BP ANGOLA has announced it has increased its financial grant to $6.1 million (£4.72m) over four years to support the work in Angola of British landmine clearance charity HALO Trust.
An additional $4.9m of funding has been agreed to bolster the $1.2m grant announced last year, as the pair widen their ambitions for the region.
The new funding will support HALO’s 100 Women in Demining project.
The initiative was launched in 2017 in recognition that rural women in Angola suffer disproportionately from poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunities.
The project clears minefields safety while empowering women through jobs, skills and training.
The new funding will support the employment of 130 staff, including at least 85 women in the western Angolan province of Benguela.
In total, the project aims to return 338 acres of land equivalent to 191 football pitches to local people for safe use and help remove the threat of landmines from the province by 2023.
The women in the project are recruited from communities affected by mines. In addition to providing the training, skills and support necessary for safely clearing land, the initiative will also train women to be medics and mechanics and provide skills development in logistics, finance and IT, giving them flexibility for future employment and career development within HALO.
Over the past 15 years, BP Angola has invested $100m in local communities and social initiatives.
Angola’s 27-year civil war ended in 2002, leaving behind one of the most-mined countries in the world.
Today, minefields cover 23,000 acres of land in Angola that could be used for farming or to build homes, schools and clinics.
Since 1994, HALO has cleared more than 880 minefields and 97,000 landmines in the country. Almost 1,200 suspected minefields remain to be cleared.
James Cowan, chief executive of the HALO Trust, said: “Together, HALO and BP have expanded their ambitions and now plan to clear 53 per cent of the remaining minefields in Benguela Province. The $6.1m grant is one of the largest corporate donations to humanitarian mine clearance ever made.”
The project will support the Angolan government’s goal to be mine-impact free by 2025, in line with its obligations to the Ottawa Landmine Treaty.