HALO’s mine clearance in Afghanistan scores highest marks

An evaluation report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) on the UK Government Department for International Development’s (DFID) Bilateral Support to Growth and Livelihoods in Afghanistan was published on Friday 7th March 2014.

HALO’s DFID-funded Herat Demining Project, one of five long-term UK Aid projects reviewed in detail by the ICAI evaluators, achieved the highest score for each of the categories assessed – Objectives, Delivery, Impact and Learning -  and received specific praise in the report for responsiveness to requests by community representatives (eg prioritizing the demining of certain areas), a culturally sensitive approach to interacting with communities, and offers of employment opportunities to men in several villages.

The ICAI report explains that HALO’s project had "exceeded its first five year targets" showing "significant improvements to the lives of intended beneficiaries" when measured against HALO’s original aim of enabling increased legal livelihood opportunities for the poorest and most vulnerable communities through mine and UXO removal.

In 2007 the then British Secretary of State for Development, Douglas Alexander, visited Afghanistan and, having been briefed by HALO up-country in mined villages, allocated additional funding to HALO for a major expansion of its mine clearance work.  This funding enabled HALO to deploy a further 500 deminers.  At that time Herat was one of two provinces recording the highest number of mine/UXO casualties in the country.

In the first Five Year phase, 2008 – 2013, HALO cleared 55 square kilometres of minefield and battlefield across 14 of Herat’s 16 districts, estimating that 133,700 households benefitted from this work. The second Five Year funding phase, 2013 – 2018, aims to complete the clearance of all remaining recorded contamination in the province, and bring Herat to mine-impact-free status.

The full ICAI report DIFD’s Bilateral Support to Growth and Livelihoods in Afghanistan is available on the ICAI website.

Full news story below: