In the village of Dabogoryaale on the Somaliland-Ethiopia border the village school is flanked on two sides by minefields - forcing children to pass close to danger every day. Thousands of landmines were laid in the village during the Border Wars of the 1960s and 70s and the civil war that followed. Families have lived in fear ever since.
The presence of landmines not only threatens the lives of the largely pastoral and rural communities who call this home, it also stops the region from developing. Vital water sources are cut off, valuable livestock are being killed and trade routes are restricted.
The border region may be remote, but it is the starting point for Somaliland's most valuable export. Livestock is transported across from Ethiopia, through Somaliland, to Berbera Port.
Dabogoryaale village is split in half by the border. On the Somaliland side, where HALO began a third phase to clear the landmines in 2018, life is improving. But, to date, HALO has not had access to the minefields on the Ethiopian side of the village.
For families living just metres apart, the danger remains. Every day, children cross through the minefield to go to school. The mine line runs directly in-front of the school house and the mother and baby unit.
Six people have been injured by the landmines and hundreds of camels and goats have been killed - destroying livelihoods.
HALO has worked in Somaliland since 1999, clearing minefields and battlefields across the capital, Hargeisa, and the surrounding area. But in the borderlands, the danger remains.
We have therefore launched an ambitious three year, multi-donor project to clear the border minefields once and for all, taking a regional approach that will benefit both Somaliland and Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa as a whole.
HALO will train and employ local men and women to clear the landmines on the border, creating job opportunities where they are scarce.
This project will be complimentary to work that is already going on to develop the Berbera Corridor and Port. The road is being rebuilt and over $440 million USD has been invested in Berbera Port with the vision of making it a trading hub for the Horn of Africa. Clearing the minefields on the border is a fundamental step, to both protect lives and build a more prosperous future for the region.
"Livestock is the only form of hard currency in Somaliland. In one month, over one million sheep and goats were exported." Dr. Ahmed Abdilahi Ismail, Regional Coordinator, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.
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