Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program
Afghanistan’s mine and UXO (unexploded ordnance) problem is the consequence of more than 30 years of war. Between 2007 and 2012, MLI donated 28 MDDs to four local Afghan demining organizations (ATC, DAFA, OMAR, and MCPA). These MDDs searched 2,370 acres of land which was returned to the Afghan people for safe & productive use. In 2015, MLI retired or reassigned all of the dogs because Afghanistan was able to develop its own sustainable indigenous demining capacity. MLI’s partner organization, the Mine Detection Center (MDC) in Afghanistan, established a successful breeding & training program for MDDs and because of their excellent work, coupled with the landmine clearance success of the four Afghan NGOs using MLI-donated dogs, the mine contaminated land that was particularly suitable for MDD operations was substantially reduced, resulting in a surplus of dogs.
During 2015, MLI worked with the U.S. Department of State to repatriate 21 MDDs to the U.S. that were of retirement age, and reassign 15 additional MDDs to demining operations in other countries. MLI’s partner in Texas, Mission K9 Rescue, assisted in placing the heroic dogs in loving homes in the U.S. The 15 active MDDs were transferred to work with local demining organizations in Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were paired with local handlers, achieved certification, and resumed their lifesaving work.
MLI launched CHAMPS Afghanistan in partnership with Help the Afghan Children in 2008. Schools in the U.S. conducted video calls with schools in Afghanistan to promote goodwill and global citizenship, and to raise awareness and funds for young Afghan landmine survivors. Additionally, five of the dogs donated to Afghan demining organizations were sponsored by CHAMPS campaigns.
As a result of the CHAMPS program, an estimated 13,000 Afghans participated in landmine awareness meetings and received mine risk education (MRE) , and more than 250 landmine survivors have received prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, special walking canes, and vocational training. MRE plays a crucial role in education communities, and especially children, on the dangers and risks of landmines. Vocational training was provided in computer science and sewing, enabling survivors to re-enter society, find employment, or use their new skills to sell hand-sewn products in local markets.
Here are stories of the survivors MLI has reached through CHAMPS and our Survivors’ Assistance programs.