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Clearing mines in Africa

Special Interest Programme / Partner story

Photo by Wynand Uys on Unsplash

“Somewhere in the world right now, a parent is making the grimmest of choices: to risk cultivating mine-contaminated land or to let their family starve. That is no choice at all. The sooner we are able to clear all the remaining landmines, the less chance there is of innocent lives being lost or changed forever.” HRH, The Duke of Sussex

Angola is the fourth most mine-contaminated country in the world after Egypt, Iran and Afghanistan.  In 2019, HALO Trust launched a new initiative in partnership with the Angolan Government, to clear the Okavango headwaters of mines. HALO Trust employs teams of local people and trains them to do the painstaking work of clearing the land of all unexploded ordnance.

This Okavango delta is a world heritage site of huge significance from a conservation and anti-poaching perspective, as it is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammals, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion.

The landmines threaten species who use this wildlife corridor stretching from Angola to Botswana, and the rangers who try to protect them from poaching. Oak has made a special initiative grant of USD 5,750,000 to HALO Trust over four years. Three million dollars of this grant will contribute to a USD 60 million effort to clear the Angolan section (the headwaters) of the delta of mines. Another potential benefit of the clearance will be the development of ecotourism, which should bring economic opportunities to the local community. An additional two million dollars of the grant will go to HALO in Zimbabwe, to contribute to the Zimbabwean Government’s goal of clearing all landmines by 2025. The remaining USD 750,000 of the grant will support training of national and international staff, building HALO’s capacity for the future. 

HALO Trust partners with Oak’s Special Interest Programme, which reflects the Trustees’ interest in making dynamic, diverse and challenging grants. If you would like to know more, check out our website.