Risk education and mine clearance | Project duration: 2015–2019
The war of independence that raged during the 1970s still shapes the lives of the people living on the border to Mozambique. One of the densest mine belts in the world is located here. 5 500 mines were laid along a length of 425 kilometres – often directly adjacent to family homes, schools, hospitals and in the middle of farmland. The mine belt denies both humans and animals access to land and water and impedes trade and border traffic. Mine accidents involving cattle regularly bring farming families to the brink of destitution.
WWM began cooperating with HALO Trust to clear mines and sensitise civilians living near Zimbabwe's north-eastern border in 2015.
Example: the Chaioko family
Tobias Chaioko knows exactly the damage that mines can do. His neighbour was blinded in a mine accident. Hundreds of cattle and oxen have been killed by mines – every incident an economic crisis for the family concerned.
Tobias was therefore very careful: he allowed the part of his land where he suspected mines to lie fallow. His family of seven had to forego a part of the potential yield. His mother Eneris had stopped cultivating her land altogether – she knew that three mine strips ran directly through it.
After local deminers from HALO TRUST had cleared his land from mines, Tobias was very relieved – and very shocked. The deminers had found mines all over his land, not only where he suspected they might be. The fact that no incidents occurred in all those years was down to the depth at which the mines were buried and his own good fortune.
What we achieved
The mine-clearing operation financed by WWM and the safety resulting from it brought great joy to the Chaioko family's village. But not only there. Farmland released for use is urgently needed in many areas to ensure that the crops are sufficient to survive in years of drought. Trade has increased thanks to safe border crossings with Mozambique; external traders also feel confident about returning to the villages in the former mine belt.
Locals can work as deminers in WWM projects. They use the money they earn to pay for their children's education, more cattle, a new roof or a solar panel – thus investing in a better future.
262 anti-personnel mines were identified and disposed of.
76 974 square meters of land have been cleared of mines.Further 32 074 square meters could be released again by area reduction.
4 073 people now have safe access again to their agricultural resources and social infrastructure (schools).
2 339 people (including 1 461 children) learned more about the danger of mines and the safe way to behave.
Pictures: The HALO Trust