Iraq’s mine action program has two distinct components. The Kurdish Regional Government oversees the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) in the northern Kurdistan region, with mine clearance operations done by the humanitarian demining organization Mines Action Group (MAG). In Central and Southern Iraq, mine action work is overseen by the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA) and clearance operations done by the indigenous outfit Iraq Mine and UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO).
Since 2010, MLI has donated 12 Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) and provided advanced training to IMCO in Central and Southern Iraq. These MDD teams operated in the Basra region where they helped to accelerate the pace of landmine clearance operations by searching 67 acres of land. The cleared land has been returned to the people and is being used mostly for agricultural and grazing purposes.
MLI’s CHAMPS program was launched in Iraq in 2010 and seven of the MDDs donated to IMCO were sponsored through CHAMPS campaigns. CHAMPS kids in Iraq and the U.S. have worked together to provide rehabilitative care and prostheses to dozens of young mine survivors, and have also enabled survivors to receive vocational training. CHAMPS youth in Iraq have received extensive mine risk education, which they have shared with others, impacting thousands of lives.
Dozens of young Iraqis have received prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, and rehabilitative care through the CHAMPS-Iraq campaign. CHAMPS youth were also trained in Mine Risk Education and traveled throughout their communities and in the surrounding areas, sharing their knowledge with more than 5,300 other children living in mine-infested areas in the Baghdad, Basra, and Wassit areas.
In May 2017, MLI launched the Network for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Iraq (NEW Iraq) project, in partnership with the AMAR Foundation, to empower women who have lost their husbands in violent conflict and have thus come to bear financial responsibility for their households, through a mentoring and employment training program. Through the project, 74 women in Basra and Dhi Qar were ultimately provided with skills and small grants that assisted them in their ability to earn a living by opening small businesses or gaining official employment, and support themselves and their families.
In 2012, MLI launched a comprehensive Survivors’ Assistance program in Iraq, the Partnership for Iraq (PFI). PFI helped tens of thousands of landmine survivors living in and around Basra, in southern Iraq. With support from private donors and matching funds from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), MLI partnered with IMCO and the Polus Center for Social and Economic Development to create a unique and centralized system that provided training and medical assistance to more than 2,200 landmine survivors. Through the project, a national database of landmine survivors was created, which identified and assessed the needs of survivors, enabling organizations like MLI to better meet their needs and provide them with support.
Here are stories of the survivors MLI has reached through CHAMPS and our Survivors’ Assistance programs.