World Water Day and Human Rights

On March 22 communities around the world will turn their focus to the world's water crisis by participating in World Water Day. Many events are being sponsored to bring attention to what some have labeled "the new oil of the 21st century", as we anticipate the diminishing of our water resources in the not so distant future.

Those of us who have been learning about the Azawak understand that for some the future is here and now. In the Azawak, the only place to get water is from marshes or deep wells that get replenished from the rain. This water is not clean, but nonetheless it is water. However, with the rainy season getting shorter and shorter, even this dirty water is less and less available. As the dry season progresses and the marshes and wells dry up, people have to travel distances of 17 miles one way just to reach a water source that may also have dried.
Takat and Aminata fetching water from a pond
contaminated with animal and human waste.

September 2005. Photo courtesy of Ariane Kirtley.

This is truly a water crisis right now.

While here in the United States, water is easily accessed by switching on a tap, 1.1 billion people in the world have insufficient access to water. Worldwide, we need to be concerned about our water resources. Awareness and conservation are of the utmost importance and ought to underlie all school curricula on water.

But do take note: according to the UNDP Human Development Report of 2006, "The scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, not in physical availability." This is most apparent in the Azawak of West Africa where sustainable aquifers exist deep below the ground. Yet the population of 500,000 people, mostly Tuareg and Fulani ethnic minorities, suffer due to the lack of access to that water flowing beneath their land.

This is a human rights issue.

Amman Imman seeks to rectify that inequality by reaching that clean water. We are building boreholes in the Azawak that go the distance beneath the ground to bring that water to the surface so that the people can get to it.

Amman Imman, Arr Issudar.
Water is Life, Milk is Hope.
Before you can have hope, you first need water.

Use this World Water Day to expand your students' awareness of the water crisis worldwide, and focus in on the extreme nature of the crisis that exists in the Azawak. Then, help us turn the world's attention toward the inequality in this region, and help Amman Imman bring water and hope to the Azawak valley.

Spread the word about "Run for Water" taking place in Washington D.C. on March 22. Find out more and download the flyer at this post: Run for Water on World Water Day.

Download the UNDP Human Development Report 2006, subtitled "Beyond scarcity: power, poverty and the global water crisis"

Download a report on what kids have to say about it: Water Rights and Wrongs; A young people's summary of the United Nations Human Development Report 2006 Beyond scarcity: power, poverty and the global water crisis

Resources to supplement your curriculum for World Water Day

A Trip With Drip: The Water Drop
a learning by doing workbook on water for children published by the United Nations Environmental Programme(UNEP)

Every Body Counts, Every Drop Matters
United Nations Classroom Resource Guide on Water, designed to inform students about the world's water resources and get them involved in preserving them.

Blue Planet Run: The Race to Provide Safe Drinking Water to the World
Facts and photos depicting the water crisis around the world

Information about the Water for Life Decade, 2005-2015, has videos about water crisis

Water Partners International. Lesson Plans For Teachers and Children and Water Facts

USGS Water Science for Schools. Discover how much water you use at home by answering a questionnaire.

Teacher Planet. Water Lesson Resources. Worksheets and lessons plans related to water awareness.

IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. Water for kids. A selection of resources to teach your class about water.


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