MAG (Mines Advisory Group) is a neutral and impartial humanitarian organisation, registered as a charitable company in the UK and co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. MAG reclaims land contaminated with the remnants of conflict, finds ways to reduce the daily risk of death or injury for civilians, and creates safe and secure conditions for development, free from armed violence.
MAG has been operational in Lao PDR since 1994, currently conducting Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) clearance in two of the most heavily contaminated provinces in the country, Xieng Khouang and Khammouane. MAG also works hard to build national capacity to manage the UXO problem through the facilitation of comprehensive training for Laos nationals and provision of funding support for national UXO agencies.
What do they do?
Lao PDR has the unenviable record of being the most bombed country in the world per capita with 2.3 million tons of ammunition dropped during the 2nd Indochina War. A total of 270 million cluster munitions were dropped during the 580,000 bombing missions conducted over the country and it is estimated that at least 30% (80 million) did not detonate on impact.
UXO contamination still affects more than 25 per cent of Lao villages, killing and injuring more than 2,000 people from 1999 to 2004. It is a major threat to human security and is also a key cause of poverty, limiting the country’s long-term development.
From 2004 to February 2013, MAG has cleared more than 40 million m² of contaminated land in Lao PDR, destroying over 175,000 items of UXO. As a result, 475,831 beneficiaries gained more safe land for farming, access to clean drinking water, latrines, irrigation for rice cropping, safe school compounds and road access.
In order to develop a clear understanding of the problems faced by conflict-affected communities, MAG carries out Risk Education sessions, delivering tailored safety messages to those most under threat i.e.: how to recognise commonly found remnants of conflict; what to do in an emergency, etc.
MAG gives jobs to those most in need, investing in training and employing staff from the local population in order to build a robust and sustainable national workforce. MAG currently has 370 members of staff in-country, 98% of these are Lao nationals.
How can you help?
Pay a visit to MAG’s Visitor Information Centre in Xieng Khouang where there is extensive information about UXO and a purpose-built cinema with daily screenings of films concerning MAG’s work. MAG merchandise (tee shirts, hats and other memorabilia directly supporting their activities) is available for sale with all proceeds going directly towards funding MAG’s work in Laos.
MAG can provide a tailored presentation to groups providing an in-depth understanding of one of the main issues affecting Laos.
Your donation directly benefits their needs:
- US$ 22 help MAG deliver a Risk Education session, teaching people about the dangers of UXO.
- US$ 45 help MAG clear 20m² of UXO contaminated land, transforming it into a safe resource.
- US$ 70 sponsor three fully trained and equipped de-miners locating and destroying UXO items for one day.
- US$ 100 equip Community Liaison team members with vital survey equipment.
- US$ 180 help MAG clear 80m² of UXO contaminated land, transforming it into a safe resource.
- US$ 500 purchase electronic detonators required for safe demolition of UXO items.