In late July (2017), the Governor of Tete Province, Paulo Auade, took time out of his busy schedule to visit the Wirriam community and the sand dam they constructed in January, funded by the Isle of Man International Development Committee and Jersey Overseas Aid. Sand Dams Worldwide's former Programmes Officer, Christopher Purnell, reports...

Mr. Auade’s visit was a cause for celebration for the Wirriam community who greeted him warmly with a traditional Mafuwe dance. Accompanied by djembe drums this rhythmic performance characterised by synchronised turns was on show for the national television and radio crews that accompanied the Governor, signifying the importance of his visit.

Following formal introductions and short ceremony to remember the ancestors from the area, the Governor was led to the Wirriam sand dam and resulting six acres of community-owned agricultural work that has been completed over the recent months. The Governor was impressed with the novel engineering aspect of the sand dam and their ability to store so much water that can be accessed all year-round.

"What I have seen today is impressive. It is projects like these (sand dams and agricultural work) that are so vital for these communities."

Paulo Auade, Governor of Tete Province, Mozambique.

Mr. Auade then addressed the community noting that their hard work on the dam and resulting agricultural work has the promise to change their lives for the better, and also those of generations to come. This was met with great applause.

Prior to the Governor’s departure, I had the chance to speak with him. Mr. Auade told me, "What I have seen today is impressive. It is projects like these (sand dams and agricultural work) that are so vital for these communities. The government here does not have enough money to provide for all as we would like, this is why I hope that your organisation and country will keep helping people here in the rural areas."

It is encouraging to hear such positive words and support from a senior ranking member of the Mozambique government such as Governor Auade. There is great need for sustainable water sources in rural areas of Mozambique and sand dams are a more than viable option. The Wirriam dam has helped thousands to achieve water security in the area and with three more sand dam projects currently in progress in Tete province; thousands more will have access to a year-round water supply after the forthcoming rainy season in November.

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