International Women's Day

The HALO Trust would like to celebrate and thank all our women working on HALO programmes around the world for their courage, tenacity and dedicated hard work in every area of our operations.  Their contribution to the dangerous work we do is immense: from the very many hundreds of female deminers, section leaders and team leaders to the international staff on the minefields; to all our skilled support staff keeping the programmes running smoothly.  We salute you all.


Alexandra is the longest serving woman employed with the HALO Trust.  She started work for The HALO Trust in 2000 as a Finance Assistant, a graduate in Business Management she is currently the Finance Manager for HALO and responsible for the management, reporting and audit of all HALO’s income and expenditure, FY 2013 circa $63m.  Based at HALO’s HQ, with assignments to  Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, Eritrea, Georgia, Kosovo, Mozambique, Nagorno Karabakh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, results in a wide appreciation of the regulations local finance officers face on a day-to-day basis.




Demining Team Supervisor, Maria Ilda da Piedade, is one of the most highly thought of supervisors working with HALO in Angola, giving a good example to the young female deminers that they too can achieve higher positions if they work hard.  Maria trained as deminer in September 2007 and has since undergone Section Commander, Supervisor and Explosive Ordnance Disposal training.  Maria works in Cuito Cuanavale - perhaps the most mined town in Africa - conducting demolitions on a daily basis she has destroyed thousands of mines during her career. Maria is a widow and her wages support her two young sons and the grandparents who look after them in Menongue.  Maria’s income provides an opportunity for her to pay for her boys to go to school and lays the groundwork for improved future opportunities for the family as Angola develops after 27 years of civil war.




Amelia Jorge Augusto, 22 years old, from Chimoio, Manica Province, joined HALO Mozambique in April 2013 after passing her deminer course. As one of the best deminers in her section, Amelia received further training and was promoted to a Paramedic. She is currently working on the border with Zimbabwe, one of the most dense minefields in the world, contributing to the clearance of up to 120 landmines a day. Amelia has one daughter who is 2.5 years old.









Faizila (40, right) & Shaima (38) can be seen working as part of HALOs DFID funded Livelihoods team in Mahal-e-Langar Village, Zenda Jan District, Herat Province last July.  Together with their husbands, they visit pre and post clearance communities and gather information on the negative effect that mines have had on each community.  Evidence of the positive effect mine clearance has had within the communities is developing by creating safe and secure environments and reducing poverty by increased job and agricultural opportunities are also gathered.  Here they can be seen conducting a focus group interview with the ladies of the Mahal-e-Langar Village.  Faizila, who has seven children, is the Livelihoods team leader and began work for HALO in July 2012.  Shaima, who is the mother of three children, joined HALO in January 2013.   Through the careful approach of using the culturally sensitive Livelihoods survey team HALO is able to access and interview the ladies of communities whose voices would otherwise continue to be ignored.




Nathalie Ochoa is Operations Officer at the HALO Trust Colombia.  Originally from Bogota, she studied political science and served as Regional Coordinator for the Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) in Colombia.  Since joining HALO three years ago, she has been a lead member of the team that launched HALO's civilian demining programme, the first of its kind in Latin America. She has trained survey and demining personnel and now supervises over 100 staff in the programme's operations in Antioquia Department. 





Mrs You Sokleang (45), Section Commander joined HALO Cambodia as a deminer in 2012. Before that, she ran a laundry service but was unable to make enough money to support her three children. She had heard about the dangers of mines and when she discovered that HALO was working near to where she lived in Anlong Veaeng she decided to apply. After successfully working for HALO for over a year she was promoted to the position of Section Commander in July 2013, and now supervises a nine-person team in Anlong Veaeng district. 







Khonsavanh Xayyasith indicates on a map where local villagers have identified cluster munitions contaminating their land to senior management prior to its safe destruction. Khonsavanh is a Survey Team Leader in charge of a team of five technicians, including three females, identifying cluster munition strikes in eastern Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR. Prior to joining HALO in May 2013 Khonsavanh, a single mother of two children, sold food in a local market trying to earn a steady wage. ‘HALO has allowed me to become more independent and dream that one day I can earn enough money to build a home for my children’. Khonsavanh is one of dozens of women currently working for HALO Laos that nearly a third of our staff.





Kanesan Kirushnaveni from Kilinochchi District, Sri Lanka, joined HALO in 2010 as a deminer and within one year was promoted to Section Commander. Three years on she became HALO’s first female Task Commander, meaning she is in charge of approximately 50 staff and is responsible for all operations on the minefield every day. With a family of 9, the salary she earns from HALO provides vital support in an area where there are few other employment opportunities for women.




Camille Wallen joined HALO in 2012 as the Projects Officer for HALO Sri Lanka. One of only three expatriate staff on a Programme of 1,200 national staff, she is responsible for collecting beneficiary and land-use information, monitoring the impact of HALO's clearance, and reporting to donors. Camille is one of over 300 women working in HALO's Sri Lanka programme.





Idil Suleiman Ahmed is the most senior female members of staff in HALO Somaliland. Idil started with HALO as a radio operator before moving on to become a mine risk education instructor and later to take over the role of Finance Manager. Since completing university in 2007 (enabled with HALO’s support) Idil has managed all financial aspects of the programme (with oversight from programme manager) which entails management of in-country expenditure for 6 different donor grants totalling an annual budget of over US $5 million.

Idil Suleiman Ahmed is the most senior female members of staff in HALO Somaliland. Idil started with HALO as a radio operator before moving on to become a mine risk education instructor and later to take over the role of Finance Manager. Since completing university in 2007 (enabled with HALO’s support) Idil has managed all financial aspects of the programme (with oversight from programme manager) which entails management of in-country expenditure for 6 different donor grants totalling an annual budget of over US $5 million.





Gala Danilova, a History & International Relations graduate, joined HALO Nagorno Karabakh in 2002 as a Mine Risk Education coordinator and she has risen to become the Programme Administrator, the most senior member of staff after the Programme Manager.

As well as running all administrative aspects of the programme Gala also visits the United States regularly to promote HALO’s work amongst the Armenian diaspora. On her visits, she speaks about HALO’s work to church and community groups: her passion for HALO’s work shines out at these events and has been a key factor in increased awareness of HALO’s work in the US Armenian community. Consequently, 2013 was HALO’s most successful year for fundraising from the Armenian diaspora to date.




Teuta Luma, 28 years old from village Gllobocica, municipality of Kacanik, started working for The HALO Trust in April 2006 as a deminer/paramedic. Teuta finished the elementary school in her village in Gllobocica and the medical high school in Tetove, in the FYR of Macedonia. Teuta holds a dual citizenship (Kosovan and Macedonian).

Teuta was 20 years old when she started working with HALO and she got married in October last year and now is expecting a baby. She is very happy with the work in HALO and is planning on returning to work after the maternity leave




Local to this village, leisure and Tourism student, 20-year-old Nino Khardziani is very passionate about joining the HALO Trust in Udabno BAC Project. Nino is confident that this entire operation is going to have the most positive impact for the safety of the nearby village. Also, the created jobs are of a great importance for Nino's struggling family as well as for the rest of the villagers, working for the HALO Trust.









Nina Khardziani said:

I believe that after clearing the area of the dangerous remains and explosives from the times of Soviet Union, this also will greatly contribute towards the development of the tourism in Davit Gareji and Ioane Natlismcemeli monastery areas as well as making the entire region safer.

HALO Georgia is currently training its first all-female Battle Area Clearance (BAC) team. Georgian society is very conservative about gender roles but when HALO started clearing unexploded ordnance from a former Soviet firing range near their village, some local women, from the Svan ethnic group, proposed that HALO formed a female team. The women were recruited at the end of February 2014 and training began on 3rd March. The women will begin work clearing ordnance from around the historic David Gareji monastery complex, a major site of pilgrimage for Georgian Orthodox Christians. There is little paid work in the area, especially for women, so the employment provided by HALO is particularly empowering for the women.