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South Sudan Mine Action staff visit Afghanistan

4 South Sudanese nationals working with the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) of South Sudan in October visited Afghanistan to learn how the Afghan Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACCA) manages its mine action Programme.

By: Tamama Norbert Mansfield

The South Sudan delegation was led by NPA Capacity Development Project Manager John Sörbö and Batali Gabriel Modi the NPA Operations Advisor attached to NMAA.

The team toured Samangan province and Mazār-e Sharīf in Balkh Province where they observed Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA) doing mine clearance with the aid of manual deminers; mechanical assets and mine detection dogs.

In Qalatak-Salang province the visitors watched the Afghan national demining organization-Afghanistan Technical Consultants doing community liaison; surveying and clearance activities.

“The visit was a valuable learning experience for the NMAA team. The MACCA team presented their programme achievements and shared their experiences on their mine action work. The team from South Sudan learnt a lot from their Afghan counterparts on capacity building; ownership and empowerment” said John.

Afghanistan has the largest and oldest humanitarian mine action programme in the world and employs close to 14,000 staff. Any nation with an Explosive Remnant of War and land mine problem should visit MACCA to learn more” Hopefully we will be able to send staff more staff from NMAA to MACCA for visits and “on the job”-training with our afghan mine action colleagues” John said 

Afghanistan and South Sudan have longstanding mine-action programmes with many similarities. While the Sudan and South Sudan war stopped in 1997 and the conflict ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement t in 2005, the conflict in Afghanistan’s has still not ended, resulting in different contamination situations in both countries. Both Countries are State party members to the Mine Ban Treaty. Afghanistan’s mine-action programme has come a long way in both mine-risk education and risk reduction, and has worked hard to increase community participation in mine action by engaging local people and teachers.MACCA has also undertaken an impressive study on mine/ERW victims. In addition, MACCA does school-based risk education.

The visit was funded by the Canadian Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START)

22.01.2013 | Victoria Uwonkunda