Saturday’s Walk for Water in Bethesda benefits Africa -- Gazette.Net


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Water may have been the bane of many a Montgomery County resident last week when torrential rains drenched the region, but in parts of West Africa, water is a precious and scarce commodity.

To help remedy that chronic problem, Amman Imman: Water is Life will hold its eighth annual Walk for Water at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda.

If you go:

What: Amman Imman’s eighth annual Walk for Water and Azawak Cultural Festival.

When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 10.

Where: Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda.

Cost: $15 students, $18 adults, $60 group of four.

Information and registration: ammanimman.org.

The walk supports Amman Imman’s mission to dig wells and provide sustainable development in the Azawak region of Niger and Mali.

“This region suffers from water scarcity and drought,” said Debra Kahn, associate director of the nonprofit. “The rainy season has gotten shorter and shorter over the last 15 years and sometimes only lasts one month.”

So far, Amman Imman, which was founded in 2006, has drilled five deep wells, or bore holes, Kahn said. The wells are usually 600 feet or deeper, reaching into the aquifer, and water is pumped to the surface.

“We do this working with the community,” Kahn said. “The only way for a project like this to be successful is to be sure the community wants a bore hole.”

That is because of the structure and mechanisms required for a deep well that the community has to maintain.

“Water becomes the start to bring stability to the community,” she said. “Once they have water, we work to build food security and schools.”

Saturday’s Walk for Water begins with a Azawak Cultural Festival from 10:30 to noon, followed by a pep rally and the 3-mile walk, which starts at 12:30 p.m. Onsite registration costs $15 for students, $18 for adults and $60 for a group of four. Registration begins at 10:30.

For more information or to register, visit ammanimman.org.

pmcewan@gazette.net