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  What does MAT do?

MAT saves lives, particularly the lives of children, through the provision of life saving knowledge to vulnerable people and the clearance of deadly explosive remnants of war.

Mine Risk Education

Mine risk education aims to promote the adoption of safer behaviours by communities living in proximity to landmines and unexploded ordnance. Our educational projects are always strongly based in the communities most at risk. MAT has learnt that only by empowering the communities and developing their perceptions of the problem, can you infuse the necessary subtle changes in behaviour that will safeguard their lives. There are numerous innovative communication and education strategies the teams use; from puppet shows or performances to children teaching children the fundamental life-saving information. MAT strongly believes in training people from the local community to become educators and liase with the communities. This approach facilitates effective education because local culture and customs can be taken into account and incorporated into the education programmes. It also provides local employment in what are usually some of the poorest areas in the world characterised by high unemployment. Educating and training within the communities is not just a one-way process. Working within the communities provides a wealth of knowledge about where landmines and other explosive items may be and which areas are the priorities for the welfare of the community. The information collected from the communities will then guide the clearance projects.

Capacity Building

MAT always tries to operate through any existing charities and groups already working to safeguard lives by building their capacity. The core work of MAT is actually the training of local trainers. Eventually MAT looks to hand over an area safe in the knowledge that trained locals can continue to apply their newly acquired life-saving skills without them.

Mine Clearance

The majority of MATís clearance work is carried out by manual de-mining teams. The teams start from an area known to contain no suspect items and then 1-metre wide lanes are painstakingly searched using a metal detector. Teams also search former battlefields for other explosive items left behind such as cluster bombs or mortar fired grenades. Mine detection dogs can assist manual de-miners by locating dangerous items or reducing the size of a suspected area. A de-miner then removes any items the dog has located. At the end of each day the mines or ordnance found are either disarmed or detonated using explosives. When an area has been cleared the communities are brought to that area and reassured that they can use their land once more and move on with their lives.

Survivor Assistance

Sometimes MATís involvement is too late. Many have already become victims; unfortunately they are usually curious and unaware children who are drawn to items that can look like childrenís toys. As victims, their disabilities hamper them and their familyís ability to live normal, productive lives. In communities devastated by war, devoid of welfare services and where high unemployment exists, this can be as life threatening as the mines themselves. To combat this, MAT is involved in survivor assistance, or helps existing survivor assistance projects. These projects can be as simple as providing replacement limbs or wheelchairs, to the provision of new economic opportunities thereby increasing victimsí social status within the community. MAT has also been involved in providing transport for victims to take their surplus produce to markets where better prices can be obtained. MAT also employs survivors as educators in our mine risk education projects. Who better to teach about the dangers of landmines and unexploded ordnance than someone who is already a victim?

The Standard MAT operates to

MAT prides itself on operating to the highest standards. The Trust follows the International Mine Action Standards, which is the global standard, issued by the United Nations to guide the planning and implementation of projects, and operates in country under an accreditation system usually administered by the United Nations. MAT, over the years, has also developed its own rigorous standard operating procedures. To date, no staff employed by MAT has been injured or killed whilst working for the Trust.

Further information on the UN International Mine Action Standards can be found at: http://www.mineactionstandards.org/imas.htm

Further information on the UN International Mine Action Standards can be found at: http://www.mineactionstandards.org/imas.htm

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