UNOPS

26/11/2012

Support to Afghan mine action

Since 1988 the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan has helped clear the nation of mines and unexploded remnants of war, has provided life-saving mine risk education and has supported the Government’s disability initiatives.

​The programme is one of the longest-running and largest mine action programmes in the world.

Providing human resource and procurement services

The programme is coordinated by the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA), which is funded by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and implemented by UNOPS.

UNOPS ability to provide responsive and professional HR and procurement services helped MACCA and other partners save lives and promote development.

 "Mine action really did a very hard job. Before clearance, the area had lots of problems because of mines and explosives; we were not able to send our children to schools."

– Mohammad Ilyas
A resident of Gamandy village, Salang district

Afghan nationals have been recruited and trained from within mine-affected communities under the community-based demining scheme, which has developed national capacity, stimulated economic growth and contributed to a more stable Afghanistan.

Through MACCA, the United Nations Mine Action Service was able to build national capacity in Afghanistan, helping the war-torn country manage its own mine clearance operations and creating 14,000 jobs in the process.

In addition, UNOPS has enabled MACCA to establish a work environment that is supportive of women, engaging a number of female national and international personnel in key positions. In 2011, MACCA opened a children’s crèche at the Kabul office to support working mothers.

Community-based demining

A key recent success has been the innovative Community Based Demining scheme. Following consultations with the national and international non-governmental organizations who implement the actual clearance operations on the ground, deminers were recruited and trained from within mine affected communities, once links had been established with the local leadership.

This approach both increases ownership of the demining outcomes and further develops the capacity of national personnel to sustain clearance operations in the future. Since mine clearance work is carried out on a half-day basis, the community-based deminers earn extra income in the mornings but are still able to attend to their farmland or other work in the afternoons. The stimulus to the local economy provided by their salaries supports the growth and stabilization of the country.

The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan was a finalist for the UNOPS Project of the Year award for showing excellence in project management.

UNOPS in focus