The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI)

The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) was created in 1997 on the 50th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan by General (Ret.) Gordon R. Sullivan to extend the vision & legacy of Nobel Peace Laureate George C. Marshall by alleviating suffering and promoting hope, growth, and stability in war-torn countries. A major obstacle in many of these troubled countries is the lingering presence of landmines that remain buried in the ground long after wars have ended. Sadly, tens of millions of these hidden killers are in over 60 countries around the world. Thus, MLI's primary mission is to establish practical, affordable and sustainable indigenous programs to help severely mine-affected countries ri...
Aug 19, 2014

Mine Detection Dogs Saving Lives Around the World

MDD Country in Afghanistan
MDD Country in Afghanistan

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and our humanitarian programs.  Your support of our Mine Detection Dog (MDD) program through GlobalGiving has made a real difference in the lives of people living in mine-affected communities around the world.  One of the most effective tools for finding landmines are highly trained MDDs that are able to “sniff out” the landmines, which are often small, plastic, and buried in the ground. By expediting the rate at which land is cleared, the MDD teams not only save lives, but also positively impact the socio-economic growth of fragile post-conflict countries and the likelihood that these countries will remain at peace. In each country where MLI has developed an MDD capacity, the beneficiary countries have gone onto expand their MDD programs, recognizing the great value that they provide.

Over the past 17 years, MLI has provided 199 highly trained mine detection dogs to mine-affected countries around the world. Currently, MLI has 106 MDD teams actively working in Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. 

Your generous support of our Mine Detection Dog Program has helped us continue to expand our program in countries like Afghanistan, where we have donated 28 life-saving dogs.   Two of these dogs, MDDs Country and Spirit, are working with the Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA) and have spent the first half of 2014 searching mine-affected land in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, where demining is vital for reconstruction efforts, rehabilitation, and the peace and stability of the surrounding communities. Country, Spirit, and their MDD colleagues have searched over 94,356 m2, or 23.32 acres, of mine-affected land in the past few months! They have located dozens of landmines and unexploded ordnances, saving countless lives.  Indeed, in the past two years, MDD Country has located 83 landmines and 985 unexploded ordnance (UXO)! He also sniffed out 18,645 fragments of UXO and mines that were still contaminated by explosives and considered dangerous.  

Recently, DAFA assessed the socioeconomic impact of minefield clearing. Its findings show that local communities have already started using the cleared land for various purposes, which has significantly improved their social and economic status. The DAFA team interviewed many members of the impacted communities and were pleased to hear the overwhelmingly positive responses and appreciation for their demining efforts. For instance, the team interviewed Jumal Gul Khan, a community leader from the Tarilay Village, Rodat District, who answered the following questions:


1. Were the mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs) causing you problems before the demining process? If yes, what sort of problems?
Mines and ERWs were a big threat and a huge obstacle in our daily activities. We were unable to use our lands for cultivation, grazing of animals, or firewood collection. Even our children were in trouble while playing around the mine-contaminated areas.
2. Do you know who requested that the mines be cleared?
We collectively consulted to rescue our villagers from this hidden enemy in order to utilize our land to fulfill our economic needs, rather than leave the country and work as daily wage earners.
3. What difference, if any, will it make in your life when the clearance is completed?
After the clearance of our land from the threat of mines & ERWs, we will be able to cultivate our lands, graze our animals, and send our children to school or anywhere else without fearing for their safety; I could give you many other examples.
4. Can you give a specific example of a benefit that you expect? For example, how much money will you make from cultivating the land?
As you know, in Afghanistan many people depend on farming; agriculture allows Afghans to feed their family members; this is the biggest example of a benefit. […] Once my land is cleared, I will stop working as a porter and will return to working my own lands. Thus, I will no longer have to work for others, and all the income I generate will remain mine.

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Thanks to your continued support of our programs, MLI has been able to help people like Jumal and our dogs have been able to "sniff out" dangerous explosives and save and impact thousands of lives. Mine-safe land has brought peace and security to entire communities in countries like Afghanistan; parents no longer fear for their children as they walk to school, animals can graze freely, and more land is available for farming. Because of the generosity of caring, global citizens like you, entire communities are able to live in peace and security.

MDD Country searching for landmines
MDD Country searching for landmines
Jun 30, 2014

Helping Landmine Survivors in Yemen

Children in Yemen learn about landmines
Children in Yemen learn about landmines

      Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in the Marshall Legacy Institute's (MLI) humanitarian programs.  With your help, we are working to create a safer and better world for all people and animals.

     One of our programs, the Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS), not only connects children in mine-affected countries with youth in the United States, enabling them to communicate via video conference on a regular basis and expand their global citizenship, but the program also includes a service learning component that involves all of the children in mine-action.  In Yemen, CHAMPS youth receive Mine Risk Education (MRE) and then teach other children what landmines look like, why they are dangerous, and how to avoid them.  They also locate and befriend mine survivors and introduce them to American students, who then raise funds to help the survivors in a variety of ways. In the past year, MLI has provided mine risk education, psychological counseling, vocational training, and prosthetic limbs to dozens of landmine survivors in Yemen.  One of these survivors, Abdulfatah Mohammed, shares his story below.  

 
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                                               A Landmine Survivor's Story

 

Abdulfatah begins his story by invoking the following proverb: 

"When old people fight, it is the young who will be the victims."  

      "On a hot day in 2000, I was on my way to school, lagging behind my friends with my nose in a book to prepare for an exam later that day.  At the time, my village and the neighboring village where I attended school were fighting with each other, but despite the daily challenges of getting to and from school safely, I had dreams of becoming a doctor and I attended school enthusiastically with my friends.  But on that particular day, my foot landed on a buried mine and changed my life forever."

 

Abdulfatah now works at the Internet 
cafe established by MLI while he attends university

 

      Abdulfatah continues his story, explaining that his friends were too scared to move him, as they had already passed over the area where the mine exploded and were afraid that there were even more landmines lurking just out of sight in the ground.  Luckily, other people from the nearby village heard the explosion and rushed out to care for him, saving his life.  But although his life was saved, the mine's explosion damaged his right leg so severely that it needed to be amputated and resulted in him missing two years of school because he wasn't able to walk the 40 minutes to and from school each day.

       Today, nearly 14 years after his horrific accident, Abdulfatah is finally regaining hope for the future.  With the support of the U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), and in collaboration with the Yemen Association of Landmine Survivors (YALS), American children raised funds through CHAMPS that enabled a psychologist to speak with Abdulfatah and nineteen other landmine survivors about having patience with their disability, tactics to reintegrate into their communities, and ways to become economic contributors and providers for their households.  Abdulfatah recounts that, "during the Psychological Rehabilitation Training, I learned many lessons on how to face life with resolve and to continue high school.  I am now studying in the third level of my Trade & Finance College."

       Abdulfatah was also hired to manage the Internet café established by MLI in 2010, which enables him to have an income while he attends university.  Although it means a lot of work, he is determined to provide for himself and his family, so that he does not need to rely on others' aid.  He is very grateful to all of MLI's supporters who have helped him regain hope and lead an independent life.

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       Unfortunately, there are many landmine survivors like Abdulfatah in Yemen, but, with your help, MLI will continue to provide them with much needed support, including prosthetic limbs and other forms of medical assistance, vocational training, pyschological counseling, and mine risk education.  Thank you for your support of these vital projects.  We look forward to continuing to share with you how your generosity has made a positve impact on the lives of those living in mine-affected countries.

 

 

    

MLI provides prostheses to survivors in Yemen
MLI provides prostheses to survivors in Yemen
Children learn about each other through CHAMPS
Children learn about each other through CHAMPS
Many children are injured by landmines in Yemen
Many children are injured by landmines in Yemen

Links:

May 19, 2014

"Sniffing out" Landmines and Saving Lives

MDD and handler training in simulated mine-field
MDD and handler training in simulated mine-field

Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute and our humanitarian work.  Your generous support of our Mine Detection Dog Program on Global Giving is enabling us to provide even more dogs who are "sniffing out" landmines and saving lives all around the world.  We have donated 195 life-saving dogs to 11 countries, and just last year, our active dogs searched more than 3 million square meters of mine-affected land, or 750 acres!

In countries like Iraq, MLI has provided 12 Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to the Iraqi Mine & UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO) to search for landmines.  In just the past few months, these heroic dog teams searched 63,400 square meters, or approximately 15 acres, of mine-contaminated land near Basra. IMCO has embarked on a large, multi-phase project to clear 4 million square meters of land in the Shatt Al-Arab district, a district within the Basra Governate.  The district is at the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris River and is an important hub for business, transportation, and tourism, but in recent years, the industries have suffered as a result of the dangers posed by landmines in the area. This area also was historically home to the largest date palm forest in the world. In the mid-1970s, the region included 17 to 18 million date palms, an estimated one-fifth of the world's 90 million palm trees. But by 2002, war and the consequences of war, like landmines, had wiped out more than 14 million of the palms, and the remaining 3-4 million trees are now in very poor condition.  Thanks to the work of MLI's MDDs, this area is progressing towards becoming mine-safe, and the Iraqis are hopeful that this will not only allow the local economy to prosper, but that eventually the area will once again be home to millions of healthy date palm trees.  The dogs are saving countless lives and enabling people to farm on land that has been off-limits to them for years. 

Three weeks ago, MLI’s President, Perry Baltimore, visited IMCO and was able to spend some time with each of the MDDs and their handlers.  Perry was very impressed by the teams and spent time speaking with each handler, including Ali Naim, who said that he really enjoys being a dog handler and has become quite attached to his MDD.  He mentioned that he often brings his dog home with him to play with his young children and that the dog is incredibly friendly and well-behaved.  He said they also spend a lot of time continuing to train in IMCO’s simulated mine-field to ensure that they stay in peak condition for their field-work around Basra.  Perry was able to watch them train and was pleased to see how well the MDDs are able to quickly and accurately locate the presence of a mine’s explosive odor.  All of the dogs also clearly enjoys the work!

Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute and our humanitarian programs!  We are so pleased to be able to share with you the life-saving working being done by our MDDs around the world.   Thanks to your generosity, these incredible dogs are able to impact the lives of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children and are making the world a safer place for children to play, people to work, and communities to grow without fear of landmines.

MDD Team working in a mine-field near Basra
MDD Team working in a mine-field near Basra
MDD Team working in a mine-field
MDD Team working in a mine-field

Links:

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