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, October 24, 2013

Good luck MCM runners and SC Team! And a $30,000 gift for Couloubade!

Dear Friends of the Azawak,
The Vibrant Village Foundation has once again pronounced itself a hero for the Azawak by contributing over $30,000 for a food project in our most recent borehole community, Couloubade. With this award, Amman Imman will be creating a woman’s run cereal bank and boutique this winter.

We hope to make a significant difference to the Fulani women of Couloubade, who currently travel up to six months a year in neighboring Chad, Nigeria, and Libya to make meager earnings selling traditional medicine and potions. During these difficult times, they leave their families behind, sometimes even their breastfeeding children, who are then taken care of by their husband’s co-wives. Creating vibrancy and stability in the community will reduce their time away from home as economic opportunity becomes more readily available locally.

Click to watch the video!

This generous gift has arrived at an opportune time, during the last week of training and preparations for both our Marine Corps Marathon runners, and our Solidarity Challenge Team (click here to see the video). I want to personally send a message of thank you to our runners and SC challengers! Good luck on the 27th as together we create a worldwide movement for the Azawak!!!

Yours for the Azawak,


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Watch our new video! And join our Solidarity Campaign!

Click here to watch the video

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

On October 27th, 18 runners will complete the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. for Amman Imman. There is still time to be a part of our worldwide movement in solidarity with our marathon runners and our communities in the Azawak by joining our Solidarity Challenge!!  Click on the link below the image to watch our new Solidarity Challenge video to learn more and be inspired!

Your challenge can be as wide-ranging and creative as you want.  For instance, write a song or poem for the Azawak (we’d happily publish it for you on our website), clean up a stream with your friends and kids, hold a pumpkin carving contest, or join me in running a half marathon. 

Sign up and create your fundraising page on FirstGiving to share with family and friends today!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Join our Solidarity Challenge Team, in Solidarity with our Marine Corps Marathon Runners!

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

Last week we published a beautiful and compelling account about the significance of the marathon run to Amman Imman and invited you to run with our 2013 Marine Corps Marathon team. I am delighted to announce that 18 dedicated supporters have joined our Marine Corps Marathon team. To these runners, thank you and good luck as you train for the big day!

I also want to applaud and thank 9-year-old Siena, who has been rallying for Amman Imman since she was in first grade. Alongside her dad, she ran a half marathon this past Sunday, and raised over $3,000 from sponsors to help children her age in the Azawak! Read about Siena's motivation and see her cross the finish line on the Wells of Love blog.

The courage of Siena and our marathon runners has incited me to run in solidarity with them on October 27th, and to launch a worldwide Solidarity Challenge TeamThis team will be composed of supporters from around the world uniting on October 27th by undertaking a significant challenge above and beyond their limit.

I will not be running the Marine Corps Marathon, but instead will be creating my own half- marathon route near my hometown in France. I invite you to choose an activity that challenges you, and tackle it on Solidarity Challenge Day, October 27th. It doesn’t matter where you live: we will be working together, in solidarity with both our marathon team and those journeying marathon distances every day across the Azawak searching for water. Like our marathon runners, our team members will be asked to raise at least $300, thereby helping make a long-lasting impact for the Azawak.

How you can join me and our Solidarity Challenge Team on October 27

Defy your limits! If you aren’t quite ready for a marathon run, there are many other noteworthy and creative challenges you can undertake. No challenge is too small, as long as you are going above and beyond your limit. The importance is that your action has to be significant and challenging for you personally – a goal that won’t be easy, but that you can work toward and look forward to doing with your worldwide “Solidarity Challenge Team” on October 27th, “Solidarity Challenge Day”.

Here are some ideas:
  • Run, bike, swim, hike, or ride your wheelchair a greatly significant distance.
  • Write a song, a play, a poem for the Azawak, and play it, act it, or sing it publically on the 27th (Performers, you can use this as an opportunity to ask for additional sponsorships from passersby)
  • Make a beautiful mural, a painting, or craft honoring our runners and the children of the Azawak, and showcase this artwork on October 27th.  
  • Write a movie for the Azawak and screen it on Solidarity Challenge Day.
  • If you are a doctor, or dentist, or own a business – you can offer free services to the needy on the 27th, and ask your friends to sponsor you.
  • You can carry 6 gallons or more of water on your back or head as you walk for several hours, as our friends do in the Azawak (and not drink any in the process!).  
  • If, like me, you live in the countryside and have neighbors with donkeys (or horses or camels!), you could ride a marathon distance on donkey-back in true solidarity with the children in the Azawak who spend most of their days on their donkeys.  
Let’s get people across the world to join our Solidarity Challenge Team!

No matter where you are in the world, or what you do, you can join our team. Together we can create a worldwide movement for the Azawak in solidarity with our Marine Corps Marathon runners. On top of challenging ourselves, we will come together to show people that even a single day can make a world of difference.

Please sign up here to join our Solidarity Challenge Team! Choose your activity, set up your personal web page to reach out to sponsors, and support our Marine Corps Marathon runners on October 27!

Yours for the Azawak,

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What the Marathon Means for Amman Imman

As the August 7th deadline for registering our 2013 Marine Corps Marathon team fast approaches, we have been able to reflect on what the marathon means to Amman Imman.

Running for water – and the marathon in particular – is a significant event for Amman Imman. Although we have worked in Niger’s Azawak Valley for more than seven years, bringing sustainable water sources to thousands of families, not a day passes during the Azawak’s prolonged dry season (now more than nine months long) without children forsaking school, play and their health to make marathon journeys for water. They travel atop dehydrated donkeys with jerry cans strapped to their sides and they walk on their calloused feet across the hot sand. Many of them are too young to remember the days, more than 10, 20 years ago, when their homeland was the greenest, most fertile pasture in West Africa. When rain fell as it should and generously filled marshes from which they drank. But their parents do.

They tell their children of how they used to travel marathons, not out of desperation, but out of custom. As nomads, they moved from one lush grazing pasture to the next, keeping their animals and themselves healthy and ensuring their livelihoods. Their children can hardly believe it now. Since their land began to dry up almost a decade ago, these same nomads have built camps that have been transformed into villages, many around Amman Imman’s five luminous water towers: beaming oases in a desert of sand and thorns.

Times have changed. Adults in the Azawak now travel marathons, not on their feet, but with their hands. In the places untouched by Amman Imman’s assistance, they dig deep into the earth in an attempt to find water. Only unlike past marathons, these journeys are often made in vain. The water table is too deep. Before they reach their cherished Amman, many become covered in dirt, killed by their search for water and for life. As a Charity Partner of the Marine Corps Marathon, we are two days away from our deadline for registering our running team. We encourage you and your friends to consider running in solidarity for those journeying across the Azawak Valley and supporting our efforts to bring water and other development assistance to our friends in the Azawak. For without water, without solidarity for their struggle, there is no hope.

We hope you’ll consider registering for our Marine Corps Marathon team and joining our growing team of runners, or sharing this blog post among your social networking communities, running friends and fitness groups.

Please contact me at laurel@ammanimman.org if you are interested in joining our marathon team or sign up here.

Laurel Lundstrom
2013 Marine Corps Marathon Team Coordinator
Amman Imman

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Join our Marine Corps Marathon Team, Run for the Azawak!

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

I hope this email finds you well and ready as I challenge you to take on the physical feat of your lifetime! In solidarity with the marathons for water still being traveled every day by our friends in the Azawak, we are organizing a team to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC on October 27.

I invite all runners to join us and race for the benefit of Amman Imman!
As an Official Charity Partner of the Marine Corps Marathon, Amman Imman has more than a dozen open runner slots, which we need to fill by August 7. We’d be so proud and happy to have you as a member of our team! Along with running the marathon, we request that you raise a minimum of $300 to help support additional assistance—food security, livelihood, health, and education programs—for our borehole communities. These funds will also support the construction of a sixth borehole well, because while we continue to rejoice at the sight of the clean, precious water springing from our newest borehole in Couloubade, we are fast thinking to the future.
Many more thousands of people are still without access to water in the Azawak region. They travel for 10, 15, 30 miles or more, sometimes a marathon distance to reach one of our boreholes to fill their jerry cans and goat-skinned sacks with enough clean water for the immediate future. Sometimes that water is enough to sustain them and their families until their next journey for water; sometimes it is not.

At Amman Imman, we believe every human has the right to clean water, food, to live their lives in dignity with the hope of a better future. For some in the Azawak, those human rights and ray of hope are still far out of reach. BE hope, as you take on this amazing challenge and 
join us — for 26.2 miles — running in support of all human rights, dignity, and water for the people of the Azawak. 

We also believe in the power of social networks. If you cannot join our marathon team, please post the following link to our marathon team registration page — 
https://ammanimman.org/2013marinecorpsmarathon.html  — on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and to any other social networks you have joined, encouraging your friends to run with us. We offer direct support to our team members as they prepare for the marathon, including the platform for a personal webpage where runners can raise funds and share their stories about what inspired them to run for water.  

Thank you in advance for running for the Azawak, supporting this campaign and helping interested runners find us. 

If you have questions, please contact Laurel, our Run for Water Coordinator, at 

Yours, for the children of the Azawak,

Friday, June 7, 2013

Amman Imman at the Reel Water Film Festival on June 15

Join Amman Imman at the Reel Water Film Festival in Bethesda, Maryland on June 15! 

We are very excited to announce that our short film, "Thank you, Merci, Tanimert" will be screened during the Afternoon Splash which begins at 2 pm.  See it on the big screen along with other short films covering a variety of water-related topics.  

The festival will take place at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club.  So, stick around for "dinner and a movie" with CHASING ICE.

We'll also be hosting a table alongside other local nonprofits.  Please stop by and say hello!  

Event: Reel Water Film Festival
When: Saturday, June 15
Time:  Doors Open: 1 PM
            Afternoon Splash: 2 PM
            Dinner & Movie: 6 PM  (dinner 6pm, movie 7:15pm)
Location: Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club
  7719 Wisconsin Avenue
  Bethesda, Maryland 20814             

**The RWFF is a non-profit event that donates at least 50% of  proceeds to water projects in developing countries and right here at home.  The rest of the money stays within the festival to continue for many years to come.**

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Amman Imman's new borehole in Couloubade

Dear Friends of the Azawak,

Denis, Fassely, Soriya, and I returned from Niger mid-April 2013 after five rewarding months. With the support of the Vibrant Village Foundation and our ever-devoted student Heroes of Compassion, we accomplished all of our planned projects despite the outbreak of war in neighboring Mali, and ongoing terrorist threats. I am particularly grateful to Denis and Momine (project coordinator), who braved the risks of being taken hostage to pursue our life saving and enhancing work for our communities in the Azawak. I am also ever thankful to Amman Imman’s associate director, Debbie, for successfully coordinating Amman Imman’s Wells of Love activities, and organizing a powerful Walk for Water 2013. We are particularly proud to have a positive influence on the hearts and minds of students worldwide meanwhile improving lives in Niger!


The bulk of our efforts in Niger went towards building our most recent borehole for the Fulani community of Couloubade -- which includes the village of Couloubade and 17 surrounding smaller communities. Prior to the construction of their borehole, the community had to walk between 10 and 25 km a day to fetch water for their families. Today, the 4000 people from the Couloubade community will directly use the borehole on a regular/year-round basis. Up to 20,000 passing nomads and their animals have been using the borehole during this dry season.


In our Ebagueye borehole community, we focused on addressing the community’s expressed priorities. We started a livestock fodder bank, constructed and stocked a community store, established a women’s artisan cooperative, and a women’s cereal bank that provides affordable grain to the community. Each of these activities provides jobs and generates revenue. Malaria prevention was addressed with the purchase and distribution of 400 mosquito nets to the communities’ most vulnerable families. We also built three public latrines for Ebagueye village, and we will conduct hygiene and sanitation training throughout the year. In the next several months we plan on establishing community gardens in order to help Ebagueye become more autonomous with its food supply.

We also conducted additional training for the Borehole Management Committee, which currently has over $3000 in their borehole fund. The borehole continues to provide pristine water to the Ebagueye communities, passing nomads, and also to much of the population of the town of Abalak, who continue to suffer from severe water shortages. 


In 2012 we provided food assistance, and set up community run cereal banks in Ebagueye, Tangarwashane and Chinwagari in order to help temper the threat of famine. These cereal banks are still helping our communities’ meet their food needs. We also helped establish a community garden, and donated tools and seeds to Tangarwashane. We continued to provide food assistance and gardening training in Tangarwashane this year. Thanks to the tender care of children and parents alike, vegetables and fruits are now sprouting year-round from the once parched earth. In addition to water and food assistance, we planted 40 mango and shade trees and donated school books and materials to Tangarwashane, Kijigari, Ebagueye and to ten additional schools in rural Azawak.

The Niger government has been supportive of our work, and the national TV station ORTN aired a show on the construction of the Couloubade and Ebagueye boreholes, as well as our other life-enhancing activities. Last year the US ambassador to Niger, Bisa Williams, highly commended our activities after a visit to Kijigari and Ebagueye.

We are very grateful for your support, and deeply appreciate your contributions whenever you can help.
With help from people like you, Amman Imman is building a future of hope. 

Sincerely Yours for the Children of the Azawak,

Ariane Kirtley
Founder and Director

Monday, May 6, 2013

For Six Years, Students Walk, Bring Water and Other Aid to More than 100,000 in West Africa

For Six Years, Students Walk, Bring Water and Other Aid to More than 100,000 in West Africa

BETHESDA, MD, May 6, 2013—More than 100,000 people in a remote and increasingly dry area of West Africa have plentiful access to clean water, thanks in part to six annual “Walk for Waters” hosted by the nonprofit organization Amman Imman: Water is Life since 2007.

This year, students and their families will again Walk for Water, for the 7th year, this time at the Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda, Maryland’s Cabin John Park, on Saturday, May 11.  The Walk will begin at 10 a.m., with registration and a pre-walk Expo opening at 9 a.m.  

Couloubade's water tower
Construction completed March 2013
The Walks, attended by students mainly from the Washington, DC metro area, have focused attention on the confluence of dire situations affecting West Africa’s Azawak region in Niger—a severe and lengthening drought, extreme poverty, and growing insecurity—and have raised funds for Amman Imman’s humanitarian programs.

Amman Imman has constructed five borehole wells in Niger’s Azawak region. Each borehole well provides water for more than 25,000 people and their animals, including refugees that have poured into the area from Libya and Mali over the last year. The organization, founded and led by a former Fulbright scholar who conducted research in the Azawak, has also brought food aid, livelihood, health and education programs to the region—a place where few other humanitarian organizations work.

Through Amman Imman’s service-learning component, Wells of Love, students of all ages from more than 100 schools have become a driving force behind the organization’s success. These students have raised considerable funds and awareness through the Walks and other self-initiated events. Amman Imman’s most recent partnership with the Montgomery College/Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Collaborative Program, for example, engages English as a Second Language (ESOL) students through the Walk for Water. The event qualifies students for MCPS service learning hours. 

Before arriving at the Walk on May 11, many students will have garnered sponsorship donations for their participation. Those donations will directly fund Amman Imman’s programs.

The pre-walk Expo starting at 9 am at Locust Grove will feature live African musicians and indigenous
Enjoying the water at the
Couloubade pumping trials
crafts made by artisans from villages that surround Amman Imman’s borehole wells.  Students will draw water from a “well” and carry a water-filled container like children in the Azawak do every day in order to survive. The trail walk will feature an educational question and answer discovery game about water scarcity and the global water crisis.    

Participating students will come from schools including: Oneness-Family School, Barrie School, Green Acres School, German School Washington DC, Westland MS, John F. Kennedy HS, Blair HS, Northwood HS, Watkins Mill HS, Seneca Valley HS, BCC HS and Wooten HS.  The Silver Spring/Kensington Rotary Club has partnered with Montgomery College/MCPS Collaborative Program for participating ESOL students to receive event t-shirts.
Some of Amman Imman’s partner schools are also hosting their own Walks for Water this year. Aidan Montessori School of Washington, DC hosted a Walk on April 22 and The Boyd School in Chantilly, Virginia, will hold its Walk for Water on May 24. 

Refreshments will be provided by Starbucks and My Organic Market (Moms).

Walk sponsors include:  Oneness-Family School, Watek Engineering Corporation, and YBM Construction.  Music will be provided by Algerian artist Kamel Zennia, Malian singer Hadesh Walet Mahmoud and Oneness-Family School’s Andrew Kutt.

Amman Imman: Water is Life is dedicated to saving and improving lives among the world’s most vulnerable and abandoned populations, starting by bringing water to the Azawak of West Africa. The organization serves as a conduit raising awareness among students of all ages and engaging them to take action.

Debra Kahn, Associate Director
Amman Imman: Water is Life
7036 Strathmore Street, #111
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(240) 418-1143

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