Michael Newton – Deputy Programme Manager

On leaving the Royal Air Force in 2012, I undertook a Masters degree at Durham University during which I spent some months in Nepal, covering the reintegration and rehabilitation of former child soldiers. I realised then, that I wanted a career in the humanitarian sector. 

I joined HALO in January 2014, and was inducted with a thorough training course in Cambodia which equipped me well, and I was soon finding and destroying my first landmines.

In May the same year I took over as Location Manager in HALO Mozambique’s Chimoio headquarters. My first few months in Africa were eye opening and somewhat overwhelming. I was tasked with managing 500 staff and getting on with the job of clearing the densest minefields in Africa. Living and working in Mozambique was a life affirming experience; a difficult country to work in for any number of reasons but one which was extremely rewarding. The lifestyle was fantastic and it was easy to leave the stresses of work and the minefields behind and experience what Mozambique has to offer. Exposure to such a high yielding mine clearance programme put me in situations I never thought that I would have to experience, even in the military.

In August 2015 we cleared the last known minefield in Mozambique and I had the privilege of attending the 'mine free ceremony' with my staff and colleagues. It was a very special and admittedly emotional day for everyone involved. When news of a mine free Mozambique made it into mainstream media around the world it was clear that we had achieved something really special and were watching history unfold.

The very next day I flew to Somaliland to take up my current position as Deputy Programme Manager. Somaliland is an autonomous region in the north of Somalia and it couldn’t be more different to Mozambique. One of the perks of the job is being able to work in such varied and interesting places; some you perhaps wouldn’t go to otherwise. Working for HALO is hard work and not for the faint hearted but presents some great opportunities and unforgettable experiences.