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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) > Safe Passage Newsletter

SAFE PASSAGE: A Newsletter for the Humanitarian Mine Action and Small Arms/Light Weapons Communities, November 2006

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Released by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
November 2006

Volume 2, Issue 9

In This Issue:

  • The HALO Trust in Abkhazia
  • PM/WRA Hosts Grant Workshop
  • Browne Academy Students Raise Funds for CHAMPS
  • Grapes for Humanity Fundraisers
  • Clearing Landmines with Rotary
  • In Memoriam
  • PM/WRA "WAD" Team Project


The HALO Trust in Abkhazia

The Kodori Valley remains one of the last regions requiring landmine clearance in Georgia's Abkhazia region. [Photo courtesy of Kurt Chesko, The HALO Trust]The 1992-93 secessionist conflict between Georgia and its Abkhazia region resulted in heavy mine-laying by both sides. A cease-fire agreement was signed in May 1994. After prolonged negotiations between HALO, the Georgian Government, and the de facto Abkhaz representatives, HALO launched its Abkhazia program in 1997. The Department of State has funded HALO demining operations in Abkhazia since 2001, providing $9.5 million in support of the program. HALO's program currently consists of 550 national staff and includes manual and mechanical demining assets. [full story]


PM/WRA Hosts Grants Workshop

The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) hosted its first Grants Workshop on August 2-3, 2006, at the JW Marriot Hotel in Washington, DC. The workshop was attended by over 50 grantees from 31 PM/WRA-funded organizations. PM/WRA Director Richard Kidd and Deputy Directors Jim Lawrence, Colonel Stuart Harris, and Steve Costner provided opening remarks and an overview of the PM/WRA organization, mission, goals, and objectives. [full story]


Browne Academy Students Raise Funds for CHAMPS

Brownie, mine-detecting dog.  [Photo courtesy of  Kimberly McCasland, Marshall Legacy Institute]Fellow teacher Kimberly McCue and I first learned about the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and its Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) from Mort Dukeheart, Head of School at the Browne Academy, in the spring of 2005. We agreed that Browne Academy, a K-12 independent school, would benefit from involvement with this unique service project and that we would start a school-wide campaign to raise awareness of the landmine crisis and funds for a mine-detecting dog. Thanks to support from the Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, MLI and the community, we raised $10,000 for a dog named "Brownie" last year, and we've started a new campaign. MLI found a grant for $5,000, so we only have $5,000 to raise to call Brownie our own mine-detecting dog. [full story]



Grapes for Humanity Fundraisers

L-R: Tony Aspler, Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing and Arlene Willis at the Grapes for Humanity fundraiser in Toronto. [Photo courtesy of  Tom Sandler, Tom Sandler Photography]In May, Grapes for Humanity, a Toronto-based charitable foundation, held an ambitious three-day fundraising effort for landmine victims in three cities. The guest of honor at all the events was Madame May-Elaine de Lencquesaing, proprietor of the renowned Bordeaux Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, who graciously supplied the wines for all the gala dinners. In addition to the dinners, live and silent auctions helped raise a grand total of $250,000. [full story]



Clearing Landmines with Rotary

L-R: Dr. Prakash Chandran [India], Rev. Wolfgang Jockusch [Germany], Carol Edwina Andersen [Denmark], Peggy E. Pope [USA], and Hitomi Hosono [Japan]. On the screen: Sally Mackle [USA]. [Photo courtesy of  Dr. Prakash Chandran]The atmosphere was that light-hearted, close, friendly feeling that one has at a family wedding. There we were, friends of all generations, touching hands, smiling, making eye-contact, happy. The evening sun sparkled on the Baltic Sea, a light breeze rustled trees in the manicured garden and friendly faces raised their glasses. People hugged one another and celebrated a successful, fruitful event. But the occasion was not a family event; it was the will to rid the world of persistent landmines. [full story]



In Memoriam

With deep regret, PM/WRA notes the passing of a longstanding partner and mentor to countless young people, Mr. Douglas Kavanaugh, on May 17, at Sauvie Island near Portland, Oregon, where he lived on a houseboat. [full story]



PM/WRA "WAD" Team Project

Funded in part by PM/WRA, HALO Trust Weapons and Ammunition Disposal (WAD) teams are destroying an ever-increasing number of weapons munitions and bullets turned over by Angolan Armed Forces. On August 9, 2006, there were about 2,000 weapons available for destruction, and within 24 hours the Army brought in pallets of rifles bringing the total to about 6,000. By the end of the day 340 weapons had been destroyed and the FAA commander in Huambo had requested that HALO travel to Bie to assess WAD team engagement there. See the related "photo album".


The HALO Trust in Abkhazia
By Kurt Chesko, The HALO Trust

Tourists enjoy Abkhazia's sunny beaches and beautiful landscapes.  [Photo courtesy of Kurt Chesko, The HALO Trust]The 1992-93 secessionist conflict between Georgia and its Abkhazia region resulted in heavy mine-laying by both sides. A cease-fire agreement was signed in May 1994. After prolonged negotiations between HALO, the Georgian Government, and the de facto Abkhaz representatives, HALO launched its Abkhazia program in 1997. The Department of State has funded HALO demining operations in Abkhazia since 2001, providing $9.5 million in support of the program. HALO's program currently consists of 550 national staff and includes manual and mechanical demining assets.

The support of PM/WRA has enabled The HALO Trust to achieve significant results in Abkhazia. Under the most recently completed contract, PM/WRA-funded teams found and destroyed 1,265 anti-personnel mines, 10 anti-vehicle mines, and 187 items of unexploded ordnance. A total of 2,491,614 square meters (616 acres) of mine-contaminated land was The Kodori Valley remains one of the last regions requiring landmine clearance in Georgia's Abkhazia region. [Photo courtesy of Kurt Chesko, The HALO Trust]cleared and declared safe. In May of 2005, after seven years of demining, HALO completed operations in the Gali region of Abkhazia and declared it mine-impact free. During August 2005, HALO officially certified the clearance of the Gumista riverbank area of Abkhazia's capital city Sukhumi back to Abkhaz authorities. The Ochamchire region is expected to be certified as mine-impact free in early 2007.

The successful partnership between HALO and PM/WRA has enabled some 50,000 internally displaced persons to relocate to Gali without any mine incidents or accidents occurring. Additionally, tourists--Abkhazia's chief source of income before the conflict--are returning to the region's beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes. The cultivation of tea, maize, mandarins, and other fruits is also on the rise. As HALO winds down its operations in Abkhazia, demining teams will focus on the remaining mined areas in Sokhumi and the Kodori Valley. The HALO Trust aims to declare Abkhazia mine-impact free by the end of 2007.






PM/WRA Hosts Grants Workshop
By Elise Becker, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) hosted its first Grants Workshop on August 2-3, 2006, at the JW Marriot Hotel in Washington, DC. The workshop was attended by over 50 grantees from 31 PM/WRA-funded organizations. PM/WRA Director Richard Kidd and Deputy Directors Jim Lawrence, Colonel Stuart Harris, and Steve Costner provided opening remarks and an overview of the PM/WRA organization, mission, goals, and objectives.

The workshop provided attendees with an in-depth and practical look at the grants process: specifically, how to register at www.grants.gov and with the Health and Human Services Payment Management System, and the step-by-step process of completing the paperwork necessary to finalize grants. Grantees were also given guidance enabling them to prepare successful proposals. Chief of Resource Management Richard Stickels provided valuable information on ensuring that grant proposal goals and objectives are measurable and verifiable, proposals follow the provided format, and grantees submit quarterly budgets. Kathleen Monahan, Angela Jeffries, and Faustina Sackey of the Financial Management Team presented the grants process in its entirety. Deputy Assistant Secretary Ambassador Stephen Mull closed the first day; and PM/WRA Director Richard Kidd provided closing remarks the second day, followed by a discussion of the direction and future for mine action.

Grantee feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Landmines Blow! President Alison Bock said, "The workshop provided us with the information and materials necessary to successfully navigate our way through the entire grant process. It was invaluable to have people from various agencies and departments onsite to answer specific questions."

Martha Hathaway, Executive Director of Clear Path International, agreed: "I left with a much better grasp on the system, which I will need to navigate the two grants our organization received from the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement."

It was also an excellent opportunity for grantees to interact with each other and with Program Managers from PM/WRA. Program Manager Matt Murphy said of the workshop: "It provided me the opportunity to meet grantee representatives face-to-face, to discuss and resolve mutual concerns about existing grants, and to engage in discussion about Program Manager country needs and how prospective grantees might be able to formulate future proposals to address them."


Browne Academy Students Raise Funds for CHAMPS
By Kate Clute, Browne Academy


Brownie, mine-detecting dog.  [Photo courtesy of  Kimberly McCasland, Marshall Legacy Institute]Fellow teacher Kimberly McCue and I first learned about the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and its Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) from Mort Dukeheart, Head of School at the Browne Academy, in the spring of 2005. We agreed that Browne Academy, a K-12 independent school, would benefit from involvement with this unique service project and that we would start a school-wide campaign to raise awareness of the landmine crisis and funds for a mine-detecting dog. Thanks to support from the Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, MLI and the community, we raised $10,000 for a dog named "Brownie" last year, and we've started a new campaign. MLI found a grant for $5,000, so we only have $5,000 to raise to call Brownie our own mine-detecting dog.

CHAMPS has given our students a means to help other kids around the world live a safer life, and it taught them about an important issue facing the global community today. Children typically love dogs and are naturally curious to learn about children in other countries. CHAMPS promotes and engenders global citizenship, compassion for others and inspires action to make the world a safer place.

Kimberly and I, both lower-school teachers, overcoming our lack of experience with creating awareness and doing fundraising, planned a series of community dinners that we called "Chow Down for CHAMPS!" The dinners took place at three local restaurants, and each graciously agreed to donate a portion of all sales to the Browne Academy CHAMPS campaign. The dinners were a great time for families, students, and teachers to come together outside of school, while also supporting this important issue.

PM/WRA's Peggy Pope and Intern Gerard Lumban came to visit on March 24 and made a presentation to our students. Browne was honored with an invitation to a Capitol Hill luncheon saluting the CHAMPS program. A group of Browne student leaders were chosen to attend the luncheon and ceremony honoring Senator Enzi (R-WY) and his wife, Diana, for their leadership in bringing the CHAMPS program to Wyoming.

It has been a wonderful learning experience not only for Kimberly and me, but also for the students. Being part of the CHAMPS campaign at Browne this year has taught us a great deal about this important issue facing many countries throughout the world. We hope our efforts have resulted in an increased awareness about landmines throughout our community.



Grapes for Humanity Fundraisers
By James Lawrence, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement


L-R: Tony Aspler, Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing and Arlene Willis at the Grapes for Humanity fundraiser in Toronto. [Photo courtesy of  Tom Sandler, Tom Sandler Photography]In May, Grapes for Humanity, a Toronto-based charitable foundation, held an ambitious three-day fundraising effort for landmine victims in three cities. The guest of honor at all the events was Madame May-Elaine de Lencquesaing, proprietor of the renowned Bordeaux Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, who graciously supplied the wines for all the gala dinners. In addition to the dinners, live and silent auctions helped raise a grand total of $250,000.

The Polus Center was the recipient of the funds raised at the May 15 gala at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel. At this event, Sam and Esther Sarick were awarded Grapes for Humanity's Humanitarian Award. The Sarick's ongoing support for the Foundation actively expresses our mission statement: "Turning a passion for wine into the power to soothe a troubled world."

On May 17, the New York dinner was held at The Four Seasons Hotel to aid the Lao War Victims Medical Fund; on the following evening, the event was repeated at Washington's Four Seasons Hotel with proceeds going to Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped.

Grapes for Humanity's cofounder and President/CEO Arlene Willis was delighted by the generosity of the guests who attended the dinners: "It has been gratifying to be involved in these events. We were ecstatic that the dinners were so successful, and we were able to contribute significant dollars toward these three very deserving organizations. Our guests enjoyed the food, wine and auction, and were thrilled to be part of such an important cause."

Grapes for Humanity's next event is a dinner with Jean-Guillaume Prats of Cos d'Estournel in Toronto on November 2 (for details and donations see www.grapesforhumanity.com).


Clearing Landmines with Rotary
By Carol Edwina Andersen, Copenhagen International Rotary Club


L-R: Dr. Prakash Chandran [India], Rev. Wolfgang Jockusch [Germany], Carol Edwina Andersen [Denmark], Peggy E. Pope [USA], and Hitomi Hosono [Japan]. On the screen: Sally Mackle [USA]. [Photo courtesy of  Dr. Prakash Chandran]The atmosphere was that light-hearted, close, friendly feeling that one has at a family wedding. There we were, friends of all generations, touching hands, smiling, making eye-contact, happy. The evening sun sparkled on the Baltic Sea, a light breeze rustled trees in the manicured garden and friendly faces raised their glasses. People hugged one another and celebrated a successful, fruitful event. But the occasion was not a family event; it was the will to rid the world of persistent landmines.

Sandy Kaiser, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, graciously invited members of Rotarians for Mine Action (RMA) who were in Copenhagen for the Rotary International Convention, together with friends and supporters in the Danish community, to an unforgettable reception at her residence. We celebrated Rotarian and American commitment to raise awareness and funds for mine action. The evening capped off a day in which RMA, a group in which I am an active member, had just held an extremely productive seminar attended by representatives from 15 different countries, followed by a demonstration by Danminer Ltd., a Danish firm that trains dogs to detect landmines.

The nucleus of activity for RMA at the Rotary International Convention, June 11-14, was our stand in the convention hall. Twelve stalwart people from eight different countries had dedicated many hours of their time to spread the word about landmines and how Rotary Clubs around the world could get involved in mine action.
For four days, a constant stream of Rotarians from every corner of the globe visited, chatted, and hopefully went away a little wiser. Some told us about the projects they had in motion and the support that they were seeking. Others told us about the need in their particular country for landmine clearance and the hope that this could be done via Rotary. Many more gave us tips and information about projects and action groups all over the world working for the same ultimate aim--to clear landmines. As all of this information is collected and documented, a valuable databank is being populated. Members seeking details about all matters related to mine clearance, from names of demining groups to charities producing low-cost prosthetics, can draw upon these varied sources.

Thanks to these four days in Copenhagen, we could enjoy our reception in the sun--people of all ages, creeds, and colors, thinking back warmly about the good times we have just enjoyed with our new-found friends from all over the world. It was a magical hour. We discovered that we are a family.

And our RMA booth at the Rotary International Convention had become the spearhead of the worldwide movement of Rotarians to clear landmines.

Many thanks for sponsorship to the State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, particularly to Peggy Pope, Hydrema Ltd. and Mrs. Kaiser for opening her private residence to us on such a wonderful summer day.


In Memoriam

With deep regret, PM/WRA notes the passing of a longstanding partner and mentor to countless young people, Mr. Douglas Kavanaugh, on May 17, at Sauvie Island near Portland, Oregon, where he lived on a houseboat.

When we first contacted Doug early in 2001, he was the Coordinator for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program for all of the high schools in the Beaverton, Oregon School District. On his own initiative, he inspired his IB students, students outside of the program, and scores of fellow educators and parents--including some in the adjoining Portland School District and across the state line in Washington State--to become aware of the global landmine problem and to actually try to do something about it. As a result, a group of his students raised funds and "adopted" a minefield for clearance in Spean Youl village, in Chreay Seima commune in Cambodia, through the UNA-USA's Adopt-A-Minefield program, with Doug serving as their mentor.

Doug's initiative came to the attention of the national International Baccalaureate program in the United States, and at one point at least, support for mine action as a service learning tool was incorporated in their activities. Recently, Doug switched from his IB duties to working on a social studies program in his school district. We are sure that he was able to reach out and influence even more young people with his good humor, passion for life, innate teaching skills, and keen interest in the world around us. He will be sorely missed. 
 


U.S. Department of State Mine Action Partners

PM/WRA welcomes the International Eurasia Press Fund as our newest Mine Action Partner. Thank you for supporting mine action in Azerbaijan.

 

Adopt-A-Minefield | AVSI | Center for International Rehabilitation | Center for Teaching International Relations | Children of Armenia Fund | CIREC | Clear Path International | C King Associates | Cranfield University | DanChurchAid | DC Comics | Danish Demining Group | Freedom Fields | Global Care Unlimited | Golden West Humanitarian Foundation | Grapes for Humanity | HALO Trust | Handicap International - France | Health Volunteers Overseas | Humpty Dumpty Institute | HHI | International Eurasia Press Fund | Julia Burke Foundation | Kids First Vietnam | Landmine Survivors Network | Landmines Blow! | Lipscomb University | Marshall Legacy Institute | Medical Care Development International | Messiah College | Mine Action Information Center | Mines Advisory Group | Newsweek Education Program | One Sri Lanka Foundation | PeaceTrees Vietnam | People to People International | Polus Center | Prestige Health Care Technologies | Prosthetics Outreach Foundation | Roots of Peace | Rose Charities | Save the Children | SFLAG | Dr. Ken Rutherford/Missouri State University | Spirit of Soccer | Students Partnership Worldwide | Survey Action Center | United Nations Foundation | Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation | Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund | Warner Bros. | World Education | World Rehabilitation Fund



More Information

For more information on mine action initiatives, please contact:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement
2121 Virginia Ave. NW, Room 6100
Washington, DC 20522
Phone: (202) 663-0093
Fax: (202) 663-0090
E-mail:
SteveJE@state.gov

[Also see previous editions.]


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