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Proud to clear lands for communities

Explosive weapons

Mawj Maad JarAllah joined the Humanity & Inclusion clearance team in Salah al Din, Iraq, earlier this year. She shares what motivates her work.

© N. Mandalawi / HI

To make a difference for my country

In March, I started a new chapter in my life when I became a deminer with Humanity & Inclusion. I already had experience in working in humanitarian mine action, as I delivered explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) sessions to communities.

I want to make my community safer. And I want to have a great impact by participating in actual clearance operations. I am also directly concerned by the issue of contamination: one of my relatives lost a leg after stepping on an explosive ordnance a few years ago. I heard numerous stories of children affected by similar incidents during my sessions on risk education. These encounters deeply affected me and served as a powerful motivation to choose this path.

Overcoming gender stereotypes

I did not hesitate to join the male-dominated field of demining. I initially faced some resistance from some male colleagues, which was not surprising considering the cultural norms that prevail. But as the fieldwork started, the team dynamics changed and a strong camaraderie developed.

Through the daily clearance operations, I locate various explosive ordnance and isolate them. They will be handled by the team leader. During the summer months, the work under the open sun is challenging due to high temperatures.

Here, clearance operations are vital to the farmers who own but cannot use the contaminated agricultural lands, as well as to the children who may accidentally play in the hazardous areas.    

Despite the high-risk nature of my work, I never feel scared or anxious. I love my job, the daily accomplishments it brings, and the opportunity to develop my skills. The most gratifying moment is when we complete a clearance area and move on to a new land. It is a significant achievement.

My family has been incredibly supportive when I decided to become a deminer. I am highly motivated to prove that women are just as capable as men in clearance operations. I am proud to work as a deminer and actively encourage female friends to pursue similar careers.

Clearance operations in Iraq

In Iraq, Humanity & Inclusion is conducting land release operations in Baiji, Salah al Din governorate, and Kirkuk, Iraq, generously supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Date published: 08/28/23


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