Published in March 2024

Building any sand dam takes a huge collective effort, but the benefits go far and wide. As we learn from members of the Chimbirge community in Mozambique, nearby access to clean water changes everything.

We recently met with members of Chimbirge who shared the various ways water from their sand dam is helping to transform their lives and land. With ample supply, many are using the water for drinking, vegetable gardens, bathing, domestic chores, even making bricks (to construct better houses) and their animals, who are also healthier because they are not having to walk long distances for water. As Community Leader, Bernard Inoque, attests: “The sand dam has helped a lot, animals can now drink. Before, we had to sleep at the water points (due to the long queues), but this year we have not had to.”  

Lead farmer Fernando Sande is now growing a mixture of plants and trees that were not possible before the dam, including tomatoes and chilli, tamarind, papaya, neem and red acacia. Here he speaks about the climate-smart agriculture training provided by our partners, Micaia Foundation: “Yes, I enjoy training… it is a group activity, and we divide everything we grow, so it is important that everybody contributes.” All farming is 100% organic, with reports from Micaia showing that thanks to the training, farmers have stopped using old traditional methods of farming, especially when they can see the difference in yield between traditional methods and the new conservation, climate-smart farming methods.

Marcelina Tiago is another one of the farmers benefiting from the training. She currently plants cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, maize, sorghum and groundnuts, harvesting enough food to feed her family and sell some surplus, but she hopes with the training and increased water, the harvests will be even better moving forward. For now, she is delighted with how much has changed since the sand dam was completed:

“It’s much easier to get water for household use and vegetable gardening. We are now clean as we can wash and bathe whenever we want to. Before, we had to stop bathing, so we had enough drinking water; now we can bathe anytime!”

Marcelina Tiago, member of Chimbirge community, Mozambique.

Fellow community member, Mario Fernando, shares such sentiments, reflecting on the efforts Chimbirge put into the sand dam construction, and subsequent benefits:

“It was a big job and very challenging, even when we were tired we had to keep working, but we can now see the results of our hard work.” 

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