Lebanon: As part of the 20-month Global Mine Action Programme (GMAP) funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), ITAD was contracted to conduct a monitoring and evaluation visit in Lebanon.
From the 17th until the 22nd of March, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) welcomed Mayssa Daye and Belinda Goslin from ITAD and facilitated their visit in country.
The main purpose of the visit was to understand the broader political, humanitarian and security context in which MAG and NPA are conducting the project, how this impacts the way in which demining and Mine Risk Education (MRE) is conducted, the implications on the achievement of the project’s targets, and finally, the level of interaction with the Lebanese Mine Action Center (LMAC) and Regional Mine Action Center (RMAC).
On the 20th of March, the two ITAD delegates visited NPA’s minefield in Rmeish, South Lebanon where a comprehensive schedule was designed by NPA to cover questions and inquiries about the clearance work done in the area. The visit began with a meeting with members of the local community (three representatives from Rmeish municipality and two landowners), followed by a detailed presentation about clearance by Site Supervisor Ihab Haidar and socio-economic impact of clearance by Programme Assistant Hala Amhaz.
After a necessary safety brief and with the authorization from the RMAC, Mayssa Daye and Belinda Goslin were able to enter into the minefield and notice the working conditions of NPA demining team.
Both delegates were even actively – though safely – involved in the daily explosions of mines with Site Supervisor Ihab Haidar.
On the following day, two visits to NPA sites were planned. The first visit took place in Al Qlaileh where NPA Technical Survey team is working. Kamal Mohsen, Site Supervisor of the Technical Survey Team, presented the role and impact of Explosive Detection Dogs in the Technical Survey process, after which a meeting between the land owner and Mayssa Daye took place, during which she collected details about the impact of clearance and NPA’s liaison with the community. The delegates and NPA’s staff later watched the NPA Explosive detections dogs and their handlers performing a search drill, where the dogs once again proved their significance for NPA’s operations.
The second visit took place on a Battle Area Clearance task located in Tayr Harfa, South Lebanon. This land was heavily contaminated with cluster munitions during 2006 war with Israeli forces. Mahmoud Moqashar, NPA’s Site Supervisor, presented the details of NPA’s work on the task so far, showing the intensity of the contamination and the difficulty of clearance due to the presence of dense vegetation.
After the presentation on socio-economic impact, the delegates discussed with deminers during their lunch break. Discussions took place about their view of working with NPA, what it’s like to be a woman deminer, and more in-depth conversations about safeguarding and employees’ rights.
The 2-day visit ended at NPA’s office in Tyre where ITAD delegates had the opportunity to sit down with NPA’s Community Liaison team responsible for MRE and Impact Assessment. Fruitful discussions on improving the link with communities or innovative ways of raising awareness on mines risk were opened, which was very constructive for NPA staff.
All in all, the trip was valuable to NPA Lebanon’s Humanitarian Disarmament programme not only in terms of understanding its strengths and challenges, but also in receiving external opinions on how to constantly improve clearance work. NPA Lebanon teams would like to thank Belinda Goslin and Mayssa Daye from ITAD for their time and support throughout their visit.