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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life. The Ultimate Gift. For the Children.

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

Despite these sad and troubled times at home and abroad, we at Amman Imman want to wish you the best of Holiday Seasons. May they be full of family love and hope for a new year of peace. We are now in the process of building our next Oasis of Life in the Azawak. We know you've been solicited lots of times this year. But in your seasonal generosity, please don't forget the children of Africa. Your gift will help save their lives.

Please click here to make your donation.

Thank you, for the children of the Azawak,

Ariane and the Amman Imman team

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving message from the Azawak of Niger

Happy Thanksgiving from Amman Imman!
Thank you so much for your support and continued interest in our work. 
With your help, Amman Imman has brought water to over 100,000 people, and supported activities including food, health, education and economic development.  
Our communities in the Azawak also want to thank you.

from Ariane, the Amman Imman team and your friends in the Azawak 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Amman Imman and Vibrant Village provide food relief

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

As you may know, Amman Imman drilled its newest borehole earlier this year for the community of Ebagueye. The primary funder, The Vibrant Village Foundation, has once again provided invaluable help by funding an emergency food relief project in Ebagueye.

Over the months of September and October, we will have distributed 40 tons of millet to Ebagueye and its 12 surrounding communities. Our aim has been to help cover the food needs of Ebagueye’s 400 most vulnerable families, approximately 2800 people, as we await grain prices to fall in Niger.

Amman Imman’s philosophy is not to give anything away free of charge, but rather to make staples and basic necessities more affordable and accessible. Hence, we have sold this millet at a low charge, and the profit is returning to the community as a fund to establish a long-term grain store/cereal bank and woman-run community store. The grain is currently being managed by Ebagueye’s borehole management committee. However, we will soon be transferring their responsibility regarding the grain to a newly elected all-woman cereal bank management committee.

Amman Imman will have also provided 10 tons of millet to our Tangarwashane borehole community. In this case, half of the profit made from grain sells has gone toward Tangarwashane’s cereal bank. The other half has gone to its borehole fund, to help pay for ongoing maintenance.

Amman Imman has many plans, including a new borehole, and ongoing life-improving and revenue-generating activities for all of our borehole communities.

Stay tuned in upcoming updates to learn more about our projects in the Azawak! Thank you for your ongoing support!

Yours for the Azawak,
Ariane Kirtley
Founder and Director

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Students raise over $50,000 to help the Azawak

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

Students across the world have once again proven that determination, perseverance, empathy, compassion, and action can save lives... one borehole at a time.  This past school year alone our student “Heroes of Compassion” raised more than $50,000 and an enduring awareness about the Azawak in their communities. Since 2006, more than 100 schools in the United States, Canada, France, Sweden and New Zealand collectively raised close to $200,000, helping Amman Imman to construct and manage four boreholes in the Azawak that in the hot season relieve the thirst of up to 100,000 people and animals.

Today I would like to celebrate our Heroes of Compassion and share a few stories about what students and schools accomplished during the 2011-2012 school year.

On World Water Day in March 2012, 26 students, ages 5 through 12, at The Salmonberry School in Washington State rallied their entire community to raise $2,400 for Amman Imman in A Walk for Water. Salmonberry has been an active Amman Imman supporter since 2007, when the school incorporated Amman Imman into its Africa curriculum and held its first Walk for Water, raising around $800.

In 2011-2012 Walk for Water events were held by The Boyd School in Virginia, the Hershey Montessori School in Ohio (organized by student Suchita Rajan), the Claremont Montessori School in Florida and the Aidan Montessori School in Washington, DC. The Oneness-Family School, Barrie School, Evergreen School and German School of Washington DC, and students from various high schools in Maryland, DC and Virginia supported Amman Imman’s annual Walk for Water event at Lake Frank in Derwood, Maryland.  2012 Walk for Water events raised almost $9,000 for Amman Imman.

Amman-a-thons, our signature fitness philanthropy event, have also grown as a favorite among our young students as they challenge themselves physically meanwhile bringing unforgettable hope to the Azawak!  For our 2011-2012 Amman-a-thons, students from pre-school to middle school hopped, jumped, ran, hula’ed and bounced their way to raising almost $10,000. The Five Oaks Academy (South Carolina_, Keystone Montessori (Massachusetts), Oneness-Family School (Maryland) and Evergreen Montessori (Maryland) held Amman-a-thons during the past school year.

The variety of additional events held by our Heroes of Compassion are too numerous to name in this update. From selling bookmarks to bake and plant sales, from lemonade stands to a kid-run street carnival, from water displays to a high school dress-down day, from student presentations at churches and synagogues to asking for donations in lieu of birthday gifts - our Wells of Love students have made a loud statement calling out to the rest of the world:

We care.  All human beings deserve to have water and hope.

If you want to join our movement of youth making a difference in the Azawak, or know of a school or students who would like to help, please fill out our online form, or contact Debbie Kahn, our Wells of Love program director, Debbie@ammanimman.org, 240-418-1143.

Yours for the children of the Azawak,
Amman Imman: Water is Life
Founder and Director

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ebagueye, 8 months after the construction of their borehole

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

Through our work in Niger’s Azawak Valley, we have learned that local communities are the heart and soul of our work. They are not only the people for which we work, but those with which we work. They are some of our most important partners. They represent the key to sustaining life-giving water sources over the long-term and to ensuring that each water source enables further development.

The power of our local partners is demonstrated by the story of Ebagueye Village, home to Amman Imman’s newest borehole well. As you know, Amman Imman means ‘water is life’.  Within just six months, I have seen this prophecy come to fruition for those in Ebagueye Village.

Lives are Changing in Ebagueye since the Borehole

Once a desolate stretch of sand and silt, Ebagueye Village is now brimming with life. Since January, those living in Ebagueye have been enjoying the benefits of their new borehole.  With water, villagers report having more time and energy for other integral tasks, such as caring for their livestock, raising their children, doing household chores, making crafts and gathering fallen branches to sell as firewood at the market. Some in the community helped to build a protective wall around the borehole’s water tower and engine, giving them a sense of ownership over their water source.  They plan on growing a garden within the perimeters of the wall.

Sustainability and Economic Empowerment

A management committee of villagers, trained by Amman Imman, sells the water, and the money raised is used for the long-term operation and maintenance of the borehole. The money is also used to pay a small stipend to the workers who manage the distribution of water at the fountains and animal troughs. The villagers—our partners--feel proud to be working for their community and to be providing an essential service.  For the first time, they earn money for their work in the village.

Education, Health and Hygiene

More than 5,000 people benefit from the borehole daily, the very first time they have a constant supply of potable water nearby. In the past, children forsook school at the height of the dry season to travel marathon distances to find clean water for their families. Now, they stay in school.

Not only are children better educated, they are also in better health. Already, parents report less diarrhea and sickness related to fatigue and dehydration among their children and themselves. Many families have since built a rudimentary shower in their homesteads, and people are bathing more frequently.

Ebagueye Named an Official Village

Thanks to the borehole, the Abalak commune (home to the largest and closest city) has named Ebagueye and its surrounding communities as an official village. Achieving village status means that the community will benefit from additional help and oversight from the commune and others. 

Living in area afflicted by a burgeoning food crisis, the World Food Program just recently chose Ebagueye and Amman Imman’s other borehole community, Kijigari, for limited food assistance. The World Food Program distributed  food tickets to eleven families in Ebagueye, which has earned them one or two free bags of rice, and one or five liters of oil for three months. 

New Families Settle in Ebagueye

Representing hope and development to those living nearby, Ebagueye has attracted new resident families who have abandoned their nomadic existence and have built permanent adobe homes in the village. For several months, Ebagueye also attracted residents from Abalak whose own water sources ran dry, and refugees from neighboring Mali who searched for water during their exodus from political turmoil.

Addressing the Food Crisis

In addition to water, Amman Imman distributed books to the Ebagueye school and mango trees for growth around the village.  The trees grew well and inspired the villagers to purchase and plant 41 shade trees. We plan to provide additional food assistance, including seeds for planting and hay and grain for livestock, over the coming months--because although life has hatched, those in Ebagueye still face a crippling environment. Food is in drastic shortage and with lack of health care and other development assistance, people often suffer and die young from preventable conditions.

Future Plans in Ebagueye

Development is not something that happens over night. With better chances for health and education, we believe that with time communities will flourish and be empowered to take ownership over their own development. Those in Ebagueye have already asked for a health center, and through partnerships with local families, other development organizations and funders like Vibrant Village and The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), we hope their demand can be met.

In the coming weeks, I would like to share the entire Ebagueye story with you. Please stay tuned to read about the village and the drilling of the Ebagueye borehole in three separate installments over the months of September and October.  Next week, I’ll be sending an update about the activities and accomplishments of our Wells of Love schools. 

Yours for the children of the Azawak,
Amman Imman: Water is Life
Founder and Director

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Amman Imman proudly presents the Ebagueye Borehole

Dear Friends of the Azawak,
Denis, Fassely, and I returned from Niger mid-March after four grueling yet extremely rewarding months running various projects in the Azawak.  With donations from individuals like you, funds raised by school children worldwide, and help from two dedicated foundations – The Vibrant Village Foundation and The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) – we constructed the borehole of Ebagueye village.  The borehole will serve the needs of Ebagueye, the twelve surrounding smaller communities, as well as passing nomads and more distant populations.  You can imagine our tremendous joy as we witnessed the children gulping down and jubilantly bathing in the pure borehole water for the first time.
As you may have heard, this year’s drought and current food crisis in Niger is considered the worst that there has been in a decade or more by the World Food Program (WFP), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Oxfam, and most UN agencies. According to Oxfam, six million Nigeriens need immediate food aid in order to avoid an outright famine.  In the Azawak, prices for staple foods such as rice and millet have more than tripled, and most food items are unavailable on the local market.  This critical situation is being exacerbated by the Tuareg rebellion in Mali, as refugees flee their homeland and seek refuge in Niger, including the Azawak.  Just these past few days, Fulani families escaping Mali and its borders arrived in Ebagueye and Kijigari with thousands of livestock seeking water to assuage their thirst.
This winter, to help temper the threat of famine in our most vulnerable borehole communities, we provided food assistance to the villages of Tangarwashane and Chinwagari.  As a longer-term solution to their very desperate need for food, we also ran gardening training sessions, and donated tools and seeds to Tangarwashane.  The children were among the most eager planters, and thanks to their tender care, vegetables have begun sprouting from the once parched earth.
In addition to water and food assistance, we donated school books and materials to Tangarwashane, Kijigari, and to ten additional schools in rural Azawak.  Before we left, we also planted 40 mango and shade trees in Ebagueye, Kijigari, and Tangarwashane.
The Niger government has been supportive of our work, and the national TV station ORTN aired a show on the construction of the Ebagueye borehole.  Even the US ambassador to Niger, Bisa Williams, highly commended our activities after a visit to Kijigari and Ebagueye, and suggested we apply for funding through the US embassy. 
Stay tuned to learn more about our past four months in Niger and the Ebagueye Borehole story as it unfolds in upcoming installments.   Denis and I purposefully kept a low profile while we were in Niger, due to the threat of insecurity, and our desire to stay safe as we conducted our work in the Azawak.  I kept a monthly, sometimes weekly journal of our activities, and I’d like to share these with you in bi-monthly installments over the next couple of months.   
Sincerely Yours for the Children of the Azawak,

Stay tuned for upcoming installments  about the Ebagueye borehole
and Denis and Ariane's four months in Niger!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

With Water, There Will Be Life!

With water, there will be life!
March 22, 2012— Water—and having plentiful access to it—has transformed from dream to reality for those living on a slice of West Africa’s most barren landscape.

So this World Water Day, Amman Imman: Water is Life celebrates. We celebrate the crystalline water that thousands of people living in Niger’s Azawak region now drink each day. And we celebrate that many in the world have made water a priority: according to a recent report from the United Nations and the World Health Organization, Millennium Development Goal 7 has been met three years early by halving the number of people without access to clean water since 1990.
“With water, there will be life,” Ariane Kirtley, Amman Imman’s Founder and Director, has always said.

Amman Imman has seen this – life borne from water – in all of the work the organization has undertaken over the past six years. In partnership with local communities, global partners and school children from around the world, Amman Imman has brought four borehole wells to Niger’s Azawak region, offering more than 100,000 people and their livestock a sustained supply of clean water.

Clean and abundant water
Ebagueye, 2012
All four water sources are now owned by the villages surrounding them, and water has become a great source of health, life and economy. At the first water tower, which stores water from a borehole drilled in 2007, one might notice the small school that rests nearby. By the second, one might observe women using the water to grow vegetables. At the newest borehole, completed just last month, one might hear women convening to discuss how money gathered from selling the water for a small fee to passing nomads should be used and saved.

This might be the first time the children have attended school, relieved of the marathon journey they once traveled to find water. And the very first time, in all of the villages with boreholes, where women have become decision-makers.

The women and men on the
Ebagueye Water Management Committee
As Scott Johnson, a Newsweek reporter, wrote of his journey to visit the first borehole in 2009:  "When I first went to the Azawak, I visited camps and villages that had no water. I saw Hell, and people dying. I then travelled to the Amman Imman borehole of Tangarwashane. There, I saw a Paradise amidst Hell. People had water to drink, eat and bathe. Men were using the water to grow crops, and even the animals were thriving. They now have a store from where people everywhere come to buy goods. The children were playing and happy, and a school had been built. These people worshipped their borehole. It was their God, and they took care of it like they would an Idol."

With these flourishing communities, we celebrate life.

In the coming years, we will celebrate, and we will work hard to bring thousands more people in the Azawak clean water and other assistance. We will work, as the world must continue to do, for the more than 700 million people who still live without access to the most powerful source of life—clean water.

To make a financial contribution, please visit: www.ammanimman.org/Get_Involved/donate.html,   or www.ammanimman.org/Campaigns_New/campaigns.html to join one of our campaigns. 
School children in Tangarwashane using their new school books 
Women's garden in Kijigari

Monday, February 27, 2012

With two new partnerships, Amman Imman: Water is Life brings water, food to many more in Niger

A young girl  enjoys the water
during the pumping trials in Ebagueye.
Washington DC, February 27, 2012—Another 25,000 people and their animals in Niger’s Azawak Valley will now have access to clean water, largely because of support from Amman Imman’s two newest partners: The Vibrant Village Foundation and The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF).

Through a combined grant of $173,000 from the two foundations, additional funds totaling $64,000 from Amman Imman's partnering schools, and individual supporters, our fourth borehole well in the village of Ebagueye is now complete.  We are poised to conduct additional life-changing activities in the village, as well as to provide direct food assistance, gardening training and educational materials in the villages where Amman Imman's existing boreholes are already operating.

"We chose the site of Ebagueye and its surrounding communities at the beginning of December,” said Ariane Kirtley, Amman Imman’s Founder and Director. "By the end of December, the Ebagueye borehole had been drilled. The infrastructure was finished at the beginning of February, and the community has begun drinking the potable water."
Kirtley says her organization aims to create "Oases of Life" across the vast Azawak, starting with drilling permanent and sustainable water sources, not only for its 500,000 inhabitants, but also for refugees seeking shelter in the region. Those refugee communities include individuals that fled Libya last year, and those fleeing Mali today.

The Vibrant Village Foundation, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, supports communities in the United States and throughout the world to build healthy, prosperous, self-sustaining societies that foster tolerance, inclusion and dignity. The foundation focuses on nutrition and health, clean water, agriculture, education, the arts and poverty reduction.

Water tower,
Vibrant Village / The Prem Rawat Foundation
borehole in Ebagueye
“The partnership with Amman Imman is one that we are especially proud to be a part of,” said Ken Delaski, the Vibrant Village Foundation’s Founder and President.  “It has been amazing to watch from afar the rapid but holistic engagement and achievements that Amman Imman has reached in such a short period of time, and we look forward to unfolding plans that will ensure sustainability and maintenance of the boreholes and pump stations, as well as other community development projects."

The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), founded in 2001 by Prem Rawat, known widely as an Ambassador of Peace and a humanitarian, partners with local and international organizations to help provide essentially needed aid, particularly food and water, directly and efficiently. Its aim is to give people what they most need so that they have a chance to live in dignity, peace and prosperity. Much a reflection of the way Amman Imman works, Prem Rawat expresses the Foundation’s objective as “to help people through the rough times without interfering with the beautiful things that exist in their culture, their beliefs, or their religion.”

Support from the foundations is especially crucial at this time, as another food crisis unfolds in Niger and the surrounding Sahel region, and the rainy season continues to abate.
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