One hundred per cent of conflict-affected communities questioned on landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination in Moxico province said that following MAG's work they had not had any further accidents and felt safer.
On a hot morning in the community of Luzi, Soba (village head) Lingele sat with his colleagues Daniel Raule Upite, Soba Kandala and Julia Likumbi to talk about MAG’s work with one of our Community Liaison teams.
“When there was a mine accident on the road from Luzi to Lucusse with our water truck," he said, "MAG was there to help on the same day.”
School teacher Daniel Upite jumped in: “MAG is always fast. When I found the mine by my house last year they came right away to help. MAG are the only ones I trust to help quickly when we really need it!”
This conversation is an example of what MAG Angola is hearing all over Moxico province. Throughout the second half of 2011, our Community Liaison teams collected feedback from communities about how MAG responds to their reports of landmines and UXO.
The objective was to gain a better understanding of community opinion toward MAG’s work, assessing the impact on beneficiaries with the aim of learning how to better meet communities’ needs.
Fifty feedback sessions with various communities across the province gave the following results:
• 100 per cent of communities had heard of MAG and were familiar with our work;
• 89 per cent said that at least one person in the community had submitted landmine/UXO reports to MAG, and of those reports all communities said MAG had responded in less than a week;
• 78 per cent said that MAG was the only organisation that had physically come to enquire about contamination in the area;
• 100 per cent said that since MAG had removed the threats and delivered Mine Risk Education the community had not had any further accidents and felt safer.
“I would not want anyone but MAG to come and work here,” said Joao Baptista Sanguza, one of the Sobas from Luxia. “They are professional, they listen to us and they actually do what they say they will do, which is to make us safer.
"Today three youths found a UXO in the field and we told MAG. I know that in one or two days it will be gone and they can go back to work in the field.”
When people were asked what could be done to improve their lives with regards to contamination, the response was overwhelming: communities everywhere asked for more land and road clearance, so that they would not have to report mines or UXO any more and could live freely without further threat.
Quintas Kamiji, the Administrator of Leua municipality where MAG’s Road Operations Unit has been undertaking clearance, explained: “It has been almost 10 years since the war ended and we are still afraid to walk around. We keep finding more mines – this should not be.
"MAG is trying its best to help with the emergencies, and now MAG needs to come and clear all our land completely so our children can play, so we can move about and work freely.”
With European Commission funding, MAG will continue to deliver Mine Risk Education to minimise the risks for people living, working and travelling through Luzi and surrounding areas, as well as collecting reports of contamination from communities.
We will also continue to conduct community feedback sessions, with the continual objectives of improving the response times of all teams, ensuring communities receive the assistance they need, and delivering safer land to the people of Moxico.
10 January 2012
MAG's Community Liaison teams are working across Moxico province with funding from the European Commission, the US Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, the Government of the Netherlands, Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, Chevron and Good Gifts.
Reporting by Chelsea Moore, Programme Officer, MAG Angola