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£40 could provide a wheelbarrow to help build a sand dam, providing lifelong water
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£10 a month is enough to provide safe water for life for one person, every month
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£75 could provide someone living in drylands with a set of tools to build a sand dam
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£20 a month means a family living in rural drylands can receive farming tools and training to flourish for life

Passionate about
sand dams.

Excellent Development is a not for profit organisation that supports rural, dryland communities to work their way out of poverty with dignity. We work with local partners to support communities to build sand dams, which provide clean water for life and the opportunity to grow more food to eat, store and sell. Sand dams empower communities, putting their future firmly in their own hands. We believe that they will transform millions of lives. Find out more about what we do

Latest articles

A sand dam takes Malaika children to school

Dear Diary: 5 days constructing sand dams with the Nyungwe in Mozambique. Days 3-5

Governor visit to Wirriam sand dam

The Precious Gift of Time

An oasis in the midst of a drought

Embracing a new era of sand dams and shallow wells

Quest volunteers give a dam

The poverty of desertification

'I never wanted to borrow water from anybody'

The village stud

Sand dams explained

Improving health, improving lives

Improving incomes

'Walking on Water' 6 min documentary

Soil and water conservation

Creating sustainable futures

Water Changes Everything

Two Donkeys, One Choice.

Fish for Thought

Mwanzia: Born on the Way

"My Children's Lives Will Change."

Building Resilience to Climate Change

Transforming Lives Through Climate-Smart Agriculture.

"Hard Way is the Way."

Back to our roots

Kitandi: a fruitful future

An investment that lasts for generations

Self-help and determination

"Running the school has become easier”

A thirst for education

A masterclass in growing mangoes

Rain Catchers

Dear Diary: 5 days constructing sand dams with the Nyungwe in Mozambique. Day 1

Breaking with tradition

Community-led development in action

This is the Year of Family Farming

Joyce Musembi’s kitchen garden

From sand dam to cowshed

The worth of water

Waterborne disease: global problem, local solutions

A star investment

"I was not seeing any hope."

Beating the drought

Excellent's annual report's list of success

Restoring degraded land - it's all in the method

“There was no way out”

Rural women - an inspiration

Worrying weather

Celebrating Universal Children's Day

"It is better to be together"

Joining hands in working together

Healthy soils and family farming go hand in hand

Dignity or nothing

Sweet water on tap

“This time I am successful.”

A sand dam for people, livestock and wildlife

“I was really proud of what we achieved”

"Here, there’s passion to the work."

A finite resource: soil

“There’s a big change”

What a year!

“When the rains fail, you end up with nothing”

Smallholders and climate change

5 minutes with Peter Matunge

An abundance of water

Jobs at Excellent: Fundraising and Admin Assistant

Breaking the cycle of deforestation

Staying put

Ending the cycle of poverty in Mozambique with sand dams

Giving us consent to contact you

Empowering children and women with sand dams

“I want to make money for my children’s education whilst I’m still alive and healthy”

From drought ridden to growing a small forest

How we're supporting the Maasai in Lekurruki

Empowered to build her own shallow well

From 10 hours uphill to a 10 minute walk for water

The far-reaching impact sand dams have on improved water access in rural Kenya

“Determined to succeed” in rural Kenya

Jobs at Excellent: Management Accountant

One step at a time for Kyeni Kya Syatu

My work experience with Excellent Development

My first experience of seeing a sand dam

Water for families

The future is in their hands

Early benefits from a young sand dam

What a difference three years can make

Severe drought predicted to scour Kenya

"Without your funds this project would not be possible"

Big plans for the future

Enterprise and empowerment

The sand dam road crossing that’s providing thousands of Maasai with water security

Changing attitudes to women with sand dams

Investing for their children

A drop in disease and a rental house

A green "oasis" four years on

Reducing inconvenience and conflict with school water tanks

£81,431 raised in Big Give Christmas Challenge 2017!

Sand dams: Creating opportunity and lasting change in Zimbabwe

Matobo: A place of wonder yet scarce of water

Return to Kenya to see the fruits of their labour

Big challenges, huge potential in Lekurruki

“The remaining distance that we have to walk together will now not defeat us”

Kisayani school water tank, 4 years on…

“This is a very successful group so it has a lot of enemies”

Farmers in Rajasthan: from subsistence to economy

“Not just water for drinking but also for livelihoods”

An unexpected fivefold impact in dryland India

1 school water tank = safe water for hundreds of students and teachers

Shallow wells and sand dams bringing back lost glory

Dear Diary: 5 days constructing sand dams with the Nyungwe in Mozambique. Day Two

The fruits of their labour: sand dams providing sanctuary for families in Mozambique

Working in unison: sand dams and livestock projects sending people to university in Kenya

"Before the dam was built, there was no water here. No water at all."

Sand dams bringing row after row of sweet fruits and vegetables

From drylands to lush green, birds and butterflies

"These are life-changing projects"

Press for progress with sand dams, water, women and nature

Rotary revisits Watuka sand dam

Sand dams freeing dryland communities from "water crisis"

The impact of sand dam construction on local workers

3,200 people benefiting from the Catipo sand dam in Mozambique

Sharing with nature

What a sand dam would mean to us

How sand dams are changing the quality of life in rural drylands

Facts & figures


Thousand people with clean water


Self-help groups supported


Sand dams enabled


Million metres of terraces dug

Over 1

Million trees planted


School water tanks built


Rock catchments built


seed banks started

See our films

Help us Kick Start a sand dam revolution

See sand dams in action

Excellent Development are Sand Dam experts.

Since 2002 we have enabled rural, dryland communities to build 988 sand dams in around the world.

Sand dams transform lives. They provide a sustainable, clean, local source of water for rural communities, saving time and creating opportunities for farming, education and poverty alleviation. By breaking the cycle of dependence Sand Dams create choice; freeing people to realise their own potential.

A sand dam is a reinforced concrete wall built across a seasonal river. They can store up to 30 million litres of water in sand. By trapping water within sand, it is protected from contamination and disease.

Sand dams are the most cost-effective method of capturing rain water in drylands.

For information on sand dams, sand dam volunteering opportunities and sand dam fundraising ideas, look no further than Excellent Development. We want you to become a sand dam pioneer too. Together, we can pioneer sand dams in drylands worldwide and transform millions of lives.

Registered in England & Wales No. 4432166. Registered charity No. 1094478