Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan Newsletter: April 2010

30 Apr 2010 - MAPA Celebrates International Mine Action Day


Source: Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA); United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA)

International Mine Action day is marked globally on April 4th. This year MAPA celebrated with a series of events leading up to the day. On 3rd April an Open Day was hosted by implementing partner OMAR. UN special representative of the Secretary General in Afghanistan joined the ambassadors of the USA and Canada in giving speeches and committing to support Mine Action. All attendees had the opportunity to visit the landmine museum as well as meet many implementing partners who set up displays of demining equipment and children who were invited to learn about the dangers of mines inside a plane which has been converted into a classroom.
They also visited the survivor assistant project of Afghan Mine Action Technology Centre (AMATC). AMATC provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to learn how to make demining equipment that is then sold to mine action implementers to improve the livelihoods of landmine survivors and other people with disabilities. The tour concluded with a mine detection dog demonstration.
On 4th April, an event was held in the MACCA compound following on from February's poster competition at Bagh-e-Babar. The best posters were selected by a reviewing panel consisting of MACCA senior management and the MRE department. The winners were invited to the MACCA with their families to paint their designs on the garden wall with the help of expert painters.
The winners were then awarded with prizes of art supplies by Dr. Haider Reza, the programme director of MACCA who said "Mines are still killing or injuring an average of 40 Afghans every month. This is an improvement compared to previous years when we had more than 100 victims monthly. Today's event is another example of the hard work and achievements of the Mine Risk Education teams. I am thankful to the donor countries for their support and congratulate the children and their parents for participating and celebrating International Mine Action Day with us".
Elham Ahmad Wardak, a 10 year old winner said: "I am so excited and thankful to MACCA for organizing this event and educating the Afghan communities about the dangers of mines. My message to all students is: 'Do not touch suspicious looking objects and report them immediately to your parents or the relevant authorities'".
Many MACCA Area Mine Action Centres (AMACs) celebrated International Mine Action Day with various activities such as press trips or inviting key stakeholders to their offices to learn more about the programme. Jalalabad AMAC also organized a poster competition for high school students. The winning entries of this competition, as well as the Kabul poster competition winners, can be viewed at http:// www.flickr.com/photos/49017220@N05/

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