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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Management Committee for Longevity and Sustainability


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Dear Friends of the Azawak,                                                                                          
Many people have asked me how long a borehole can last.  This answer is entirely dependent on how well the borehole is managed.  In fact, establishing the proper stewardship and management of the borehole over the long run is arguably one the most challenging and rewarding components of our work.  It is also one of our top priorities.

Depending on how well a borehole is managed, it can last anywhere from a century or more, to just a couple of years.  To help ascertain the longevity of the Kijigari borehole, Amman Imman helped establish a Water Resource Management Committee (WRMC) of responsible and trained Kijigari citizens.  These individuals were elected democratically by the villagers, but were first chosen based on established criteria.

Electing Committee Members
Denis (our Niger Program Director), Moumine (our Operations Coordinator in Niger), and Abdoulkarim of the Department of Hydraulics first held a meeting where all the men and women of Kijigari were invited to participate.  During this meeting, they outlined the characteristics and criteria for each management committee member.  The most important was the trustworthiness of all, and that the officers had to have literacy training.   They also insisted on the active involvement of women.
In Kijigari, our task was simplified thanks to the fact that villagers are already well organized and accustomed to managing things in their village.  The women have been managing their garden cooperative, grain banks and sewing cooperative for years.  The men have great experience managing the school, market and business cooperatives.  Many of the adults have already received literacy training and have a basic understanding for writing and counting.

After this initial meeting, all the villagers gathered for several nights in a row to reach a consensus about who they would choose as committee members.  Kijigari is divided into 7 quarters. While choosing the members of the committee, village leaders made sure that at least two individuals were represented from each quarter in order to promote equal representation and avoid jealousy.

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Committee Members and their Roles
The management committee is composed of the following members:
  1. President – Adam, the former school director, was chosen for this role.  He has long been respected as a wise village elder.  Even before he was elected, he had a vision how to use the money raised by the borehole wisely.  The money could be divided into three different banks, so to speak.  One bank would be used to properly manage, take care, improve and repair the Kijigari borehole; the second would be used for developing and improving the village; and the third would be used to one day help pay the construction of a borehole in another village.  We hope that his dream becomes reality!
  2.  Secretary – Ibrahim, the man elected for this position, will take notes during committee meetings, and will represent the president when he cannot be present at a meeting
  3. Treasurer – Halima, the woman elected for this position, would be responsible for gathering the funds raised during the day every night, counting and keeping track of the money, and taking it to the bank in Tahoua once a month.
  4. Fountain “Keepers” – These are the eight women in charge of the four water fountains.  They serve the water and collect the money from water fetchers.  They also keep the fountains clean.
  5. Trough “Keepers” – These are the four men responsible for selling the water at the troughs.  They count the animals, and sell the water according to the number of animals.  Both the trough and fountain keepers take their collection of money to the treasurer at the end of each day, after having first made a report to the president.
  6. The mechanics – Two men were chosen to run the engine, conduct its regular maintenance; and ascertain that there is a continual flow of water in the water tower.
  7. Watchdogs – There are eight watchdogs – three of which are women – that are not active members of the committee, but serve to make sure the committee functions properly.  They make certain that the funds are being managed properly and also serve as liaison between committee members and the population.
Training the Committee
Once the committee members were elected, they took part in a series of training sessions.  Additional training sessions will be held throughout the year.

Our local team, with the participation of the Department of Hydraulics, conducted two days of intensive training for the officers.  This training session focused primarily on proper financial management and record keeping.  Our local team then stayed an additional three weeks to follow up with this initial training session, and perform direct training with the fountain and trough “keepers”, also in financial management, and also in hygiene and sanitation.  The mechanics underwent two months of intensive mechanical training with a specialist from the borehole construction company, in order to understand the basics of maintenance and mechanics.

Our local team continues to conduct follow-up training and visits twice a month, and Abdoulkarim from the Department of Hydraulics, will conduct visits every one and a half months.  These visits will not only serve to do additional training, but will also help evaluate the efficacy of the WRMC, and help advise changes if deemed necessary.

Successful WRMC So Far
In the little time that the borehole has been operational, activities have been going well.  The committee has raised over $1,000 through selling water to villagers and visitors from other camps and villages.  After the first month, the committee voted to pay the fountain and trough keepers, as well as the mechanics. They work all day under the beating sun, and deserved some compensation.  10% of the money raised through selling water is distributed equally between the committee workers as pay.
The watchdogs conducted a two-day study to test the functioning of the committee.  They sat with the trough and fountain keepers, and observed how money was collected.  They examined the accounts, to make sure that money had not been misused.  And they conducted interviews with the populations to analyze their appreciation of the borehole.  They shared the issues that water fetchers had brought up, in order to find solutions and improve how things have been run so far.

Our local team and Abdoulkarim have already conducted additional training, and have already helped make some changes to improve the operations of the WRMC.

We don’t expect things to run perfectly this year.  However, the WRMC as well as the villagers are highly motivated to take care of their borehole.  They dream that their Well of Love will provide life giving water for generations to come.

Stay tuned next week to learn about our Heroes of Compassion and how they helped build the Kijigari Montessori Well of Love.

Yours for the Azawak,
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kijigari's Running Faucets Bring Jubilance, Pride, Relief and Responsibility


Dear Friends of the Azawak,

Please help us raise the 16K we still owe to the construction company, and begin raising funds for a new life-giving borehole.  We need your support, and here’s what you can do:
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Installment 2 Layout 2

The Kijigari borehole tale continues as the Montessori Well of Love begins to operate.  If you missed the first installment, you can read it here.  Read below how you too can help provide the gift of life.

On the day the new water faucets opened in Kijigari, all the villagers stood, waiting impatiently carrying as many jerry cans as they could manage – tied to their waist and balanced on their heads, and more hooked onto their donkeys.  With a little gurgle and then a swoosh, the first faucets came to life, purging their pipes of the life giving liquid.  Whistles of jubilance bellowed through the crowd. 

Children, adults, and even the livestock drank and washed in the pure and plentiful water.  Families from neighboring communities rode in on donkey carts to fill their numerous empty household jugs.  Hope emanated from their eyes as they brushed off spider webs and layers of dust from their containers – proof of the long months that they had sat empty.  They too knew they would no longer face the daily fear of thirst.

Later in the day, Kijigari school children gathered around their beautiful water tower to celebrate their new gift.  In front of all the village members, they read to us their letter of gratitude.  They then danced and sang a song that they had written and choreographed for the Amman Imman team.  Click here or the video box on the right to get a glimpse of this  amazing scene of celebration.

The people of Kijigari and the surrounding communities have received a beautiful gift of life – their Montessori Well of Love.  Their awe and pride has now been replaced by a great sense of responsibility.  They realize that they have the power to cherish or waste their superb treasure.  Amman Imman will work hand in hand with them to create the foundation for proper management so that their borehole may provide water for generations to come.   Next week, I will describe to you how the management committee was elected, and how they have been running the borehole since it opened.

Yours for the Children of the Azawak,


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Construction is finished! Water Flows from the Kijigari Well of Love!

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Dear Friends of the Azawak,
This Spring our Heroes of Compassion in the USA and France proved mightier than a world recession, and more determined than the plight of hunger and drought facing the Sahel.  As students dutifully walked, dribbled basket balls, hoola-hooped, jumped rope, and jumping jacked in A Walk for Water and Amman-a-thon events, our team in Niger launched the construction of the water tower, faucets, and troughs in Kijigari.  With this year’s drought in Niger proving more devastating than previous years, and families relying on eating dirt to fill empty bellies, the gift of water, hope, and life arrived in the nick of time for the Kijigari community.

Ammanathon 6Every step, dribble, and jump established the foundation for a new brick or piece of equipment, as slowly the long awaited structure of life rose above the parched marsh and thorn-covered acacia trees, ready to bear life giving water.  By the end of June, the miraculous day happened when newly elected Zalika, of the Kijigari Water Management Committee proudly opened the first operational water faucet. 

Zalika 3As quoted by Adam, the president of the Water Management Committee:   “Amman Imman and Heroes of Compassion worldwide made the unbelievable real”.  Student’s untiring efforts worked magic, as they raised over $22,000 in just a few months tobuild their Montessori Well of Love.
Management committee 4Since January, contributions from people like you, our dedicated supporters of the Azawak, along with the fundraising efforts of Heroes Compassion, have reached $38,000. However, Amman Imman must still raise $16,000 to pay the remaining fee for construction.  Please click here to donate today and help us finish paying for the Kijigari Well of Love. 

Stay posted for a series of weekly installments to read about the fascinating and moving Kijigari borehole tale.  I will share with you the moments of exuberance experienced by the Kijigari community when they first witnessed water flowing in their village.  I will tell you how we successfully raised thousands of dollars thanks to our Heroes of Compassion and other dedicated supporters.  You will learn how Denis and Moumine oversaw the borehole construction, and participated in electing the members of the Kijigari Water Management Committee.   I will also give you an update on Tangarwashane, and how the borehole continues to change the community’s life three years later.  And finally, I will share with you our plans for the future and our vision for creating oases of life throughout the Azawak. 

Sincerely yours for the children of the Azawak,


Contribute to Amman Imman!  Contact us for more information at info@ammanimman.org!
  • Click here to give your personal donation today.
  • Empower students by matching the amount raised by one of our Wells of Love Schools.  Contact Debra Kahn, debbie@ammanimman.org, for more information.
  • Join our Heroes of Compassion by running for water in a marathon or race.  Read about Mary’s Run here.
  • Obtain the support of your community, coworkers, companies, family and/or friends. Forward this message to a friend and ask them to subscribe and contribute!
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