The primary need in the Azawak is water. Half of the children under five die due to reasons linked to lack of water, or poor quality water.
Given the depth of the water table, which starts at 200 meters, very few technologies work in the Azawak. Deep boreholes are the best option.
Eight years ago, solar technology was not capable of providing the quantity of water necessary given the depth of the water table. Thus, our boreholes are equipped with diesel generators, pumps, water towers and pipelines that take the water to fountains throughout the community and to troughs for livestock. Looking into the future, we would like to convert our boreholes to solar.
- To provide water to extended communities, including villages, camps, and passing nomads in order to decrease mortality and morbidity linked to water.
- To permit the basis for the construction of vibrant communities. With water, other activities can flourish, such as agriculture, health, education, economic opportunity, etc.
- AI has the goal to create water security for all the Azawak (500,000 people living in a terrain the size of Florida).
To meet these objectives, we’ve established the following activities:
AI has constructed 4 boreholes with its own funding, and one borehole in partnership with UNICEF. These have been built in the communities of Tangarwashane (2007), Kijigari (2010), Ebagueye (2012), Couloubade (2013), and Tchinwangari (2008 – built by UNICEF).
To date, these boreholes serve approximately 100,000 people during the height of the dry season (March, April, May), and their livestock. During other times of the year, the boreholes serve at least 25,000 people and their animals (well over 100,000 head per year).
The boreholes have had high implications on health, decreasing morbidity and mortality rates among children and adults:
- People have water year-round, and so are no longer dying of dehydration.
- The water is clean, and so diarrhea has decreased significantly.
- They have water to bathe with, thus greatly decreasing diseases linked to improper hygiene (diarrhea, skin ailments, etc.)
- They have water to cook with, therefore increasing their food security.
- Children have time to attend school, and parents have time to engage in income generating activities.
Community members note experiencing greatly reduced fatigue as they no longer have to travel immense distances to fetch water. Animal herds have grown significantly, as they no longer die of thirst. Also, animals such as donkeys that died prematurely from fatigue fetching water or traveling to water sources are experiencing longer lives.
Borehole Management Committees (WATSANs)
Each borehole is equipped with a community WATSAN to ascertain the proper management of the borehole (mgmt. of funds, of equipment, etc.). This has allowed for members of the community to learn management and technical skills, helping them in other realms as we have introduced other projects.
There are five WATSANs — one for each borehole. We provide ongoing support to these WATSANs, whose management and functioning have evolved over time. Each community, with our training consultants, decide on their management procedures and functioning. We also organize meetings between management presidents of the different communities, so that they can share experiences, and help one another.
The committees include between 6 to 12 members, and we strive to have at least 50% of the members be women. The borehole offers employment to the members of the management team that work full-time at the water fountains and troughs. In fact, these workers have often been ingenious, and have used their time in their positions to sell other goods as well as water, thereby increasing their income.
Mechanical Extension Program
In 2012, we established a “mechanical internship” program destined to train several select young men from our communities to become borehole mechanical experts. We have to date trained one man – one year learning basic mechanics and working with a borehole drilling company to learn borehole specifics. He has now been hired full time to work for Amman Imman to conduct regular maintenance, be available for bigger repair jobs, and train the local borehole mechanics.
We will actively be looking for additional interns, to have at least three or four “experts” available to maintain all our boreholes on a regular basis.