The HALO Trust has been awarded a grant of $550,000 from the Government of Japan to conduct humanitarian demining and clearance of ordnance in Angola. The grant enables HALO to employ 50 Angolan demining staff for a period of 12 months.
The grant comes from the Japan’s Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP). A signing ceremony to commemorate the grant was held in Luanda on 9 March 2017, at the official residence of the Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Angola, His Excellency Hironori Sawada.
Since 2003, the Government of Japan has provided generous support to HALO’s humanitarian work in Angola, focussing in the provinces of Huambo and Benguela. This latest project for demining in Huambo is of particular significance in 2017.
January 2017 was the 20th anniversary of a historic visit by Princess Diana to Angola, where she visited mine victims and walked through a minefield in Huambo. Princess Diana’s 1997 visit raised global awareness of the plight of landmine victims and of the indiscriminate nature of these weapons.
Huambo is at the heart of the country and home to Angola’s second largest city. Historically, Huambo was one of Angola’s ‘breadbasket provinces’ due to its rich agricultural lands. But as a consequence of the civil war, Huambo was much affected by the presence of landmines.
The HALO Trust, in coordination with the national demining authority CNIDAH, has cleared more 270 minefields in Huambo, and there are just 20 known minefields remaining in Huambo. This project is part of an initiative begun in 2016 ‘Towards a Mine Impact Free Huambo’ which aims to clear the last remaining minefields during 2016–2018. In this endeavour, Japan-funded demining teams will be working alongside other teams funded by the United States, Switzerland and the Canton of Bern.
José Agostinho, Deputy Programme Manager for HALO in Angola, noted Japan’s continuing commitment to humanitarian demining in Angola:
“A Mine-Impact Free Huambo provides a real opportunity to prove that Angola’s mines problem is not insurmountable. It will set a very important precedent and could be a model to Angola’s other 17 provinces," said Agostinho.
"The ability to safely access land without fear of mines is incredibly important not only for Huambo province but for the country. Thus we hope that completion of Huambo will generate a significant good news story that will reinvigorate international funding support for demining in other provinces; at present funding is not at sufficient levels to make all Angola mine-impact free by 2025, which is the stated aim of the Government of Angola.”
“We hope that completion of Huambo will generate a significant good news story that will reinvigorate international funding support for demining in other provinces; at present funding is not at sufficient levels to make all Angola mine impact free by 2025, which is the stated aim of the Government of Angola.” -José Agostinho, HALO Angola
The campaign is crowdfunding to raise donations to employ women deminers in Angola. HALO has secured funding to train 33 women as deminers starting May 2017, but with an additional £37,000, three more women can be employed for one year.
The private donations will cover the additional costs for the women's salaries, protective equipment, demining tools, accommodation, food, insurance, and transportation.
To make a donation, please click here.