Written by our volunteer: Alicia Russo
Have you heard the saying that someone was “in the right place at the right time”? Well, in simple terms, that is exactly how Amman Imman: Water is Life (AI) began. The story of the organization’s founding is truly inspiring, and the impact that it has had globally since its inception is remarkable.
It has been quite a journey to say the least, and we want to share it with you. None of our work would be possible without the support of our followers. So we hope you will join us as we embark on a special blog series, where we will dive into deep discussions revealing the unique cultures of our African communities and the advances made in each community thus far.
To our consistent followers, we hope that by tuning into this blog series you will feel even more connected with our communities and projects than you do at this very moment. To those of you just joining our efforts, prepare yourselves for what we know will be a heartfelt and inspiring ride. It is our hope that all of you will find encouragement through this series, and that you are reminded of the incredible difference your support is making in the lives of AI’s African communities.
Please join us on the last Wednesday of every month from now until Spring 2016 as we uncover the complete story of Amman Imman’s journey as a humanitarian nonprofit organization. As aforementioned, in each blog post we’ll be exploring AI’s African communities individually, telling stories of the locals that have been shared with us during our time in the field. We’ll cover success stories and explain advancements made in each community, as well as outline what is to be expected in the future. At the end of each post we’ll highlight what the upcoming post will cover, as is done below.
With such diversity across our communities, and so many ongoing projects, this blog series is a big task, but we’re happy to tackle this challenge for you, our dedicated supporters. It is because of you that over 100,000 lives have been saved in the Azawak. Imagine what the future will hold. So please join us in our celebration of what has already happened and what is to come.
We will jump start this series in this post by briefly describing the founding of Amman Imman: Water is Life, for those who are unfamiliar with the story. After all, it is only proper to start a journey at its beginning.
Amman Imman was founded in 2006 by Ariane Kirtley, a young scholar at the time. Ariane happened to be in the right place at exactly the right time. That place was West Africa, where she was conducting research for her Fulbright. Her research assistant was from the Azawak region – a region completely unfamiliar to Ariane at the time - and he begged Ariane to visit his community to see the devastating water crisis his people were facing.
While she received an honored greeting, she was appalled not only by the obvious water crisis, but also the extremely poor living conditions and intense lack of health care throughout the region. Ariane was distraught, and downright worried about the future of these communities and their rich cultures. Sadly, mortality was commonplace in this region. Ariane’s mindset was, and always has been, if a culture is allowed to disappear through neglect or oppression, humanity will lose an irreplaceable treasure. And so Amman Imman was born, and our team has worked tirelessly to empower and preserve Africa’s vulnerable indigenous peoples. Over the years, AI has flourished, and Ariane has grown from a young scholar to one of the world’s top humanitarians. You can learn more about Ariane and AI’s creation here.
Initially serving only one community with the construction of a single borehole, Amman Imman has built five boreholes in the Azawak plains of Niger, providing a safe and secure water source to five communities, as well as nomads from outlier regions. The five communities benefiting directly from AI’s work are Tangarwashane, Tchinwangari, Kijigari, Ebagueye, and Couloubade. Amman Imman has a vision to expand into more communities and help all 500,000 people in the Azawak. It is only with your help that this will be possible.
One of the most meaningful facets of Amman Imman’s work is that it is literally preserving the rich cultures found in the African communities that it works with. Two cultures dominate AI’s African communities – Tuareg and Wodaabe Fulani. Amongst the roughly 7.3 billion people that walk the earth today, there are estimated to be only about six million Fulani peoples and one million Tuareg peoples. Considering this, AI’s dedication to saving the lives of the over half a million Tuareg and Fulani peoples in the Azawak is truly a necessary commitment.
Tune in on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 to learn more about the Tuareg and Fulani cultures. We’ll share details about specific cultural traditions, fascinating rites of passage, captivating folklore, and more.