Here at Sand Dams Worldwide, we take great pride in all of our supporters – without them, we wouldn’t be the organisation we are today.

Funding and building a sand dam

Andrew PatersonOne donor we wanted to give a particularly big cheer to is Dr. Andrew Paterson. In 2012, Andrew not only funded the construction of an entire sand dam, he also travelled out to rural southeast Kenya, as part of our September expedition, to help build it.

"It was pleasing to be working with what is a relatively small charity and to understand that the donation I was making would go entirely to the end product."

Dr. Andrew Paterson, Sand Dams Worldwide supporter.

Andrew heard about Sand Dams Worldwide for the first time that year and was impressed by our approach. He told us:

“I was struck by the good sense it made, particularly the message put across that planning to prevent famine by water utilisation was a much better solution than emergency famine relief. And that's always something that's appealed to me.”

A worthwhile investment

Finding himself in the financial position to do so, Andrew donated £10,000 to enable the Wendano wa Kithyululu self-help group in southeast Kenya to construct a sand dam. But, he wanted to see how exactly his donation would be used and the impact it would have, so he signed up to our next expedition and we arranged it so that his donation would fund the sand dam constructed during that week.

Together with 11 other expeditioners, Andrew worked with the community members to build their sand dam. Andrew told us:

“The most impressive day was the first one where were taken to some of the other sand dams of different stages of maturity. The very first one we saw was built seven or eight years ago, and the most striking moment was walking from the top, above the dam, where all the sand had gathered and you could see holes that people had dug for their cattle to take water, or to draw water for themselves.

“It enabled me to believe that the technology really works.”

Joyce Wayua, a member of the Wendano wa Kithyululu self-help group, told us:

"We are happy because they helped us finish the sand dam within a very short time. If they had not helped us we would still be building the sand dam."

This sand dam is now providing families with a safe and reliable water supply, even during periods of drought. With the opportunity this creates, they are investing in improved farming, growing more food, and generating incomes by selling the surplus.

A life-changing event

Andrew also saw for himself how much the sand dam meant to the community. He said:

“The other striking thing is how much the local people have engaged with it [the sand dam] and understand that, not only will it provide them with water, it will provide them with opportunities for future prosperity. It's a life changing event in their community.”

Sand dams transform lives. They are a cheap and sustainable way to help relieve poverty for some of the world's poorest families in some of the driest places on Earth.

Thanks again Andrew for your immense generosity.

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