International Development feature: Water Works

published on 18 Mar 2014

The Salvation Army continues to help people all around the world gain access to clean and safe water for the very first time.

In 2012 SAID UK went to Kenya to visit communities in need of water. Here we return to Tawa, in the southeastern part of the country, to show the progress that has been made since.

One of the women we met, called Kakwesi, told us about the impact that a sand-dam would have on the community. Read Kakwesi’s story

We have been working with the community in Tawa in an innovative way to tackle their water need. Together we worked to construct a sand-dam on their river bed, to help them conserve water for the dry season.

Rose is one of the hard-working women from the community who was involved in the construction, and she told us how difficult it was.

She said, ‘We worked very hard to complete the sand dam. We had to gather large stones, dig to remove sand, mix cement, and carry very heavy buckets. We were tired at the end of the day, so tired that we did not even feel that we could eat. We just wanted to lie down.’

It was well worth all the effort. Rose went on to explain another one of the great benefits that access to water makes possible. She said:

‘Now we have water and we have experienced the change. We have enough water for our livestock, and it has brought many good things to our families. Our trees and plants have been boosted. We are very happy.’

Not only does this mean that the community now has better access to water, but women who once spent hours fetching water can invest this time in growing food. The water stored by the sand-dam has also raised the water table of the area, so the community has been able to grow vegetables such as cabbages, kales, tomatoes, spinach and onions along the banks of the river. This provides them with a more nutritious diet and helps them to earn some income. They can also grow more food for their animals which will help them to remain healthy and well fed throughout the year too.

Now that this community has access to clean, safe water, their lives have changed for the better. In fact, the sand dam in Tawa has been so successful that we are now looking to do similar projects in other suitable communities. By combining this with the more traditional option of boreholes and other innovative technologies, we can continue to see communities brought to life through access to water.

With your help we can support other communities like Tawa who are currently still struggling without clean and safe water. If you’re interested in fundraising for WATERSHED then contact us at or visit you can access a whole pack of resources to help you.