Transforming lives in Zimbabwe
23 July 2020
Photo provided by HALO Trust
An estimated two and a half million anti-personnel mines and 76,000 fragmentation mines were laid along Zimbabwe’s northern and eastern borders with Zambia and Mozambique during the War of Liberation in the 1970s, contaminating hundreds of square kilometres of land.
Many people live in close proximity to the minefields. HALO Trust’s* pre-clearance surveys in the region found 87 communities and 79,368 people affected by mines, with 78 minefields located within 500 metres of residential areas.
This has had a significant impact upon their wellbeing and livelihoods and makes these economically fragile farming and trading communities unsafe. Virtually every activity – walking to school, fetching water, accessing farmland, travelling to markets, or going to the clinic – forces people to walk beside and sometimes through minefields. Incomes are also affected as mines take a heavy toll on livestock grazing in minefields where vegetation is the most dense. Since 1980 and nearly 40 years on from independence, these unfenced minefields have killed or injured thousands of people and more than 120,000 cattle.
The HALO Trust began operating in Zimbabwe in 2013. It currently deploys 415 staff across 31 clearance teams. It has safely destroyed over 90,000 landmines, making one third of the affected area on the northern border safe for habitation and farming.
According to ZIMAC, the total area remaining at the end of 2019 was just over 43 million square metres. Oak’s grant to HALO will support the organisation’s contribution to the Government of Zimbabwe’s goal of clearing all minefields in the country by 2025. By focusing on clearing landmines close to villages in the Mount Darwin and Rushingha Districts, the project will release approximately 15 hectares of land for safe use by these communities.
Villager Tashinga Chavhunga says, “We are happy because we know that soon we will be able to walk freely all the way from our home to our fields and the children will have a safe route to school.”
The work of the HALO Trust falls under Oak Zimbabwe Foundation. Within this national programme we fund local organisations involved in caring and providing for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Zimbabwean society. To learn more about the programmes strategy click here.
 Zimbabwe, MAG, https://www.maginternational.org/what-we-do/where-we-work/zimbabwe/ (Accessed 04-02-2020)