The example of Josephine below is drawn from the 2010 External Review Final Report by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).
Josephine has been a member of the original Utooni self help group since 1978. She has invested sweat equity in many dams since then. She is making a very good living for a rural Kenyan where the average per capita income is around $100 a month or $1,200 a year. Her immediate income (income minus timber income which will take 15 yrs or so to realize) moved from about $5,500 in 2006 to $7,500 in 2010. While her “retirement” portfolio grew from about $2,000 to $5,000, that is something very, very few Kenyans have any hope of – a retirement income. This income is earned on 2.5 acres of land, off about 2km from the river, watering her vegetables and trees using her donkey to carry water. Granted she is the exception but she is proof that hard work and sand dams and terraces can make a big difference and in her case it has been doing so for 30 years! That speaks to sustainability. (p. 26)
Less distance to fetch water, and less time queuing to draw it, means time saved and money earned. As a result of having water during the dry season, self help group farmers can fetch higher prices for their fruits, vegetables, and firewood.