Published in February 2022

Everyone has a stake in making the world a better place. Women, men and young people, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances, have the potential to shape change.

In the past few years, we have seen responsibility for change being shared more equally between men and women. The rise of youth groups concerned about their future has added a new dimension. Things are shifting.

One of the welcome contributions to this shift has been the growing role of women, not only in decision making at a global and national scale but in local initiatives. Yet in some places the involvement of women isn’t quite so new. Take a look at the self-help groups we have worked with in southeast Kenya. There, the membership of these groups is shared between community members. Typically, at least 70% of the members are women.

And the female members do not limit their involvement to committee work; they are also actively involved in sand dam construction and the development of their farms with climate-smart agricultural techniques they have attained from our in-country partners.

"I have worked alongside some of the women from local self-help groups, shifting sand and cement, moving boulders and planting seeds; seeing first-hand, that they are taking a lead role in their communities and are determined to make a change for the better."

Perhaps it’s no surprise that women engage so energetically in the creation of new sand dams, for it is women and their children who, without a nearby source of clean water, carry the daily burden of collecting water for them and their families.

Liberated from the essential domestic chore of collecting water, women are free to play a more active role in the success of their community. We know this from the evaluation of our projects in southeast Kenya. Following the introduction of climate- smart agriculture projects (made possible by the building of a sand dam), 90% of the women in self-help groups felt confident about taking on new, important roles, such as decisions on which crops to plant and how to spend household income.

So, what better way to celebrate the power and empowerment of women in our drive to create sustainable water solutions than acknowledge and commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8th. This year the theme is ‘Break the bias’. And with your generous help, many more women across the driest parts of the world can do just that!

Donate today: help communities recover from drought with sand dams

Please select a donation amount (required)
Set up a regular payment Donate