The year 2019 encompassed a breakthrough for the Mine Action Program of Afghanistan (MAPA) and sent waves of awe and inspiration across the world; Afghanistan’s first female demining team, composed of brave, determined, and skillful women, was nominated for the 2019 Arms Control Persons of the year award.
Each year, the Arms Control Association nominates individuals and groups for the award. This year, 10 individuals and groups, signifying exceptional leadership, innovation, and contribution in advancing effective arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament solutions for the threats posed by mass casualty weapons were nominated. The voting was online and individuals from over 100 countries participated to showcase their support for the nominees.
Areg Danagoulian and his colleagues at MIT won the award for developing an innovative new nuclear disarmament verification process using neutron beams. Afghanistan’s first female demining team was recognized as runners-up for its extraordinary achievement in clearing lands contaminated by explosive ordnances in Bamyan province. The feat is significant in its evident mark on the pathway to empowerment and rendering the widely accepted stereotypes associated with women in Afghanistan. This is something the MAPA will continue to build on in its journey to seeing Afghanistan free from contamination of explosive ordnances, and enabling the safety of Afghans while contributing significantly to the socio-economic prosperity of the country.
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