Isle of Man charity providing water security for thousands in Kenya with sand dams

Isle of Man Government funding will help thousands of people in Ukambani, Southeast Kenya, achieve lifelong access to safe water.

Isle of Man Government funding will help thousands of people in Ukambani, Southeast Kenya, achieve lifelong access to safe water.

Excellent Development Isle of Man, a charity which supports rural dryland communities to escape water scarcity and poverty with sand dams, have been given £85,609 from the Isle of Man Government. The money will be used to construct four new sand dams which in turn will provide water security for 5,087 people.

Launching this month and running for the next two years, the project will be based in Ukambani, Southeast Kenya.

Launching this month and running for the next two years, the project will be run in conjunction with the Africa Sand Dam Foundation which is a registered Kenyan NGO based in Ukambani, wholly staffed by Kenyan nationals.

Based at Ukambani, a semi-arid region in Southeast Kenya where approximately two thirds of the population live below the poverty line, the project will also support the training of communities in climate-smart farming methods, such as terracing land and growing a variety of drought-resistant crops.

In the region sixty-six per cent of households lack access to safe water and women and children can spend between six to twelve hours daily collecting water.

The project will also establish demonstration farms so communities can be trained on sustainable farming methods and grow communal crops. Locals will also be taught how to establish tree nurseries to enable the planting of trees on farms to conserve soil, grow fruit and provide shade.

Seed banks will also be established to provide farmers with drought-resistant seeds for the harvest season and enable peer-to-peer learning exchanges so communities can meet and learn from others who have previously built sand dams and participated in climate-smart farming training.

On top of enhancing water security, improving water quality and reducing time and distance to collect water, the project will help farmers produce more food, increase income with more surplus food to sell, increase resilience with new farming practices adapted to their dryland environment, as well as enhance the empowerment of women; as 70% of the ‘self-help groups’ who work on each sand dam project are female, giving them a greater role in decision-making in their communities.

“We are delighted that the Isle of Man has chosen to continue their fantastic support for Excellent Development Isle of Man. This grant will enable four rural communities in one of the driest and least developed parts of Kenya to transform their lives. Over two years, they will build four sand dams and receive training in improved farming methods. This will provide over 5,000 people with a year-round supply of clean water, and help local people to grow enough food to feed their families and improve their household income. Thank you to the Manx people for their generous life-changing support.”

– David Jordan OBE, Chairman of Excellent Development IOM

Alongside the Isle of Man Government’s contribution, the rest of the money has been raised through community contributions in the form of labour and materials, trust/foundations and Rotary.

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