Dear Friends of the Azawak,
I apologize for being out of touch. I have been very busy being a new parent since my son's birth which took place on January 14th. Nonetheless, much has happened with Amman Imman over the past several months, and I'd like to share this inspiring news with you today.
The Tangarwashane borehole, serving the needs of thousands:
After almost a year of fully functional operation, our "Janet Cornelius" borehole in Tangarwashane is working and providing water to thousands of people and animals. By now, all the marshes and most of the deep wells have run dry. People are traveling great distances in search of water, and finding clean and abundant water at the Tangarwashane borehole. Management committee members are doing a fabulous job maintaining the borehole and making water available to all. This news demonstrates that our borehole is successfully serving the very basic needs of the people of the Azawak. We hope that this will serve as a beautiful inspiration for people to continue helping these populations.
Amman Imman is planning a follow up visit next month, where both the mechanical and managerial maintenance of the borehole will be evaluated. I will be happy to share the evaluation report with you once the trip has been made.
View 7.5 minute documentary footage on water scarcity in the Azawak:
Debbie Kahn and I recently edited over 15 hours of raw footage that our team took last year in the Azawak, and put together a 7.5 minute movie depicting the endless time and energy both children and adults put into finding water -- often mud -- to use for their survival and the survival of their animals. It also shows the direct impact that global climate change is having on these people's lives, as their rainy season is diminishing from year to year, hence significantly reducing their access to water. You can view these compelling images by clicking on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcMq7YuOOhc
Developing a strategic plan for Amman Imman:
My husband, Denis, and I recently visited the USA with our son, Fassely. This was a very important and rewarding trip for many reasons.
Firstly, over 20 Amman Imman volunteers living within the Washington DC area, as well as two very special guests that traveled down from the Northeast (Julie Snorek and Dennis Hamilton) came together to share stories on current program activities taking place nationally and internationally, as well as talk about the future of Amman Imman. Among the most important points that was discussed – given Amman Imman's success and growth in the United States -- was the need to develop a strategic plan in order to increase its organizational capacity.
Amman Imman is currently working with a specialist on organizational development to help refine our strategic planning. We are testing several different structural models, and are in the process of establishing committees to help run operations more smoothly in the US. In the interim, we have set up an executive committee in order to help guide major decisions and activities made by the organization inside the United States.
Women, Faith, and Development Alliance (WFDA) Breakthrough Summit:
As a woman leader working to help women and children, I was invited to participate in the WFDA breakthrough summit held in Washington DC on May 13th and 14th. The summit brought together key figures including Madeleine Albright, Kim Campbell, Ashley Judd, and other prominent individuals to bridge all the major disciplines working for and with women. Being an active member of this revolutionary summit – and as such, an agent of change -- was not only inspiring and rewarding, but it also helped me reflect on Amman Imman's role within this global growing movement to reduce poverty by empowering women.
Amman Imman's goal is to build permanent and sustainable sources of water for those that have none. While doing this, we have a key responsibility to empower women within both the organization and the communities where we work. Whereas Amman Imman has done this in the past, it has become clear to me that this goal must be as much of a priority as building boreholes.
While at the summit, I made a short presentation on Amman Imman. Many individuals and representatives of development and faith based organizations were deeply touched when they heard of the harsh conditions endured by the people of the Azawak, and came to me afterwards with the hope of learning more and eventually helping Amman Imman. I am currently following up with these women, in the hope of obtaining their assistance to build additional boreholes in the Azawak.
Heroes of Compassion:
Finally, I wanted to let you know that more and more schools and students are partnering with Amman Imman as "Heroes of Compassion" in order to raise enough money to build a "Well of Love". On May 17th in Maryland, over 200 people, including students and their parents, "Walked for Water" -- thereby simulating the long walk that the children of the Azawak endure during their daily search for water – and raised more than $12,500 for Amman Imman. Students that could not participate in the walk took part in an Amman-athon, where they did various activities such as hulla-hooping and jump roping, and contributed to the total amount of money raised. You can read more about our Heroes of Compassion at the following link:
Thank you for your continued support. Everyone within the Amman Imman team, the people of the Azawak, and I appreciate it so very much! I'll be in touch soon with an update from the Azawak.
Yours in Peace,