lead a volunteer expedition to help build a sand dam. It’s demanding work but incredibly fulfilling. Volunteers get the chance to see for themselves the tough conditions women and children often have to endure to fetch clean water. They can talk to individuals whose lives will change with the construction of a sand dam. Maybe it’s because of that very personal experience that our volunteers become our most impassioned cheerleaders. Once you have travelled to some of the world’s most challenging places, lived and worked with local people and seen what a difference a sand dam can make, you are never the same.  

It is perhaps no surprise then that one of our volunteers is heading up our radio appeal. If you tune in to Radio 4 on February 24th and 28th, you will hear Sarah Parker talking about her experience of travelling to Kenya and working alongside Josephine, a 60 year old farmer. With no dependable local water supply, Josephine was travelling 5 hours a day to a riverbed to collect water for her family. Sometimes the water she collected there was dirty and so Josephine and her family were often ill and unable to work. It is perhaps no surprise that Josephine and her neighbours were so enthusiastic about the prospect of a sand dam in their village.

Sarah has seen first hand the difference a sand dam can make to Josephine, her family and her village. Every sand dam we build will transform a community somewhere. With 800 million people living in dry, arid places the task is a big one. Yet listening to Sarah and the enthusiasm of all our volunteers returning from a tough sand dam building project, gives me confidence that we will continue to play our part in getting safe water close to some of those that need it most. 

Click here for more information on our BBC Radio 4 appeal, our volunteer Sarah Parker, and how you can help us build more sand dams and transform thousands of lives with clean water