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Overview: The Azawak of West Africa

Africa map

Amman Imman currently builds permanent and sustainable sources of water in the Azawak region of Niger and Mali.  The Azawak is a vast plain that covers approximately 200,000 km2 (80,000 square miles) of the Sahel area of West Africa, and has an overall estimated population of approximately 500,000 people.

In the Azawak, the harsh environmental conditions afflicting Niger and Mali as a whole are exacerbated by complete inaccessibility to health and nutritional care coupled with permanent water insufficiency (caused by lack of infrastructure, human resources, and the effects of the climate).  Despite the daily life-threatening situation that exists in the Azawak, both governmental and non-governmental humanitarian assistance remains rare outside of urban centers.  As a result, the people of the Azawak are in disarray. Some have abandoned former lifestyles. Many have fled their homes seeking refuge in cities and neighboring countries.

Photo: Tuareg children
Tuareg mother resting with her daughters.

The main needs of the populations living in the Azawak include access to food, health care, and water.  However, these needs cannot be addressed all at once. The populations of the Azawak have a saying: Amman Imman, Arr Issudarr (“Water is Life, Milk is Hope” in Tamachek, the language of the Tuareg people).  They have therefore distinguished one need over the rest: access to reliable, potable, and sustainable sources of water, hoping to one day improve their overall living conditions.


Addressing the Water Problem

Photo: Boy at faucet
Moussa fetching water at the Tangarwashane water fountain.

To address this need and ascertain this hope, Amman Imman is building permanent, sustainable, and potable water sources for the severely threatened populations of the Azawak. Program activities will significantly improve health, drastically reduce infant mortality, greatly cut the number of refugees, and motivate both governmental and non-governmental agencies to bring in additional humanitarian assistance.

A few water sources at a time, Amman Imman aims to bring stability and hope to tens of thousands of people. Icon: Photo Gallery View photo gallery of "tangarwashane borehole"


Global and Specific Objectives

Photo: two girls smiling
Aissa and Zeinab.

Amman Imman’s global objective is to increase water security for the children and adults living in the Azawak of West Africa in order to drastically reduce the incidence and prevalence of morbidity and mortality related to water insufficiency and poor water quality, such as dehydration, diarrhea, intestinal helminthes, skin diseases, lice infestation, schistosomiosis, trachoma, etc.   The project’s specific objectives are the following:

  • To create permanent, sustainable, and potable water sources, so that everyone within the target population has sustainable and equitable access to enough water quantity of high quality to meet their consumption, cooking, personal and domestic hygienic needs, as well as the needs of their animals.
  • To ensure ecologically, financially, and socially sustainable management of water quality and quantity.
  • To improve hygiene and sanitation related knowledge and behavior among members of the target population.


Short and Long-term Benefits

  1. Photo: drinking clean water
    Tijani drinking clean water from Tangarwashane borehole.
    The people of the Azawak have year-round access to clean water.
  2. Increased health, nutrition, and hygiene among the populations of the Azawak.
    • The incidence of morbidity and mortality linked to dehydration, lack of access to clean water, and poor hygiene will be reduced significantly, particularly among infants and children under age five.
    • Photo: water troughs with goats
      Fulani mother breastfeeding child.
      The global health of populations will improve, particularly that of women and children, because they will no longer suffer from tremendous exhaustion caused by the extended distances previously travelled in search for water.
    • The incidence of malnutrition will diminish thanks to the following reasons:  a great reduction of diarrhoeal disease previously caused by contaminated water; the improved health of animals, thereby making more meat and milk available for consumption; water will be available for growing sustenance crops; and very simply, more water will be available for drinking and cooking.
  3. Increased health among livestock, and increased livestock herds.
    • Photo: water troughs with goats
      Goats drinking from Tangarwashane water troughs.
      Livestock morbidity and mortality linked to fatigue and dehydration will diminish, therefore increasing livestock herds.
    • Increased livestock health will in turn permit increased productivity (more milk will be produced, more animals will be available to help with agricultural production, and more animals will be available for trade and commerce). 
  4. Photo: Tchinadan making leather bag
    A Tuareg artisan making a leather bag.
    Improved quality of life.
    • Men and women will have more time to devote to revenue generating activities, household chores, and rest.
    • Children will have more time for school and play.
    • The number of internally displaced persons will diminish because people will no longer have to abandon their villages in search for water.



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