On the 27th September 2019, Prince Harry visited HALO’s programme in Angola where he destroyed the first landmine in a $60 million project to clear mines from two national parks. The visit marked the start of an initiative that will help safeguard one of Africa's last great wilderness areas.
The Duke of Sussex, Dirico, Angola
In the year since, HALO has cleared the three minefields around the town of Dirico that was visited by Prince Harry and has begun the process of training its staff as supervisors so they can oversee a large growth in deminers to clear mines from the Longa-Mavinga and Luengue-Luiana national parks in Cuando Cubango Province.
In addition to the Government of Angola's funding to clear the two national parks, HALO is engaging with private donors, corporations and foundations who can support the clearance of the wider watershed that feeds the Okavango Delta and Kavango Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).
To meet the needs of this ambitious project, we have been recruiting and training local men and women to clear the landmines across southeast Angola, providing opportunities in a region where jobs are scarce. This will triple our number of Angolan staff to over 1,200 men and women in the next year or so. HALO plans will see 40-50 newly trained deminers qualify every month for ten months. This will not only meet the needs for clearing the national parks, but will provide for the expansion being funded by donors such as the US State Department, BP and the UK Government.
HALO is starting work to clear three minefields around the isolated settlement of Longa, where the mines restrict the safe access of the community to water. HALO has also undertaken survey work around the community of Tempué near the source lakes that feed the watershed.
HALO's partner, the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project, is working on plans and permission to build a research, conservation education and training centre close to the village of Tempué. This “Conservation Development Node” will include researcher accommodation, basic healthcare facilities, tree nurseries, and conservation agriculture test plots to support local food security. In addition the Project plans to refurbish the Tempué clinic and town hall which will be used as a an additional training centre to the project’s efforts to build local capacity.
HALO has undertaken surveys of the site and will complete clearance around the airstrip and village before construction begins.