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Saving lives and building futures in 2009: a review of the year

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Click on placemarks above for more on MAG's work in 2009

"MAG is about to enter its 21st year as an organisation and I am very proud to have been a part of what has been achieved over those years. Back in 1989, little was being done to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance from the world's conflict zones, with few people recognising the limitations these lethal weapons placed on reconstruction, development and the delivery of aid.MAG was formed in response to this unaddressed need and has achieved much in the past 20 years, always aiming to lead the way in developing technologies and working at innovative ways to build the futures of individuals and communities affected by the remnants of conflict.

The past year was significant not only for MAG's 20th anniversary, but also for what the organisation achieved.

We began 2009 by moving to new headquarters in Manchester city centre, formally opened by the UK Secretary of State for Development, Douglas Alexander. At the same time, we undertook a rapid deployment to Gaza to assist with the clear up following the bombing.

In Sri Lanka we successfully responded to the rapid changing situation and by the end of the year exceeded all funding targets.

We saw the ongoing growth of our Conventional Weapons Management and Disposal programmes and projects in which MAG has destroyed in excess of 150,000 Small Arms and Light Weapons in places such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.

In this year, MAG restarted work in Afghanistan (where it all began 20 years ago) with its partner OMAR and in Colombia began working in partnership with the Colombian Campaign Against Landmines and a local non-governmental organisation to improve the quality of Mine Risk Education in one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

We hosted delegations from Lao PDR and Vietnam, where programmes celebrated 15th and 10th anniversaries respectively.

In the UK, following a thorough review of our quality systems and processes we achieved ISO accreditation through the British Accreditation Bureau, awarded in recognition of the organisation's internal Quality Management.

We are grateful for our new institutional donors and the established partners that have consolidated their support, including our sister organisation MAG America, which has brought in a record-breaking amount of support to programmes. Of course, all of our work wouldn't be possible without the rapid deployment of national and international staff members.

Throughout the year, MAG has seen an increase in very positive media attention globally. We have enjoyed support from the public, who have helped raise unrestricted funding by taking part in events ranging from student collections and Music Beats Mines events to treks in Cambodia.

As I look ahead to our 21st year and beyond, I can't help but feel immensely proud of the achievements of MAG's dedicated workforce throughout the past 20 years, and would like to express my thanks to all our donors for their commitment and support.

MAG's crucial services in both technical clearance and community development, enables people to rebuild schools, clinics and roads on safe land that ultimately provide economic opportunities for future growth."

Lou McGrath OBE, Chief Executive, MAG