Mission and Vision

Amman Imman's is dedicated to empowering and preserving Africa's most vulnerable indigenous peoples and engaging school children worldwide as socially conscious leaders.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays: A Profile of our Youngest Supporters

Dear Friends of the Azawak, 
     I send you holiday greetings from Niamey, Niger, where Denis, Fassely and I will be celebrating the season in over 100 degree heat with our friends.  Denis and I have been busy negotiating with contractors and working with a study bureau to build the Montessori Well of Love borehole in Kijigari.  If all goes as planned, we hope to begin drilling in February!  I will keep you updated as soon as we have more information.                                               

      In this season of giving, I am remembering the children. Amman Imman has always been about giving life to children. Yet it is the children of the Azawak who gave life to Amman Imman.  They inspired me and continue to inspire everyone along the way as the breath of our dedication.  More than we commonly acknowledge, children are amazingly powerful.  The children of the Azawak have now been united with students worldwide that have joined our mission as Heroes of Compassion.  All these children are now my main sources of inspiration, keeping me working in love and hope for my communities in the Azawak.

    To make your holidays a little warmer, I want to share a few stories from those that inspire me most, the children and breath of Amman Imman....

Happy Holidays! 
Yours for the children of the Azawak,

    Ariane's digital signature.jpg

Odin - Our Youngest Hero of Compassion

Eight year old Odin insisted that he wanted to help children and animals in a West African country that suffered due to the lack of water.   Cornerspring Montessori teacher Cindy Scappaticci had no clue where he got this idea, but following his lead she searched the internet. She discovered Amman Imman.  The story of the people of the Azawak deeply moved Odin, but being shy he did not know how to express his deep feelings.  When Odin watched the video, Water Crisis in the Azawak, he had to turn away, "Because it was too sad", he said.   His mother encouraged him to share his sensitivity with his classmates.  "Your sadness will help you understand your passion," she said.

Odin pouring dirty water.jpgOdin made a presentation, bringing a tray with 18 clear glasses to his circle of classmates.  Everyone drank a glass of water.  Next, Odin  shared the struggles that the people of the Azawak endure by reading aloud the book Amman Imman - A Story.   The story of these beautiful people, living without the dignity of having water to drink, unfolded to the children through the simple and compelling words and photographs.

Teacher Cindy finds the term "Heroes of Compassion" very appropriate, "That's who these children are in their make up," she says.  By designating kids as Heroes of Compassion, their caring nature is validated.  For Odin, Amman Imman has been a vehicle for his own passion, and a way for him to feel and express his compassion.  It is a powerful acknowledgment for a shy eight year old to move people to action. Read the rest of Odin’s story on the Wells of Love blog: A young hero of compassion shares his passion and calls his community to action.

Andrea Manchester (8th grade) 

Andrea and Debbie-1.jpgI chose this project because I believe that helping others less fortunate than ourselves is not merely an option, but a necessary course of action. It’s important to give back to the global community, particularly if you are born in a society that supplies you with both basic needs as well as whims. Some people wonder why I’ve chosen to help Amman Imman when there are humanitarian issues so close to home. My answer is simple: people in the Azawak aren’t getting help from anyone else. Specifically, I am addressing the Azawak’s desperate need for water. It’s a simple concept, really. The residents of that area have no water for ten months out the year, so I say let’s give it to them! Saving lives is an amazing thing, and by advocating for AI and helping to fundraise, I am helping to do just that

My participation in Wells of Love helps me to be a Hero of Compassion by encouraging me to motivate others in working towards a common goal, as well as helping me to realize that achieving the greater good takes more than a single generous soul. It’s helped me to learn that I’ll only reach my goals if I advocate for myself and take initiative. You’d be surprised by how few people can do that.

I learned that I don’t need an incentive to help others. It actually comes kind of naturally. I feel a want, if not an urge, to provide aid for those in need of it. It’s also helped me to realize how insignificant I am as an individual, that I can only do little things to work towards something greater. By dedicating myself to this worthy cause, and working collaboratively towards the boreholes, I set a long-term goal for myself. I encourage you to take this up, too!

Sebastian Ashley (8th grade)

IMG_0394_2.JPG The reason that I chose to work with Amman Imman was because I thought that this project was the most urgent and important. Some of the possible community service options had to do with helping the homeless or old, but this one helps those who are dying, and this project has very few people actually working as a staff or members, so they could use more help. Amman Imman is important because it helps the people of the Azawak’s need for water and also helps their economy.

By participating in Wells of Love I have become a Hero of Compassion.   In a small organization like Amman Imman, if you want something done then you can’t just sit around and hope someone else will do it for you. You have to take the initiative and become a leader. I have become more philanthropic because I now see how many people have given up prized possessions and much money for others, so I now see that the least I can do is give up a little spare time.

Read the entire story about Andrea and Sebastian on the Wells of Love blog: Super Heroes of Compassion

Please Donate and Get Involved!
The Heroes of Compassion in these stories are now a part of the breath that keeps Amman Imman alive.  
  • Read more stories about our Heroes of Compassion on the Wells of Love blog
  • Get involved with our Wells of Love service learning program
  • Contact Debbie or visit our website to register and learn more about Wells of Love!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Actress-Activist Mia Farrow endorses Amman Imman as Preparations for the Montessori Well of Love in Niger Begin

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

This Friday, Denis, Fassely and I fly across the Mediterranean and the Sahara, to Niger, to begin work on the construction of the Kijigari borehole.   This Montessori Well of Love, built by the love and perseverance of our Montessori Heroes of Compassion, will be dedicated to our beloved late Dennis Hamilton to honor him for initiating Amman Imman’s collaboration with students.

We depart having just received two extraordinary gifts! The first is a wonderful endorsement by renowned actress and humanitarian activist Mia Farrow, who as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador has already done so much to bring attention to the genocide in Darfur and the refugee crisis in Central Africa. Today, I am proud and humbled to announce that she is lending her voice of support to our efforts to bring hope and stability to the Azawak. In her own words:  

      "I would like to add my voice to those who champion the work of Ariane Kirtley in the Azawak region of Niger. Together with her husband Denis, Ariane is facing daunting challenges to bring the children of the Azawak a future other than the abhorrent condition of daily thirst they experience today. I hope those who are in a position to support this remarkable young woman and her organization Amman Imman Water Is Life, will do so  before the half a million inhabitants of the Azawak become displaced throughout the sub-region, triggering further strife and suffering."

      -- Mia Farrow, Actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

I personally would like to thank Ms. Farrow. Her support is a great boon for all of us.

The other gift came to us all the way from Australia, from longtime supporter of The Friendship Caravan, songwriter Vanda Franey. Inspired by our efforts to bring water to those who have none, Vanda wrote a song, "Well of Love" in honor of Amman Imman. I encourage you to listen to it here, Vanda's song

I would like to propose that "Well of Love" become the anthem for the building of our next borehole, which I talk about further below. 

Flush with this good news, it pains me to also say that we have not raised the full amount of funds necessary to build the Kijigari borehole. I realize times are particularly difficult, but we have faith that the holidays will bring in bountiful gifts.  Your generosity and support have already taken us so far, and I appeal to everyone to be especially charitable this year.  I will echo Mia’s words:  those of you in a position to lend a hand this holiday season please do, so that we may have water flowing for the children of Kijigari by the end of February.  Please take a moment to make a donation: Donate to Amman Imman

I leave you with Vanda's lyrics ringing in our ears, offering encouragement for our never-ceasing efforts:

Half a million babies cry
Deep in sandy desert lie,
NO WATER in the region

Water is life - - AMMAN IMMAN
Water is Life - - AMMAN IMMAN

Human Nature holds the key
Of timeless generosity
Water is Life - - AMMAN IMMAN

Say a prayer on desert land
That God will give a helping hand,
This is your dream - - AMMAN IMMAN
This is your dream - - AMMAN IMMAN

Thank you once again for making our work for the children of the Azawak possible!

With love and peace,


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wells of Love: An Opportunity for Students

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

As the program director for Wells of Love, the service learning component of humanitarian organization Amman Imman: Water is Life, I'd like to invite parents, teachers and students in your community to learn about our organization and get involved in our program. Amman Imman is dedicated to saving and improving lives among the poorest and most abandoned populations of the world by building permanent water sources in the Azawak of West Africa. Our program for schools, Wells of Love, empowers students as "Heroes of Compassion" - future leaders with a caring, philanthropic spirit - by engaging them to help bring water and hope to the people of the Azawak.

Children enjoy clean and plentiful water 
from the Tangarwashane borehole, built by 
Amman Imman with the help of students 
around the world.

For the past three years, students in over 50 schools around the world have had the opportunity to be among the first to bring attention to this region in Niger and Mali where half a million people suffer from the effects of extreme water scarcity due to a changing climate. These students have become part of a grassroots movement to help a population of people that no one else is helping. Through Wells of Love, students become leaders in raising awareness about the water issues in this region. They participate in fund raising projects that utilize their initiative, creativity and commitment to making the world a better place. Students from pre-school to college age have been helping make a tangible difference in the lives of the children and families in this Azawak.      
Students raise funds in A Walk For Water and other service projects.

Tuareg child from the Azawak of Niger
Very importantly, Amman Imman celebrates the dignity and rich heritage of the people of the Azawak by focusing on the beauty and the generosity that shines through in spite of the peril under which they live. Wells of Love personally connects students with children in the Azawak, making the act of giving more meaningful.

I am available to present this amazing and beautiful project at school assemblies, to individual classes or at club meetings.  Please help me make connections at schools so that more students can have this opportunity.  If you have someone you can refer me to, please contact me debbie at ammanimman.org or call 240-418-1143. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

You can be part of empowering students and helping the people of the Azawak have a future of hope!

Amman Imman honors the people of the Azawak 
whose courage and generosity are an inspiration to us all.

Yours in peace and hope for children everywhere,
Debbie Kahn
Associate Director, Amman Imman : Water is Life
Wells of Love, program director

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mia Farrow, Montel Williams and Wells of Love


Dear Friends of the Azawak,
As you can see from the many recent emails, Amman Imman is broadening its reach through the media and our new service learning program - Wells of Love!  Please read our most recent news:

Celebrity-Activists Mia Farrow and Montel Williams shine a light on Amman Imman!
P1020580.jpgWe are proud to announce that celebrated actor and activist Mia Farrow has written about Amman Imman on her blog!  She states:  "There is no water in the Azawak region and people are literally dying of thirst.  The water table is now too deep in the ground for them to reach" (extracted from her blog).  Please read more of her blog post here.

If you missed my LIVE interview on "Montel Across America" on October 23, 2009, you can still listen to the broadcast on our website!  Highlights from the interview:
  • "What do we have to do to make people in America understand that no matter
      how bad it is for us, there are still people that are worse-off, and we
      still need to do our part because that to whom much is given, much is
    - Montel Williams  
  • "It sounds so simple, let's see what we can do.  You've got our commitment
      here at "Montel Across America" to help you out.  We'll make sure we keep
      ringing the bell as loudly as we can."
    - Montel Williams.   
For other media coverage from Air America, please listen to Jack Rice'sin-depth interview with Ariane, aired on October 21, 2009. 

AnnouncinDebbie.jpgg Wells of Love led by Debra Kahn!
Wells of Love empowers students as Heroes of Compassion – future leaders with a caring, philanthropic spirit – by engaging them in service learning.  I am thrilled and honored to have Debra Kahn working full-time by my side as Wells of Love Director, employing her infectious passion to garner the help of our Heroes of Compassion for the children of the Azawak! For the past three years, Debra’s tremendous dedication and commitment as a volunteer has united students in partnership with Amman Imman in over 50 Montessori schools around the world.  Having left her recent position as Associate Director of Oneness-Family School, Debra will continue to engage our current and future public, private and independent school partners, providing resources and initiating collaborative projects to help them save the lives of the children of the Azawak.

Please tell your local schools about Wells of Love and the opportunity for their students to become Heroes of Compassion for their brothers and sisters in the Azawak.  To register as a Wells of Love School, please contact Debra at debbie@ammanimman.org. Learn more about the Wells of Love program here.

New Wells of Love Campaign: Hand in Hand
Debra has been hard at work to launch a campaign that combines philanthropy with creativity.  Hand in Hand offers an opportunity fHand in Hand  key photo.jpgor our student Heroes of Compassion to use art as a means to help their brothers and sisters in the Azawak.  Here’s how it works: Wells of Love schools choose a craft project that students can make using their own hands. Students then sell their handmade crafts in their school and community to raise money for their Well of Love. These handcrafted gifts symbolize the growing friendship between the two cultures as they walk hand-in-hand toward love and hope.

Please join our Heroes of Compassion in bringing water to the Azawak by incorporating Hand In Hand into the annual holiday celebration of a school in your area!  For more information, please visit our campaigns on the web.

Yours in hope and friendship for the children of the Azawak,

Ariane Alzhara Kirtley

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Montel Williams, Video footage, and more!


Dear Friends of the Azawak,


I hope that this update finds you well!  Firstly, I want to remind you to listen live to my interview with Montel Williams on Air America, this Friday at 11:20 am (note change of time)Also, I invite you to view the video of my recent interview with national talk show host Jack Rice on our  Amman Imman blog.

VIDEO:  Julie's footage of the sprouting Tangarwashane forest

As you'll see in my welcome letter below, Julie Snorek is now the USA Operations Coordinator for Amman Imman.  Last August, Julie returned to Niger, a place where she lived as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2005-2007.  Along with Moumine and Amamatou, two members of our local Amman Imman team, Julie took the grueling ride in a 4x4 to the see for herself the oasis of life that the Tangarwashane borehole has become.  Her short video shows evidence of a forest now sprouting in Tangarwashane, just one example of how Amman Imman brings water and development to the Azawak.   Click here to watch the video.

 Welcome Julie Snorek, Amman Imman’s USA Operations Coordinator

Julie4web.jpgI am pleased to announce the arrival of Julie Snorek as our USA Operations Coordinator.  Julie will be coordinating our fundraising efforts, organizing volunteers, following up with partners (including sponsors and donors), conducting outreach, and keeping our Bethesda office running smoothly. Julie’s passion for Niger began during her time living in a Tuareg village as a  Peace Corps volunteer from 2005 to 2007. I first met Julie in Niamey,  during her Peace Corps Swear-in ceremony, and then later at a festival in northern Niger.  The festival fell towards the end of my first visit to the Azawak, and so Julie and I talked at great length about all I had witnessed there while visiting several villages on the way back to her village in the south.  I was impressed that Julie not only understood the culture and history of the Tuareg people, but also spoke their language, Tamashek.  When Julie moved back to the US, she became a dedicated Amman Imman volunteer, spearheading many outreach efforts, including hosting three exhibitions of Amman Imman's photographs, speaking on stage to 800 Tinariwen (a Malian band whose album is "Aman Iman") concert-goers, and presentating to community and school groups in New England.  Today, Julie and I have unified our passion for the Azawak by working more closely together to bring them water and hope through Amman Imman.

Sincerely yours, for the children of the Azawak,

Ariane Alzhara Kirtley, Founder and Director

Monday, October 19, 2009

AI founder and director, Ariane Kirtley, interviewed by Jack Rice of Air America radio

Air America radio journalist Jack Rice talks to Ariane Kirtley, founder and director of Amman Imman: Water is Life. Jack’s interview with Ariane gets right to the heart of the matter.  He says, “Every so often I come across someone who inspires me. Someone who makes me want to do more or be more.”  He is talking about a conversation he had with Ariane, which lead to this interview. 

Jack asks her about Amman Imman’s mission to bring water to the 500,000 people of the Azawak. Then he probes deeper, asking her why she personally has taken this on, at great risk to herself and her young family. Ariane speaks eloquently, from her heart, about why she has dedicated herself to bringing water to this extremely remote region with conditions so difficult that other organizations, even large ones with resources, would not undertake.  And yet she, moved by the great dignity and love of the people who had become her friends, decided she had to help.

Clearly, bringing these Oases of Life to the people of the Azawak is more than a job for Ariane.  She is compelled by something greater than herself.  Call it love, call it destiny.  She cannot turn away. As she says, “You do it because you know it is right.  Somewhere in your heart you know it is right.”  Watch this two part interview and get to the heart of it with Jack Rice and Ariane Kirtley.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amman Imman Founder Ariane Kirtley Featured Guest on Air America Radio Show "Montel Across America"

Washington, D.C. (October 7, 2009) — Ariane Alzhara Kirtley, the Founder and Director of Amman Imman: Water is Life will be broadcast live throughout the country on Air America’s “Montel Across America” show, October 23, 2009 at 11:30 am EST. An Emmy Award-winning host for one of the longest-running talk shows in history, Montel Williams has presented challenging issues to American households for the past 17 years. With Amman Imman and Ariane Kirtley, Montel is tackling one of the most important issues of the century – water scarcity.

Tune into Air America online at: http://airamerica.com. Montel Williams and Ariane Kirtley will discuss project Amman Imman: Water is Life and the water crisis facing over 500,000 people due to climate change. The conversation begins at 11:30 AM EST during his October 23rd show entitled "Living Well."

With partners like Air America, Amman Imman: Water is Life is bringing water and hope to the children of the Azawak in West Africa and focusing the country's attention on the "human face of climate change." Please help us spread the word and listen to Montel and Ariane at 11:30 EST, October 23rd 2009 on Air America.

For more information about Amman Imman, please visit http://www.waterishope.org. To read about student efforts to help, visit: http://montessori-amman-imman-project.blogspot.com/.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Upcoming Interview with Montel Williams and More!


Dear Friends of the Azawak,
Montel announcement medium.jpg

I hope that this update finds you well!  Today I write to share news from Tangarwashane and tell you about the media attention we've been getting, as well as my upcoming live interview with talk-show host, Montel Williams.

An Oasis of Life in the Azawak

Julie Snorek, our newly hired USA Operations Coordinator, visited the Tangarwashane borehole in August and brought back footage and Tree nursery.jpgphotos of happenings I only dreamt of three years ago.  Most impressive is the creation of a Gum Arabica forest from the tree nursery with the help of International Relief and Development (IRD).  Julie's footage shows the villagers from Tangarwashane digging parcels to plant their trees, which the families will then use for commerce by selling the sap.   IRD and the national government are also helping to improve the population's food security by working with women to build up livestock herds and run a cereal bank.  As IRD claims, none of these developments could have taken place without the borehole. 

The Tangarwashane borehole is truly becoming an oasis of life, and helping the populations adapt to the consequences of their rapidly changing climate.  We still have so much more work to accomplish in order to create life-bearing oases across the Azawak.  I am in the United States with my husband and Niger Program Director, Denis and our son Fassely with this goal in mind.

Amman Imman in the Media

Of the many exciting things happening in the USA is the media attention Amman Imman has garnered these past couple of months.  Among the most impressive was the four-page coverage in the book "Changing People's Lives While Transforming Your Own" (read about the book and download the article on our website) and my interview published in the World Wide ASPect (download the article here).  I hope to write soon announcing my most recent interviews in some major publications.

Listen live to Ariane's Interview with Montel Williams on Air America, October 23, 2009 at 11:30 am
 aa washington.jpg
Please listen in as my interview with Montel Williams is broadcast live throughout the country on Air America's "Montel Across America" show on October 23, 2009 at 11:30 am EST.  Our conversation will take place at the Washington Convention Center during the 2009 kickoff of the Marine Corps Marathon.  Tune in to Air America online at http://airamerica.com.

An Emmy Award-winning host for one of the longest-running talk shows in history, Montel Williams has presented challenging issues to American households for the past 17 years.  With Amman Imman, Montel is tackling two of the most important issues of the century - water scarcity and climate change.  Together we will discuss Amman Imman and how the children of the Azawak are the human faces of climate change today. 

Air America is partnering with Amman Imman by helping with such various things as providing commercial air spots, offering commercial air time to our partners, and organizing interviews with such highly respected talk-show hosts such as Montel Williams and Jack Rice (air date to be announced soon).  We are so grateful to Air America, and particularly station manager Marty Sheehan, for their incredible support!!  Please spread the word by telling your friends and listening at 11:30 EST, October 23rd 2009 on Air America.

Yours in peace, for our brothers and sisters in the Azawak.

Donate to Amman Imman

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Human Face of Climate Change

“Water is Life.” This could not be truer than in the Azawak of West Africa where half a million people have no water for ten months of the year. Only half of the children reach their fifth birthday, and many die simply of thirst. They are the human faces of climate change.

A vast plain approximately the size of Florida on the edge of the Sahara, the Azawak is one of the poorest regions in landlocked countries, Niger and Mali.  Climate change has shortened the rainy season to less than two months a year.  Without rain, the people and animals have no water to drink or bathe with.  Living on the brink of survival, the region’s 500,000 inhabitants walk up to thirty-five miles a day searching for water.  They have no access to roads or schools, and health centers are a two day donkey ride away.  Few development organizations work to improve their lives.

There is hope.  Clean and sustainable sources of water do exist there, at depths ranging from 600 to 3000 feet, too deep to reach without expensive mechanical equipment. As the humanitarian program of the American 501c3 non-profit The Friendship Caravan, Amman Imman is drilling permanent sources of water in order to provide these resilient people a chance to live without the indignity of daily thirst and fear of water-borne illness.   Amman Imman’s borehole wells provide water for up to 25,000 people and animals, and serve as a catalyst for community development. Once water flows year round, other development organizations provide an array of other desperately needed support, such as schools for children and adults, reforestation and environmental protection programs, and food and health aid.

Water is life.  One water source at a time, we can bring water and hope to people who have nowhere else to turn.  Please help fulfil this dream.  The children of the Azawak deserve a better future.

Today is Blog Action Day and the focus is climate change! 

Take action by helping Amman Imman: Water is Life

bring water to the children and families

living in the Azawak of West Africa! 

These are the human faces of climate change!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Please Grant This Wish!

Dearest Friends,

      Thank you to everyone that has helped make my 31st birthday so special by sending me birthday wishes. It has been wonderful hearing from all of you!!

      Of course, I'm not asking for presents, but if you want to help me celebrate in a more concrete way, please consider sending in a contribution to Amman Imman: Water is Life. I founded this organization three years ago to help improve and save lives among the 500,000 people living in the Azawak of West Africa by building permanent and sustainable sources of water. The first borehole built in Tangarwashane has borne many fruits. Not only do the people living there have access to clean water year-round, but their children now go to school, the government is now providing health aid, and another development project called IRD is reforesting the land by planting 5,000 gum arabica trees.

      Your present, large or small, will help Amman Imman get one step closer to building our next borehole in the village of Kijigari.

Much love,

Do you want to fulfill Ariane's wish?  Please visit her wish page on the Amman Imman facebook cause: I want to grant Ariane's wish.

Friday, July 10, 2009

PBS showcases water problems in the Azawak

"According to UNICEF, only about 20 percent of Niger's underground water is tapped," reports the PBS Online Newshour in a recently published slide show Families Hunt for Water in Niger Valley. The photo slide show captures images from Amman Imman's recent visit to the Azawak, where it identified the site of its next borehole well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

$15 to save a life and fight desertification

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

Anaha (Kijigari) 3 (Small).JPG
Last week I called upon your generosity to help us raise $25,000 to build a borehole for the desperately thirsty children of Kijigari. I told you the story of Anaha, and her daily struggle against the deadly impact of desertification and drought.

Today, on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, let Anaha's story become your personal story of compassion for the children of the Azawak. Anaha and her friends in Kijigari need YOUR gift to survive.
On this day, I request that you do two things:

1. Contribute at least $15 towards the Kijigari borehole and personally become a part of the global battle against desertification and drought. Click here to make your contribution.

If only 1,000 people were to give $15 (that's about eleven Euros for those of you in Europe), Amman Imman would already be $15,000 closer to its $25,000 goal! Of course, contributions of any size, even larger or smaller, get us one critical step closer to building this much needed borehole. Every dollar helps us change the lives of children who deserve a brighter future. Give your gift today.

girl (Kijigari) (Small).JPG

2. Forward this message to each and every person you know and post our campaign on your websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

If you and every person you know contribute at least $15, we may actually exceed our $25,000 goal and the children of Kijigari will never again go a day without a glass of water to drink!

I am making my personal $15 gift of life today. Please join me and Amman Imman today by making your life-saving contribution for the children of the Azawak. Believe that YOU can make a difference. Anaha and her friends are counting on you to survive.

Thank you! Together, we will build a borehole in Kijigari!

Yours for the children of the Azawak,


Ariane Alzhara Kirtley
Founder and Director
Amman Imman: Water is Life
A program of The Friendship Caravan
phone # USA: +1(203)887-4213
phone # France: +33684468198
phone # Niger: +22797329388

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 17: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

June 17: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Help us build a borehole in Kijigari!

Desert and drought are all 8-year-old Anaha has ever known. Despite the 120 degree heat, she giggles and plays while pouring brackish liquid from a hole dug in a dried marsh - she is grateful for the mud that keeps her brothers and sisters alive. She doesn't worry about the month to follow, when the mud will have dried and nothing will be left to cook with or drink. Today she smiles.

You and I already know that desertification threatens the lives and livelihoods of our friends in the Azawak of West Africa, Anaha's home, where more than half a million people live on the brink of survival. On June 17, the United Nations calls the global community to observe "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought".

In honor of this day and of Anaha, join us by contributing to Amman Imman's goal of raising $25,000 towards our work in the Azawak.

This $25,000 will make a critical difference in starting construction on our next borehole in Kijigari, Anaha's village. Less than two years ago, Amman Imman drilled its first borehole in the village of Tangarwashane. Now the children there drink pristine water, bathe, and have plenty of time to attend the newly built school. Their parents now go to adult learning classes and have begun reforesting the land near their borehole. These and other development projects have become possible thanks to the precious water it provides.

On this day, I request that YOU and EACH AND EVERY PERSON I know, do two things:

• Contribute $15 towards the Kijigari borehole today and personally become a part of the global battle against desertification and drought

If only 1,000 people were to give $15 dollars (that’s about eleven Euros for those of you in Europe), Amman Imman would already be 15,000 dollars closer to its 25,000 dollar goal! Of course, contributions of any size, big or small, get us one critical step closer to building this much needed borehole. Every dollar helps us change the lives of children who deserve a brighter future.

• Forward this message to EACH AND EVERY PERSON you know and post our campaign on your websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

If you and every person you know contributes only $15 or less, we may actually exceed our $25,000 goal and the children of Kijigari will never again go a day without a glass of water to drink!

We are depending on you. Without clean water, as many as one in five of the children in Anaha's village die of thirst and dehydration before the age of 5, and another third die of water-related disease. Simple things like a pimple or scraped knee can be life-threatening.

Support our work today and help us build a borehole for Anaha and the other children of the Azawak. They are extremely grateful for your continued support, and depend on your generosity for a future of hope.

Yours for the children of the Azawak,

Ariane Alzhara Kirtley
Founder and Director
Amman Imman: Water is Life

To find out more about Amman Imman and our programs please write us at: info@ammanimman.org

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Partnerships and Progress in the Azawak

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

I am relieved to report that my dear husband Denis has finally returned from Niger after spending the last month working with our local team in Niger. Fassely and I had to return home early due to the unbearable heat and a dangerous meningitis outbreak. Denis remained behind to finish up all the last minute work for Amman Imman in the field.

Several positive developments took place over this past month in Niger, but before I move ahead, please take a moment to note a new section on our website, which shares inspiring stories of our work both in the United States and in Niger: www.waterishope.org/News_and_Events/stories_main.html.

Also, the Montessori schools are involved in several events at this time of year. You can read more about their “Walks for Water” and “Amman-a-thons,” here: A Walk for Water and Amman-a-thon.

Update on the Montessori Well of Love Borehole:
Our progress on the construction of the “Montessori Well of Love” borehole continues. Amman Imman’s whole cost structure and budget for borehole drilling is based on certain fixed prices – labor, materials, drilling and so forth. With spot uranium prices at a record high, world demand over the next 10 years along with the recent economic crisis have spotlighted uranium-rich Niger. Overnight we have witnessed one of the poorest countries in the world transforming to become the second largest uranium producer in the world. Because of this uranium boom plus new oil well drilling, contractors have their pockets bulging with new money. Prices for drilling have quadrupled since the Tangarwashane borehole was completed in 2007, and our small budget is simply no longer competitive with the huge multinationals who can literally throw money into the ground to reach the riches beneath.

Despite this news we remain resolute and committed to our goal of bringing clean and sustainable water to the poorest region of one of the poorest nations on earth. All along we have been working diligently at developing partnerships with powerful NGOs and other organizations that have entered collaborative arrangements with us. Furthermore, even though the money is speaking so forcefully, personal relationships do still count for a lot. A week before Denis left Niger, a good friend of ours that had stopped working for the largest drilling company in Niger – Foraco -- has recently been reappointed with a promotion. Our friend was very upset that we had not been offered a good price quote and intends to help us obtain an affordable price as soon as a drilling machine becomes available.

Since drilling has been put on standby, Denis refocused his energy on our very crucial field work. Most importantly, Denis held capacity building workshops with our local team in Abalak and continued follow-up work with the Tangarwashane Management Committee. Denis has also been successful in developing partnerships with non-governmental organizations that are either already working, or plan to work in the Azawak soon. These organizations include: International Relief and Development (IRD), Africare, the French Embassy, Jemed, and CARE International. And finally, Denis and our local team visited several more potential villages including Izelig, Tchinwagari, and Tassnala where we may work in the future.
The Amman Imman field team: Moumine -- local representative , Denis -- Niger Program Coordinator, Amamatou and Jalal -- field agents
Here are highlights of Denis and our local team’s current work in the field:

International Relief and Development (IRD) comes to Tangarwashane Bearing Trees
The international non-profit organization IRD began working in the Abalak region of the Azawak a few months ago. As soon as we heard of IRD’s presence in Abalak, Denis and I met with their local representatives to tell them about Tangarwashane. We pushed for them to consider working in the village to conduct revenue generating activities, as well as initiatives to protect the environment. We were thrilled to hear that they ended up choosing Tangarwashane as one of their intervention sites. We are currently working with IRD to choose future sites together, as partners.

IRD’s first project is to reforest the area around the borehole and to protect the land as more and more people and animals come to fetch water. It has already begun building a nursery to grow 500,000 trees, and has set up a management committee to ensure that the program succeeds. The NGO could not consider doing this work if there weren’t the borehole to provide the water for the nursery. Once this project is well established, IRD plans on rebuilding livestock herds and financing agricultural training.

It is only with this type of aid that communities throughout the Azawak can flourish. When bringing water to a community, one of Amman Imman’s core principles is to partner with other organizations that can bring other forms of help, including food, health, and education. These secondary projects are vital and life supporting and their success depends greatly on the boreholes we initially drill.

We are pleased to report that our effort has been highly effective. Since we built the Tangarwashane borehole, a functional school with 20 students has been created by the government; adult classes are being offered to men and women through a local NGO called At’cool; and now environmental measures are being established to protect the land surrounding the borehole. With IRD’s help, and the eventual presence of other organizations with which we are developing partnerships, I feel certain that little by little health, agriculture and livestock programs will come to Tangarwashane. Eventually aid will sprout and take root throughout the Azawak, thereby permitting this destitute region to flourish.

A Borehole to Last Forever…
Pristine water now flows in the Azawak village of Tangarwashane. When our Amman Imman team returned to the village this February, after more than a year away, we proudly drank the water and admired the borehole. I was able to speak with many nomads passing through, and upon witnessing their joy at finally having clean drinking water I beamed with happiness, for so many lives had been improved. The meters and counters on the faucets showed that many people were drinking from its fountain. Every report we had gotten from the department of hydraulics and our local team members had been true: the Tangarwashane Borehole is now a true blessing to many thousands of people and animals.

But for how long?

The life and duration of a borehole depends on how well it is financially and technically managed. After long discussions with Alhassan, Hakami, village leaders and members of the management committee including women such as Raichatou and Sadouan, we arrived at a crucial realization. The members of the Tangarwashane management committee need and want a good deal of follow up training. We are precisely positioned to give them this long-term support until they feel comfortable managing the borehole on their own.

Amamatou and Jalal training Tangarwashane Management Committee vice president, Yacoubou, and treasurer, Raichatou
how to maintain financial records

To begin fulfilling our promise, we hired three people locally to provide training and assistance twice a month in Tangarwashane and our future sites. We created our own version of a management school, which also provides special support to women to help them increase their voice and role within the committee and community in general. Eventually, the committee will become independent and will no longer require our support. This process may take anywhere from months to years to achieve. But our village communities and Amman Imman are a team united in a common goal: that water will flow for generations and generations, and that communities will grow and thrive. Amman Imman is there to make sure that this happens.

Amman Imman field agent, Amamatou, speaks to women in a camp near Tangarwashane about the borehole, as well as hygiene and sanitation

The fruit of our labor is already evident. Only one month after reinstating “training classes” for the management committee, it raised $400 from selling the water to both the local community and nomads using the borehole. Raichatou, the treasurer, traveled to Tahoua last week with her husband in order to open up a bank account where the committee will keep the money earned for the maintenance of the borehole. The local representative from the department of hydraulics, Abdoulkarim, has agreed to sign off whenever money is taken out in order to ensure that the money is spent exclusively for borehole maintenance and repair.

May water flow EVERYWHERE in the Azawak:
During Denis’ last visit in the field, he and our local team – Moumine, Jalal, and Amamatou --visited many villages. Of particular interest was the village of Tchinwagari where a borehole was recently built by UNICEF thanks to a proposal Amman Imman submitted to them in 2007. The villagers were very grateful for our help getting the borehole, but they wanted more. Since UNICEF no longer operates in the region, they were now turning to us for help. Their management committee had only received one day of training from the Tchintabaradene department of hydraulics, and they felt uncomfortable managing their borehole properly both technically and financially.
Moumine, Denis, Amamatou, and Jalal in frount of the Tchinwagari water tower
Since our goal is for potable water to flow throughout the Azawak, and whatever we do to support this is part of our prime directive, we decided to honor their request. The local Amman Imman Management Team will conduct bimonthly visits to Tchinwagari to conduct follow-up training and assistance with their borehole management committee members. Our female employee, Amamatou, will also be educating the women of the village on hygiene and sanitation. Additionally, she will be doing the crucial work of fighting for these women to gain a voice within their borehole’s management committee. In fact, our team conducted their first training session this weekend, and as a result, three women were appointed to the management committee.

Thank you for your continued support for Amman Imman and the people of the Azawak. And I send out a very special thank you to Denis, Moumine, Jalal, and Amamatou for their hard work in the field!

Together, we are making a difference!

Yours for the Children of the Azawak,


Thursday, May 7, 2009

International Relief and Development (IRD) comes to Tangarwashane

The international non-profit organization, IRD recently began working in the Abalak region of the Azawak. The organization has chosen Tangarwashane as one of the villages where it will intervene. Its first project is to reforest the area around the borehole and protect the land as more and more people and animals come to use the borehole. It has already begun planting 500,000 trees, and has set up a management committee to ensure that the program succeeds.

One of our goals when bringing water is to inspire other organizations to provide other desperately needed help. Since we built the Tangarwashane borehole, a functional school has been built, adult classes are being held for men and women, and now environmental measures are being established. I feel certain that little by little health, agriculture, and livestock programs will also come to Tangarwashane, and eventually aid will sprout and spread throughout the Azawak thereby helping communities to flourish in all the land.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Montessori Well of Love will be Built in the Azawak

Dear Montessori Friends and Friends of the Azawak,

A very exciting opportunity has opened up for our students who are engaging in the collaborative effort of building a Montessori Well of Love in the Azawak of West Africa. Amman Imman is about to start construction of their next borehole and it will be named Montessori Well of Love in honor of the students around the world who are helping.

Ariane has invited me to accompany the Amman Imman team to the Azawak to act as first-hand witness and representative of all the children.

My purpose in writing this email is to inform you about this next stage in Amman Imman's quest to bring water to this region and to ask for your support.

First of all, Ariane feels it is essential that the next Amman Imman borehole is the Montessori borehole because students have been helping for over two years. However, at this point $85,000 is needed to complete that borehole project. Amman Imman will begin drilling in the next few months but completion of the borehole, including construction and installation of the water tower, faucets and animal troughs will not begin until more funds are raised. Therefore, my request to you is to continue raising funds so that the borehole can be completed and water can be brought up from the abundant supply flowing beneath the Azawak.

Over 50 schools have participated. If each school raises $1,000, we would be $50,000 closer to our goal. I challenge each school to raise at least that amount!

Please know that we are not waiting for schools to meet this goal. Saving lives in the Azawak is Amman Imman's top priority and we will not wait. We are also seeking corporate sponsors who would like to partner with Amman Imman and be a major part of bringing water to all of the Azawak. If you know of, and are connected to, a business or foundation who might want to partner with Amman Imman and be part of saving lives in the Azawak, please contact me.

And now I have an offer for your students: My purpose in taking the trip will be to act as witness to the conditions facing the people of the Azawak and to return as spokesperson with documentation of their conditions. With Ariane, I plan to visit the village of Tangarwashane and meet the children whose lives have been transformed since the borehole started its operations over a year ago. My goal will be to connect students in America and around the world to the children in the Azawak sharing the stories, photos and videos that I collect. I invite participating schools to participate in a Friendship Exchange by making friendship bracelets and necklaces that I will deliver to the children in the Azawak. If your school is interested in being part of this exchange, please contact me directly for the details.

Please stay in touch with the blog at http://montessori-amman-imman-project.blogspot.com/ for more about the trip and how your school can participate in making a personal connection with children in this region.

Amman Imman thanks you for your support, Ariane thanks you, and I thank you.

In grateful appreciation,
Web Analytics