Published in March 2024

We interviewed Mozambican farmer and Nhamatiquiti community member Rosa Simione (pictured) to hear her story. Below, she shares her community’s previous struggles accessing clean water, the impact this had on food production and their children, and how their recently completed sand dam is bringing a fresh wave of hope and optimism for all.

How did you hear about the sand dam project?

Micaia Foundation (Sand Dams Worldwide’s partner in Mozambique) were the ones who gave us the information. When we received the learnings, I was glad to participate because we have real water problems here, and so if building a sand dam was a way to resolve those water problems then I was really glad to participate. 

What issues did you previously face?

When we go to rivers (about an hour to walk from my home) to fetch water, the scoop holes we dig will run dry as there is not water available all-year round, for example in October time when the heat totally dries up the riverbed. And when you do go, you can be waiting, queuing from morning until evening as there are so many people with many jerry cans also wanting to collect water. Sometimes children would miss school because they are in the queues for water or there is no water to bathe before school. The water from the river was also not good, it tasted salty.

What impact did this have on your life and family?

Taking so much time collecting water means I won’t be able to cook at the right time for my family, I might lose the time I should be on the farm, or I might arrive back home late, and I am already too tired from collecting water. I would miss all the time I need for the household and the children. 

How did you find building the sand dam? 

When we heard about the project, the community sat down together, discussed it and made a plan, and then we worked together to build the dam from collecting the stones to collecting water and mixing cement. We were happy to work hard so that we could complete the dam, get water and improve our gardens.

How has your farming now improved? 

My husband (who participated in training provided by Micaia and is now a lead farmer) and I have adopted things from the training, such as planting in lines and using remaining stalks for natural compost. It is early, but we can see already that the modern techniques are resulting in producing better and more vegetables compared to the traditional methods. I now want to grow lettuce, onions, cabbage, tomatoes, kale and others. For me growing my garden is about feeding my family and if there is a surplus then I will also think of selling at the market which is about 30 minutes from here.

Our current appeal: please donate what you can to help a community in Ethiopia to build a 'Sand Dam for Peace', access clean water and reduce water-related conflict

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