The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has announced £46 million of new funding for landmine clearance that will benefit more than 800,000 people in conflict-ravaged countries around the world.
International humanitarian organisations MAG, The Halo Trust, Norwegians People's Aid and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining will work in partnership to deliver demining efforts, mine risk education and capacity development in Angola, Cambodia, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, South Sudan, Laos, Lebanon and Vietnam.
This is part of the £100 million commitment pledged at an event with HRH Prince Harry in April last year to make 150 square kilometres of land safe again over a three year period.
As well as saving lives and fostering economic development, these projects will boost local employment, recruiting women and men from communities where job opportunities are limited.
“Today, one person every hour is killed or injured by a landmine or unexploded bomb and almost half are children,” says Jane Cocking, Chief Executive of MAG.
These new funds will help us to rid some of the world’s most conflict-affected countries of landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded weapons at a crucial time, impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Chief Executive of MAGJane Cocking
This support will also help train female deminers. Hundreds of women from impoverished communities will be empowered through skills training in landmine clearance, vehicle mechanics and paramedic first aid. In South Sudan, 20 women recently graduated as manual deminers for MAG.
One of the graduates, Hanan Christine, a mother to three young boys, says she became a deminer “to save lives” after being inspired by other women taking part in the course.
“What a man can do a woman can do,” she said. “Being among a few of the female deminers in South Sudan, I feel great”.
Earlier this year, the UK Government also matched over £214,000 of public donations to MAG’s demining Walk Without Fear appeal. This helped to benefit almost 8,000 people in Angola, 20 years after Princess Diana’s iconic walk through an Angolan minefield first brought the devastating impact of landmines to the world’s attention.