LAST week’s speaker at Ellon Rotary’s meeting was Rotarian Eleanor Macalister, who gave fellow members an enlightening talk on “Excellent”, a charitable organisation in Africa.
‘Excellent’ supports rural communities in Africa living in particularly dry land areas. the charity seeks to achieve food and water security through soil and water conservation, tree planting, sand and sub-surface dams, farming support and learning exchanges. This work vastly improves lives, and transforms degraded environments into fertile ones fit to sustain human life.
The approach has been developed in Kenya, and it is intended to transfer this experience to other food and water insecure communities across the continent.
This organisation has raised more than £3 million thus far to support over 220,000 people in gaining access to clean water. The 82 communities that Excellent has supported have built over 320 dams. Each sand dam provides water for an average of 1000 people, plus livestock and agriculture.
Eleanor illustrated how the positioning of the Sand Dam is so important and how it works in practice. She also reiterated that around £10,000 is enough to build one dam. Water supply is further improved by the construction of pipelines and water tanks. Community members can then benefit from improved health, and less time spent collecting water. They are also able to take advantage of income generation and educational opportunities which improve their long-term livelihood and food security.
The vote of thanks was given by Roderick Bruce who, as one of Ellon’s local farmers, said he could very well understood the benefits of effective farm water management.