Our Work in Africa

Improvement of health, education, and income for women and children

Access to safe water sources is a huge concern in Africa. In fact, waterborne illness is very common as communities often share stagnant water holes with livestock.

Between rainy seasons, these waterholes often evaporate, resulting in children having to walk miles to find a water source for their families. To help provide a reliable, clean source of water, sand dams are being built in Kenya.

Sand dams are a simple, low cost and low maintenance rainwater harvesting technology. They can have a transforming effect on the community around it. Not only does the sand dam provide a reliable source of drinking water for the community, over time it also raises the water table around the dam so that crops can be grown on the banks of the river bed. The structure itself is quite simple, but the impact it has is great.

Grains of Hope focused their funding on supporting the sand dam project in Africa, with the overall goal to provide water, food and income security for farmers with the added benefit of improved health. The project that Grains of Hope contributed to built 30 sand dams; 10 sand dam extensions were completed in the second year alone. Also 185,150 meters of terracing were dug; 103,723 trees were planted; 71 demonstration farms were operational; and 63 seed banks were functioning.

Through the work that has been done in Africa, one of the not so obvious impacts has been the improvement of health, education, and income for women and children. Traditionally, it is women and children who bear responsibility for fetching water. When water is not readily accessible, children often miss school since the task of carrying water to their home can consume the bulk of their day. Women are tasked with much of the farming and domestic work when household income in not sufficient, requiring men to seek employment away from home.

In 2012, our Canadian Foodgrains Bank report indicated there was a 39% increase in the number of people eating three meals a day. A more diversified approach to farming means that protein through eggs and milk, and access to fruit in contributing to a more balanced diet. In 2012, there was a 31% decrease in the time taken to fetch water.