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Rotarians in Great Britain and Ireland are embarking on a project to raise £1m to build sand dams and improve food security in the Kenyan drylands. Sand dams are a vital resource in Kenya where many women and children walk up to eight hours a day to collect water which is often from unclean rivers or contaminated by animals, parasites or industrial waste.

Sand dams are three to five metre high reinforced concrete dams built on the bedrock of seasonal river channels. After the rainy season, they fill with sand and water for several hundred metres behind the dam, storing up to 20 million litres of water within the sand. The sand filters out impurities, protects the water from contamination and prevents evaporation, providing a cost effective way of capturing and storing rainfall so that it is available all year round.

Rotarians from Great Britain and Ireland have already built twelve dams in Kenya, working with the charities, Excellent Development and the Africa Sand Dam Foundation.