Sand Dam Learning visits to ASDF, Kenya

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Sand Dam


visits to


Excellent Development offers sand dam learning visits jointly with our strategic partners, African Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF). The learning visits are residential training camp to ASDF’s base in Mtito Andei, Makueni County, Kenya, which is 3 hours drive from Nairobi. The course is a participative and structured programme, comprising equal measures of classroom based learning and practical sessions in the field.

The length is 5.5 days (not including travel to the venue) and content is organised into 2 modules that overlap on the middle day:*

  • The 1st module is 3 days long and is targeted towards decision makers
  • The 2nd module is 3.5 days long and is targeted towards technical teams
  • The last day of the 1st module overlaps with the first day of the 2nd module

Participation at both modules is required for technical teams as there is important content in both that they need to cover. Decision makers however, are free to leave after the 1st module unless they have a special interest in the technical information. An overview of both modules is given below:

Decision makers module (3 days)

Purpose: to gain an understanding of the impact of sand dams on development, and getting a pilot up and running in participants own context. Key areas covered include:

  • The ASDF model of development and how sand dams support it. Visits are made to communities to illustrate this.
  • Introduction to siting, design and construction theory
  • Short visit to a dam construction site and participation in construction activities*
  • Running pilot programmes – feasibility assessments and planning for success
  • Next steps in your pilot process

Participation in dam construction alongside a local community is an integral part of the learning experience - it is important in understanding the transformation of a community and environment before and after a sand dam is built. To this end a short period of physical labour is required alongside a local community.

Technical teams module (3.5 days)

Purpose: to gain a sound understanding of the theory and practice of sand dam siting, design and construction and the factors that affect feasibility and success.

Key areas covered include:

  • Siting theory and practical – including river bed walks to identify sites
  • Design theory and practical – including examination and critique
  • Construction theory and practical
  • Feasibility and pilot planning (in greater detail than in decision maker module)

Field visits to community groups and their sand dams are made throughout both modules to augment theory. We run a small number of these learning visits every year, some of our recent attendees have included WaterAid Uganda and Ethiopia, the Dabane Trust, Jal Bhagarathi Foundation, Islamic Relief, CRS Tanzania, USAID and UNDP. Attached is some of the feedback, called Sharing the success of sand dams.

Upcoming courses:

  • 17th – 23rd August, 2014 (arrival Sunday evening, departure Saturday afternoon)
Sharing the success of sand dams
Note, the Decision Makers module ends on the 20th of August with transfers to Nairobi that afternoon.

Costs include; tuition, meals, accommodation at ASDF and transfers between Nairobi and the training venue.

- C

Unfortunately we are unable to over this course in French language or with a translator. However, if you have someone in your group that can offer their translation services, we can run the course more slowly to accommodate that. You may also be interested in our sand dam manual, which is currently being translated into French.

- C

Yes we will be running the course again next year and I will post a notice here when the dates are known.