Published in March 2023

This month I’m delighted to share with you some words from our Programmes and Fundraising Officer, Sarah Joseph. Here she shares highlights from a workshop which Sand Dams Worldwide co-hosted in February with our Ethiopian partner, Action for Development. The event provided an opportunity to share knowledge with our partners and other sand dam enthusiasts, and help influence the wider use of the life-changing rainwater harvesting technology:

“At Sand Dams Worldwide we know that sand dams have the potential to enable millions of vulnerable dryland communities to transform their own lives and land. Already, over the last 20 years we have enabled communities in 10 countries across Africa and India to construct over 1,250 sand dams, bringing clean water to over 1.1 million people.

You may have seen our Chairman recently outline our refreshed strategy, which outlines our ambitious goal to influence the implementation of 1 million sand dams for 0.5 billion people by 2050. A critical step in helping us achieve this scale of impact is to raise awareness of sand dams and the far-reaching impacts they have on communities and local environments, and to promote the use of this technology as a solution to water insecurity and climate change mitigation.

Earlier this year we had the opportunity to do just that. Together with our local partner, Action for Development (AFD), we hosted a workshop in Ethiopia focussed on sand dams, and in particular the role they can play in supporting conservation works in East Africa. The workshop was attended by a range of different organisations, including the Africa Sand Dam Foundation and Dabane Trust, our partners in Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively, as well as a number of other Ethiopian NGOs and academic institutions, and members of the local Ethiopian government.

Delivered over three days, there were lots of interesting presentations and discussions, covering a range of different topics, including the role sand dams are having as a climate change adaptation technique; how different environmental protection techniques can be used alongside sand dam projects to further help restore degraded environments; and how sand dams are being applied to different settings and contexts.

We also spoke about the importance of building our research and evidence base to demonstrate the impact of sand dams, in order to facilitate their wider adoption in water and conservation strategies.

Altogether it was a fantastic opportunity to learn from one another, hear from experts in different fields, and to promote best practice. Speaking to these organisations, it was clear to see the potential scope for sand dam projects across East Africa, and that by working together, we can support more communities living in drylands to benefit from this technology.”

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