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  • Dominique Lavou is having a practical exercise of placing the ammunition for destruction (loading a furnace). Photo: UNMAS/Constantin Goundou
  • UNMAS women personnel during a practical capacity development learning exercise. Photo: UNMAS/Constantin Goundou

Developing Mine Action Capacity in the Central African Republic

The UNMAS programme in the Central African Republic (CAR) focuses on training security forces and encourages the professional development of its national personnel.

Since the establishment of the UNMAS programme in 2014, UNMAS took a proactive stance in supporting capacity development. This approach allows the programme to build a national expertise in the field of weapons and ammunition management (WAM) in the country.

Mine action expertise, particularly WAM and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) expertise, is limited. UNMAS focuses on developing the strength and sustainability of its programme by engaging in short- and long-term capacity-building of its national workforce. The strategy aims to recruit national personnel with some knowledge and then provide them with the necessary skills through coaching, specialized training and on-the-job experience.

Men and Women

In support of the United Nations Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes, UNMAS promotes the equal rights of men and women by emphasizing the need for gender inclusion. Women make up 42% of UNMAS personnel in CAR.

Developing Capacity

Upon arrival, specialized development plans are established, ensuring that each incumbent acquires the required technical knowledge in the field of mine action.  As a result, Asnath Konate, Louisa Nambona and Joelle Pipa-Leka were awarded with certificates of completion in weapons and ammunition management (WAM) and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). Asnath Konate was the first Central African woman to become EOD level 3 qualified. The capacity-building of national staff in such a technical field of expertise contributes to the sustainability of mine action’s activities conducted by UNMAS in CAR. 

Looking Ahead

The challenges that remain are the lack of financial resources for the specialized training and finding the opportunity for the trained personnel to acquire the necessary operational immersion experiences through field operations of other UNMAS programmes with different mandates. UNMAS in CAR remains committed to supporting the development of national personnel, so they can pursue a successful career in mine action.