Pic of the Day: Schoolchildren in Bolomo village, Democratic Republic of the Congo
These children had just attended a Risk Education session (tailored safety messages to those most under threat from landmines and explosive weapons) given by MAG’s Community Liaison staff.
MAG works with conflict-affected communities to make them aware of the dangers presented by landmines and unexploded ordnance.
Watch this Risk Education session from South Sudan:
Pic of the Day: A 250kg general-purpose High Explosives bomb is destroyed in northern Iraq
Yesterday’s demolition involved an electric initiation, using two VS1.6 anti-tank mines as donor charges to destroy the bomb.
The FAB-250 bomb was dropped in 1963 by the Iraqi regime in response to the Kurdish revolution.
It was discovered in the village of Shirta in Akre District, Duhok Governorate, by a local man who uncovered it while looking for food. Around 300 people live in the village and were at risk from an accidental detonation.
Pic of the Day: MAG removed a 250lb bomb from close to this family’s house in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“It was very frightening for our children,” said Gille. “The women were very afraid too, because they go there to collect firewood. “
[North Equateur, DRC, 2012. www.maginternational.org]
Pic of the Day: Deminers getting ready for work in northern Sri Lanka
The majority of the women in this all-female team are the main income-earners for their families. Many are widows and suffered greatly in the country’s civil war.
[Sri Lanka, 2012. www.maginternational.org]
Pic of the Day: A MAG Community Liaison team prepares to mark a dispenser full of cluster submunitions in Laos, 2009
There were another five tubes nearby.
In the first three months of 2013, MAG removed and destroyed 1,958 of these ‘bombies’ that affect a quarter of all Lao villages.
Pic of the Day: The Chouf Mountains region of Lebanon, May 2013
MAG cleared Em Saoud Mashmoushi’s land, removing five landmines and enabling her to earn a living from the olive and fruit trees.
She thanks everyone who supports MAG: “The donors who made this work possible certainly gave their money to the right place, as I can’t imagine anything sadder than losing a family member, especially a small child, to these landmines.”
Pic of the Day: A Syrian refugee clears clears the ground around olive trees in the Chouf region of Lebanon, May 2013
This area had been contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnance.
The landowner, Simain Eid, said: “Before MAG came here we could not use the land. Now you see we can work. We have no restricted areas. Many thanks to MAG.”
Congratulations to MAG Cambodia’s Mine Action Manager Soth Diep, whose outstanding contribution to saving and improving lives in the country has been officially recognised.
On 2nd April, Diep was awarded the “Moni Saraphorn Thnak Sena” award by His Excellency Prum Sophakmonkol, Deputy Secretary General of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority, following 13 years of service to the development of mine action in Cambodia.
“We have a valuable mission here in Cambodia,” said Diep, shortly after receiving his award, “and I anticipate that MAG, and I, will need to keep working on this mission for a long time to come. We are doing things right, responding to the need of communities to give people safer lives and building their futures.
“This work will continue to reduce poverty and improve living conditions, and will continue to be important and lifesaving as the country develops and changes into the future.”
Well done, Diep!
Soth Diep (right) after receiving his medal from His Excellency Prum Sophakmonkol, Deputy Secretary General of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority (left).
Read the full article here:
On 2nd April, 2013 MAG Cambodia’s Mine Action Manager Soth Diep was awarded the “Moni Saraphorn Thnak Sena” award by His Excellency Prum Sophakmonkol, Deputy Secretary General, in recognition of his long period of service and outstanding contribution to the development of mine action in Cambodia.
After 13 years, Diep reflects on a career marked by a distinctive rise through the organisation, international experience, and a continued commitment to saving and improving the lives of people in the communities in which MAG works.
In the summer of 1986, aged 19, Diep graduated from Build Bright University and was just beginning a long career with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery. Cambodia was still at war, with the Khmer Rouge in power fighting Vietnamese troops, and multiple casualties reported all over the country often as result of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) being used by all parties.
Three years later Vietnamese troops withdrew, and by 1992 a major UN peacekeeping mission entered Cambodia and took over administration of the country to try to bring an end to the bloody, decades-long conflict. But the explosive legacy of war remained in the ground.
By February 2000, Diep had made the decision that his fourteen year career in agriculture was at an end but that mine action awaited him. He wanted to put his knowledge of agriculture to use in helping people overcome the previous long hard years. Even now poverty in Cambodia is overwhelmingly rural with over 80 per cent of the population relying on subsistence agriculture, and 4.8 million people defined as below the poverty line.
Thirteen years ago, Diep saw that people were facing food shortages and taking great risks; putting themselves and others in danger, by using land which was suspected or known to be contaminated by landmines and UXO.
At night time, Diep and his colleagues at the Ministry were required to keep watch over the machines and equipment in nearby forests and mountainous areas where fighting would sometimes occur.
As Diep remembers, “Many of my colleagues were also sent to join the Government troops defending the Cambodia-Thai border during this time, and sometimes they stood on landmines and were killed.”
Starting out as the National Project Manager of a Survival Demining Tractor and Tools project with MAG, Diep comfortably put his previous experience into practice, helping in the research and development of former farming machinery which could be used to survey or clear contaminated land.
Focusing on the rural poor, offering communities the opportunity to revitalise their economic opportunities and ensure the safety of people living and working on land which was once a battleground, helped Diep to make his transition into mine action and work closely with MAG’s beneficiaries, the primary stakeholders of its activities, to ensure that their needs and their priorities were met during clearance.
His new position also allowed him “to gain experience with an international organisation, and an international working environment. I wanted to develop myself personally, to learn new things, and to gain support for my development.”
As Diep has risen through the ranks at MAG Cambodia, he has worked as Mechanical Unit Coordinator, and in a number of positions in the programme’s Mine Action Quality Assurance Unit.
Diep received his MAG-sponsored MBA degree from Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2008
Since August 2010, he has been Mine Action Manager, the most senior national technical position in MAG Cambodia. Diep is understandably proud of his position and what he has helped to achieve through his hard work:
“MAG’s working environment is all about fairness and being reasonable, patient and building yourself to be better. All national staff are encouraged to improve and upgrade their skills, and job sustainability is important. MAG has been able to create many jobs for Cambodian people across the country, allowing them to generate a monthly income to support their families both in urban and rural areas.
“This is very important in helping to build the economy, support people’s growth, and giving people the opportunity to learn.”
Over the years Diep’s life has changed alongside his career, marrying his wife Pol Srey March in February 1994, and having two daughters now aged 10 and 18. As he teaches his children to always strive to learn, he too has continued to do so:
“I have always been supported this way at MAG, for all my thirteen years here. They even helped put me through university again when I was 41, helping me get my Masters degree in Business Administration!”
Having worked under a number of managers, Diep has learned much from different styles of leadership and been given the opportunity to see different working environments in MAG’s Sri Lanka, Lebanon and Thailand programmes, while attending conferences on mine action in the US, Sweden and Laos.
“I always hope that staff in MAG will recognise my good work, and that I am trustworthy and patient. I try hard every day to achieve good results to ensure MAG always meets its requirements in the best way possible. I work actively to coordinate with the Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) and MAG’s stakeholders and I work positively to solve any problems. Doing this work makes me proud, so I wish to do it to the best of my ability,” he said.
After thirteen years with MAG Cambodia, Diep’s receipt of the “Moni Saraphorn Thnak Sena” Award was a great acknowledgement of his hard work for both MAG and his country’s mine action efforts. “We have a valuable mission here in Cambodia” said Diep, shortly after receiving his award, “and I anticipate that MAG, and I, will need to keep working on this mission for a long time to come.
We are doing things right; responding to the need of communities to give people safer lives and building their futures. This work will continue to reduce poverty and improve living conditions, and will continue to be important and lifesaving as the country develops and changes into the future.”
by Clare O’Reilly, Programme Officer, MAG Cambodia
Pic of the Day: Children in an Angolan village cleared by MAG of landmines and explosive weapons
[Moxico province, 2011]
After decades of civil war, Angola is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world. MAG is removing the risk of death and injury in communities like this one, enabling safe access to services such as health and education.
Pic of the Day: A MAG demining team, working in villages around Torit in South Sudan
The area is contaminated by landmines that were laid during the Second Sudanese Civil War, but soon it will be safe again.
“The people here are grateful - I can say that we all feel joy at seeing MAG,” says Alfred Ohuda, community leader of Kimodonge village. “Now, we have to restrict our children[’s movements], but when you have cleared here, we will be able to move freely.
“We will be able to collect water, firewood and stones for building. We will be able to walk with no fear.”
Pic of the Day: Until MAG cleared the area, this man had waited 10 years to build a house due to the land being contaminated with unexploded bombs
[Quang Binh province, Vietnam, 2007]
Pic of the Day: Mahaxi junior school in Khammouane Province, Laos
The school and its surrounding area were cleared of unexploded ordnance* by MAG to enable children to receive a safe education.
[* ordnance just means bombs, shells, mortars and things like that]
Pic of the Day: Innocent eyes peer out of an orphanage near Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka in 2002
Thousands of children were orphaned by the country’s civil war.
The longstanding conflict came to an end in 2009, leaving northern and eastern districts contaminated with explosive remnants of war such as landmines, unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices.
Pic of the Day: Marking 20 years of saving lives and building futures in Iraq
Over the last two decades in Iraq, MAG has cleared 600 minefields, cleared and released 70 million square metres of land, and destroyed 165,000 landmines and two million pieces of unexploded ordnance.
“MAG is proud of its record through good times and bad in northern Iraq, and privileged to have excellent relations with both the authorities and local communities,” said MAG Chief Executive, Nick Roseveare. “The 165,000 landmines that MAG has destroyed were each intended to kill or maim someone. Saving lives and building futures is at the heart of our mission with the people of the Kurdish region.”
Pictured taking part in a traditional Kurdish dance are (left to right) Vadar Mustafa (MAG Iraq Community Liaison Coordinator), Wendy Barron (MAG Iraq Country Director), Nick Roseveare (MAG Chief Executive) and Ziad Obaid (MAG Iraq Community Liaison Officer).
Pic of the Day: Mortar bombs in the Democratic Republic of Congo
These were among a stockpile of unstable munitions removed from a site close to the city of Goma’s main port on Lake Kivu and safely destroyed.
Pic of the Day: Villagers harvesting cassava on land that was once seeded with deadly landmines
This photo from Pailin district, one of the most fertile parts of Cambodia.
As a result of nearly three decades of conflict, Cambodia remains one of the countries most severely affected by landmines.
Pic of the Day: A landmine accident survivor in Lebanon, 2005
“In 1985 I ran from here to stay with friends in the next village, Arab Salim, because the fighting was too bad here. I was crossing the mountain when I stood on a mine.
“I suffered badly and lost a lot of blood. I was pregnant and, thank God, the baby was okay.
“I had an operation and they took off my leg. Five months later, I had to have another operation and they took more of my leg away. I don’t want anyone else to go through this.”
Pic of the Day: “We thank MAG. We feel free – we can go where we like and the children can play where they like.”
Sore Ismail, with her grandchild. Her husband lost his leg when he stepped on a landmine while collecting wood.
[Dasht Mir Sari village, Dohuk province, northern Iraq, 2013]
To read more about Sore’s village - and how MAG helped bring a “dead place” back to life - please click http://www.maginternational.org/news/iraq-development-project-brings-a-dead-place-to-life/
Pic of the Day: Children learning maths at Lumege-Canjamba primary school
[Moxico province, Angola, 2010]
The area around this school was contaminated with landmines during Angola’s long civil war, preventing many children from attending classes.
MAG cleared the area of mines and other remnants of war, such as unexploded bombs and shells, enabling children to receive an education safely.
Pic of the Day: A BLU-63 cluster submunition, marked on a hilltop in southern Lebanon
Hundreds of thousands of these ‘bomblets’ lay scattered across southern Lebanon following the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war.
Since the end of that conflict, MAG has cleared more than 11 million square metres of land in Lebanon, helping thousands of people to get back to work, replant their crops and rebuild their homes.