Amman Imman: Water is Life
Amman Imman empowers and helps preserve Africa’s most vulnerable indigenous peoples and engages students worldwide as socially conscious leaders. Through our Africa-based program, Oases of Life, we establish points of civilization that flourish, beginning with the construction of permanent water sources. Our programs emphasize the role of women and youth as a guiding force for societal stability, optimism, and resilience.
Amman Imman’s Guiding Principles:
- Serve as a leading advocate for Africa’s most vulnerable indigenous populations.
- Raise awareness and garner the support of government and non-governmental partners, as a way to enact positive change, while helping to preserve centuries old traditions.
- Increase the capacity of our communities by paying attention to local knowledge and expressed needs.
- Bring new knowledge, and use newly-trained community members as the teachers for surrounding communities. When our trainees become the trainers, they become the root for long-term life improvement and community capacity growth.
- Accompany our partner communities while they adapt and prosper over many years.
- Engage women and young people as socially and environmentally conscious change makers.
Amman Imman's Success
Since its inception in 2006, Amman Imman (AI) has worked against harrowing odds as the pioneer organization committed to saving lives among the half million Tuareg and Wodaabe pastoral nomads inhabiting the Azawak of West Africa. Once one of Africa’s most lush pastoral lands, this Florida-sized desert valley has become the most forsaken region of Niger and Mali, among the poorest countries on Earth. Unremitting drought has dried up above ground and shallow underground sources of water. Before the arrival of Amman Imman (and still in many parts of the Azawak today) children used to walk up to 30 miles round trip for just a bucket of water after waiting in line for up to two days. Food shortage and disease are endemic, and half the children die before reaching the age of five, often of thirst.
In just a short time of operation, AI has reversed this tendency and brought sustainable improvement to the lives of tens of thousands of people through the creation of “Oases of Life”. These points of civilization begin with the construction of 600 foot deep borehole wells, and to date serve more than 100,000 people and animals. Once a borehole has been built, AI conducts skills training among adults and youth, reforestation, sanitation, food security programs, and women’s empowerment projects. AI also builds schools and gardens, and launches health initiatives that focus on vaccination campaigns, malaria prevention, reproductive health, and health education whereby traditional healers work alongside local nurses and health workers to ensure long-lived community health improvements. AI partners with the government and encourages other organizations to support the communities it works with.
Youth as instigators for change
AI recognizes that creating sustainable change at an international level depends on forming future leaders. By fostering cross-cultural respect and solidarity among schoolchildren through its Wells of Love program, AI provides a foundation of experiences that prepare students as global citizens. Over 135 schools in six nations have joined this international service effort that encourages students to reach out in friendship and partnership with their young counterparts in Africa. AI also offers teacher’s guides, student educational materials, and proposes activities that teach not only about indigenous cultures, but also about global issues such as water conservation, women empowerment, international health topics, deforestation and desertification. Through the connection that they make with students worldwide, the children that we help in Africa learn that they too are powerful and capable of making a difference in their communities.
Amman Imman poises itself as a leader for Africa’s most disenfranchised
Using our model of local empowerment and capacity growth, cultural preservation, and sustainable development, AI envisions partnering with marginalized indigenous communities across Africa.
AI has already helped save and improve lives of over 100,000 indigenous peoples thanks to financial contributions of private donors of all ages, grants from foundations such the Vibrant Village Foundation, the Prem Rawat Foundation, and corporations including Cadbury Schweppes and Honest Tea. AI has also gained support from several public figures, including actress/activist Mia Farrow, talk show host Montel Williams, Earth Day Network president Kathleen Rogers, environmental activist Richard Cizik, Niger Minister of Secondary Education Aichatou Bety, US ambassador to Niger Bisa Williams, author Jean Houston, and supermodel Kewe Mar. The books “Changing People’s Lives” and “The Wizard of Us” feature AI’s work. Several songs have been written, and articles about AI have appeared in publications including numerous Yale University magazines, Newsweek, Montessori Today, and Africa International.
Preserving our world heritage and forming future change makers
Amman Imman believes that its work among indigenous populations is a fight to preserve our vanishing world heritage. If a culture is allowed to disappear through neglect or oppression, humanity will lose an irreplaceable treasure. We also believe that our ongoing engagement with youthful future leaders and global change-makers will help build a more positive world for tomorrow.
Importance of Amman Imman as a bulwark against extremism
Our holistic approach helps convey a message of friendship with the Muslim world. In this period of increased instability brought on by poverty, radicalization, and spillover from the Arab Spring, we believe we offer positive solutions against the rise of extremism. Rarely do the populations of the Sahel have other opportunities to experience a hand of solidarity directly from the Western World. Amman Imman gives them this opportunity and places special emphasis on youth, who are very susceptible to negative influences. We help young people understand their intrinsic worth, and empower them as forces of positive evolution in their communities and beyond.