Published in March 2024

Jetá Martimho is a Mozambican farmer working with Micaia Foundation, our local partner in Mozambique, to support her community (Nhamatiquiti) to benefit from their sand dam project. Having lived in the area since 2005, she shares her story, why she’s so committed to the project and what difference she foresees it having on the lives and land of her community.

Jetá had never heard of a sand dam before, until she was invited by Micaia to speak about the problems her community faced with accessing water:

“We needed a solution to bring water to the community. I told Micaia we used to have to travel far by foot and public transport to water points (boreholes dug into riverbeds), waiting and sleeping as we queued for many hours, sometimes even overnight. When you go, so many women will be there sleeping in the queue because everyone needs the water.” 

She adds: “If we wanted to go to wash laundry as well, we would have to take all of our clothes to the water point, wash them, wait for them to dry (so that they were lighter to carry), and then come back; so it could mean 2-3 days you are away from home.”

This arduous, regular journey for water had a big impact on Jetá and her community:

“Spending so much time collecting water means no lunch for your children, it means no time in the fields because you might spend the whole day collecting water. So then you cannot prepare your farm well which affects what grows and that means we don’t produce as much food as we need.” 

Often Jetá had to skip cooking, meaning meals were missed, all because she had to spend so much time collecting water and away from home, whilst her crops failed due to a lack of water. And any water collected from the boreholes wasn’t necessarily ‘safe’ as it was an open space surrounded by both people and animals. But without an alternative option Jetá says: “We knew this, we knew it might be contaminated, but we took the water and drank it anyways.”

Once Jetá and her community learnt about the benefits of a sand dam from their meeting with Micaia, and how others in the region had resolved their water problems, they became invested and worked together to build their dam:

“Constructing the sand dam was hard work, but because we were many there working together, it became fun. And we know we will see results after. We want to have sufficient water for everyone, every single person… having enough water means our children will be able to be clean and go to school, have enough water to drink, and they will no longer have to travel far and wait in queues for water like we had to.” 

Jetá Martimho, member of Nhamatiquiti community, Mozambique.

Jetá also looks forward to reaping the benefits from the climate-smart agriculture training provided by Micaia. She says:  

“We talked with Micaia about sustainable agriculture, I was one of many to receive training and then we came back and opened a demo plot in the community. I became a lead farmer and am now helping others in the community to benefit from modern farming techniques, such as planting in lines and using proper spacing, and when and how to cut down stalks and reuse as compost.”

Jetá shares the difference she is seeing: “I am seeing more yield and you can see the health of the plants is better now too compared to when we used traditional methods. With those I have trained most of them are happy with the method of using lines, that is one of the techniques I see people use most rather than the “mamma I’m drunk” (planting anywhere) system.” 

She finishes with sharing how she sees their farms evolving in the near future:

“I want to see people growing, kale, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, lettuce and others. I want to see all this growing in this community. By growing vegetables here, we will be able to sell and eat more instead of wasting our money on expensive vegetables bought from other places.”

Want to make a donation towards a sand dam project and have it doubled for free!? Click here to find out more about our Big Give Green Match Fund campaign