Christina Vernon, Operations Support and Development Intern at Amman Imman's Bethesda, Maryland office, contributes this blog post about water for Blog Action Day:
|A major water source in Katmandu, Nepal. photo by C. Vernon|
I first became passionate about water accessibility issues in low-income areas while I was an instructor for Indiana University’s Outdoor Adventure Program. Although I loved going to Red River Gorge, Kentucky to climb, I couldn’t help but notice that we were climbing in one of the most impoverished regions of the Appalachian. People living there had no running water and were forced to collect water using buckets from a community pump. I was shocked to discover that this issue was not only international, but also just a few hours away from the university I attended.
|A Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Lesson in a Bangladeshi Village. photo by C. Vernon|
Interning with Amman Imman: Water is Life
|Children digging in a marsh, Azawak, Niger. photo by A. Kirtley|
Amman Imman addresses water security issues in the Azawak region of Niger and Mali, where water accessibility is almost non-existent. Due to climate change, nomadic communities living in the region have been forced to settle, collecting water sometimes from places as far as 30 miles away. Most people, usually young girls, collect water in marshes where rain accumulates. In this region, 1 out of 2 children die before reaching their fifth birthday due to water borne diseases. The rainy season has decreased to about 1-2 months in the past few years, contributing to the scarcity of options for water accessibility. Amman Imman drills boreholes at depths between 600 and 3000 feet in order to reach the aquifer that is in the region, bringing water and a new hope to the surrounding communities.
Interning with Amman Imman, has opened my eyes to the extreme water crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa and the contextual variables of culture, economics, and social determinants. Amman Imman has helped me gain valuable skills such as advocacy, research, and passion, which are imperative in combating social injustice.
Work where no one else will, Amman Imman: Water is Life
Water and Health:
· 1.8 million people die every year of diarrheal disease
· 4.1% of the total DALY global burden of diseases is attributable to diarrheal disease
· 88% of that burden is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WHO, 2010)
· Improving WASH in schools increases cognitive learning, attendance, and enables girls to stay in school
· WASH programs in schools creates an anchor for communities to be mobilized