Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

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My summer as an intern with Danish Demining Group

by Chris Murguia

Eds: Chris Murguia was a CISR editorial assistant from 2011-2012.

This summer I had the opportunity to spend eight weeks with Danish Demining Group (DDG) in Juba, South Sudan as a Monitoring & Evaluation Intern. DDG is a nongovernmental organization that provides humanitarian mine action and armed violence reduction (AVR) services across the globe. I obtained the internship through a partnership formed between DDG, James Madison University’s Master of Public Administration program and the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery.

During my time with DDG, I worked in the AVR unit. DDG’s AVR program takes a holistic approach to solving the issue of armed violence by providing beneficiaries with conflict-management skills, increasing security provision and enhancing local institutions’ abilities to control weapons proliferation. My primary responsibility as an intern was to conduct an evaluation of an AVR project in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. This involved making trips to field sites, conducting focus-group discussions with beneficiaries, interviewing DDG AVR staff and ultimately producing a report for the organization. In addition to the evaluation, I also analyzed survey data, carried out desk-based research and participated in impact-monitoring workshops.

In my free time, I often left the compound to explore Juba. I shopped in crowded markets, ate dinner on the Nile and attended a landmine survivors’ basketball game. My most memorable experience was attending South Sudan’s one-year independence anniversary celebration. It was amazing to see tens of thousands of people converge in one place and celebrate the independence of the world’s newest country.

Interning with DDG was one of the most challenging periods of my life but also a great learning experience. I learned the ins and outs of the international humanitarian sector and the difficulties associated with conducting research in a post-conflict setting. Overall, interning with DDG was an experience that I will never forget, and if I could, I would do it all over again.

Photo: ECHO

Libya face a significant threat from explosive remnants of the recent conflict. The Libyans are rising to the challenge with the help of the Deming Unit of the Danish Refugee Council, Danish Deming Group.

The conflict in Libya is over, but families are still suffering from its effects. The Danish Demining Group, DDG, has worked in and around Sirte since November 2011. The main focus of the operation has been to capacity build national staff as well as conducting impact survey and emergency clearance of explosive remnants of war.

“Libya and not least the city of Sirte face a significant threat from explosive remnants of war. Unexploded and abandoned ordnances, ammunition, cluster munitions pose a high risk to the safety of the population. The high number of small arms and light weapons further adds to the problems,” says Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen, head of DDG.

So far DDG has successfully completed more than 1.000 emergency spot tasks and cleared more than 50% of the schools in Sirte. In addition more than 50 houses have been cleared from unexploded ordnances.

“Our goal is to build a national mine clearance structure and expertise that on the short term will be able to clear the immediate threat from unexploded ordnances and in the longer run support the reconstruction work in the country,” says Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen.

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and DDG are to continue implementing emergency tasks at its current locations as well as support the Libyan Mine Action Centre in coordinating the mine action activities in other parts of Libya. In addition DDG/DRC will look at addressing the problem caused by the high number of small arms weapons and unemployment following the fighting in 2011.

DDG in Libya is funded by European Commission’s Department of Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), DANIDA and G. & E. Honorés Fond.