First graduation ceremony for 28 female deminers in Sudan
After a month-long training, the first batch of 28 young women graduated in basic humanitarian demining, joining only one other female deminer in Sudan.
The successful completion of the training is an unprecedented achievement for both mine action and Sudan and was celebrated at a graduation ceremony organized by UNMAS and the National Mine Action Center (NMAC) of Sudan, at the training center in the outskirt of Khartoum.
After a demonstration of their newly acquired skills, the young women were excited to receive their certificates in the presence of DSRSG/RC/HC Khardiata Lo’Ndiaye and representatives of UNMAS and NMAC.
“In Sudan, we have seen many dedicated women and men deliver life-saving risk education to community members at risk of explosive hazards, assist victims of mines and UXO (unexploded ordnance) accidents, and advocate stronger mine action at national and international stages. Yet, it was only recently that we saw the first Sudanese female deminer (Ekram Abakar Juma from South Kordofan). Today, we have twenty-eight more to join her” said Sediq Rashid, Chief of the Mine Action Programme in Sudan.
“Demining is extremely rewarding but also perilous work. […] While I am most certain that the training has prepared you for safe and efficient operations in the field, […] I highly admire your courage and commitment. I also want to extend my appreciation to your family and friends who have understood and supported your decision and ambition to pursue a career as deminers. […] I am committed to continuing the efforts to train more female deminers and truly hope many more will follow your footsteps” he added.
According to the Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022, over half of those affected by mine contamination are women. As a first group of female deminers, the graduates are joining a force of powerful Sudanese women who are fighting for their rights every day and carrying an important responsibility to continue to pave the road to gender-inclusive peace.
“This ceremony marks a special milestone not only for mine action, which is progressively including more women in its family, but also for the ongoing peace and peacebuilding processes in Sudan” said DSRSG/RC/HC Khardiata Lo’Ndiaye to the young women.
“As highlighted in the Juba Peace Agreement and the UNITAMS mandate, fighting the enduring impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war is an integral part of the peace process in Sudan. As deminers, your work will constitute a critical part of the peacebuilding work of your country”, she added, congratulating the newly graduates.
UNMAS supports the Sudan National Mine Action Center (NMAC) in building institutional capacity to meet Sudan’s obligation under Article 5 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (‘Ottawa Treaty’), to make its territory mine-free by April 2023, and to provide humanitarian mine action. In coordination with NMAC, it ensures mine action activities are coordinated to support humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding needs. UNMAS also provides technical advice and training for NMAC and national mine action NGOs.