For Immediate Release:
Annual ‘Walk for Water’ Brings Drought-Stricken Communities in West Africa to Life
WASHINGTON, DC, May 1, 2014—For the past decade, a severe and lengthening drought, extreme poverty, and growing insecurity has continued to erode communities in one of West Africa’s most inaccessible and impoverished regions: the Azawak Valley. Although most people in the United States—and around the world—have never heard of the Azawak, a growing group of students and individuals from the Washington, DC area has been gathering annually since 2007 to participate in symbolic ‘Walk for Water’ events that have raised funds and awareness to directly assist families in the Azawak.
The nonprofit organization Amman Imman: Water is Life, based in Bethesda, Maryland, hosts the Walk for Water events in collaboration with the many schools with which it partners. The small, grassroots organization is one of the only humanitarian groups working in the Azawak Valley, a region the size of Florida that straddles Mali and Niger. Amman Imman has drilled five sustainable sources of clean water called borehole wells in Niger, which each provide water for more than 25,000 people and their animals. The Walk events symbolize the long journeys—up to 35 miles for some—that many children in the Azawak have had to take to find water for their families.
The organization also works with villages to lead other essential development activities, such as
|Amman Imman empowers women by|
establishing women's cooperatives that
help them get access to materials at
lower costs and engage in revenue-generating
activities such as traditional crafts,
sewing and gardening.
This year’s three-mile Walk for Water will be held on May 10, at the Locust Grove Nature Center at 7777 Democracy Boulevard, in Bethesda, Maryland in Cabin John Park near the Montgomery Mall. The Walk itself will begin at 12:30 pm, and will be preceded by a rally and cultural festival. The cultural festival, which begins at 10:30 am, will feature hands-on activities, demonstrations, and live music that relate to the culture of the Tuareg and Fulani ethnic groups who live in the Azawak Valley. Several Tuaregs from the area will attend the Walk, and food, traditional crafts, jewelry, and other items will be available for purchase. A rally will then follow the festival at 12 pm, where a short presentation about Amman Imman’s work will be given.
For Amman Imman, the Walk for Water events exemplify the organization’s strong partnerships with students, and in particular, schools in the Washington, DC area. Through Amman Imman’s service-learning component, called ‘Wells of Love,’ students of all ages from more than 135 schools around the world 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.
You can pre-register online and create a fundraising page for the Walk, or register the day of the event.
Participating students will come from schools including: the Oneness-Family School, the Barrie School, the Norwood School, the German School of Washington, DC, the Evergreen Montessori School, and several Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). MCPS students can receive up to four hours of SSL (service learning) credit for attending the event.
Some of Amman Imman’s partner schools are also hosting their own Walks for Water this year. Those schools are: the Boyd School in Virginia, the Aidan Montessori School in Washington, DC, and the Fudan International School in Shanghai, China.
Partners and contributors supporting the Walk include: Dog Meets World; Oneness Family School; Reel Water Film Festival; The Compost Crew; Drumming Up From Poverty; Mom’s Organic Market; Cava Mezze Grill; S & A Beads; and musical artists Kamel Zenia, Hadesh Walet, and Michael Kweku Owusu.
Debra Kahn, Associate Director
Amman Imman: Water is Life, www.ammanimman.org
7036 Strathmore Street, #111
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
“A Walk for Water”, Saturday, May 10, 10:30 am, at the Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda, MD