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...
Jan 16, 2014

Sniffing out landmines in Afghanistan

MDD Abrams searching for mines
MDD Abrams searching for mines

Over the past seven years, the Marshall Legacy Institute has donated 28 life-saving Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to four indigenous demining organizations in Afghanistan.  One of these organizations, the Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC), recently submitted a report to MLI detailing the great work being done by MDDs Abrams, Stryker, and Toby,who searched more than 102,000 square meters (25 acres) of mine-contaminated land in 2013!  ATC reports that the MDDs have directly impacted the lives of 3,207 families, or 22,005 individuals since the beginning of 2013. 

 
Mohammad Khalid lives in one of the communities that was recently searched by the MDDs and is very appreciative of the work done by Abrams, Stryker, and Toby.  In an interview with the ATC, he described the impact landmines have had on his community:  
 
"Mines were laid in our community and in the surrounding areas by the ex communist regime, and during the civil war by Mujahidin to protect Kabul city against the attack of opposition groups. The existence of mines in the area caused all of us a lot of difficulties.  A man was killed, and we have lost several sheep and goats to landmine explosions, as well; additionally, a tractor vehicle was seriously damaged. We could not graze our livestock in these areas and were not able to collect bushes or wood for making fire. Moreover, accessing construction materials found in this area was impossible.   

"Clearing these areas was a very high priority for our community, so local representatives asked that they be cleared as soon as possible.  After clearance we have enjoyed a big change in our lives. It is a great example of the outcomes from mine clearance, as we now have full access to the cleared lands, and we are able to use them for the aforesaid purposes without fear or concern. The cleared lands are a major source of income for our families." 
                                                                                                                    -- Mohammad Khalid

Thank you for your continued support of the Marshall Legacy Institute's
Mine Detection Dog Partnership Programs around the world! By donating
to our project on Global Giving, you have truly made a difference in the lives
of thousands of people. We wish you peace and happiness in the New Year,
and hope we can count on your support in 2014! 


MDD Toby searching for mines in Afghanistan
MDD Toby searching for mines in Afghanistan
MDD Toby
MDD Toby
MDD Stryker locates a landmine
MDD Stryker locates a landmine

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Oct 15, 2013

MLI Celebrates the 2013 Mine Detection Dog Team of the Year

MDD Dexter and Mansur in the field
MDD Dexter and Mansur in the field

Last week, on October 9, 2013, the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) celebrated its 16th anniversary by holding its annual Clearing the Path Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC.  Nearly 300 guests helped MLI honor leaders whose extraordinary efforts have improved lives in war-torn countries.  One of these honorees was MLI's Mine Detection Dog (MDD) Team of the Year and MLI was very pleased to be able to recognize the incredible work of MDD Dexter and his handler, Mansur Aslanov. This incredible team has been working together since 2006, searching more than 1 million square meters of mine-affected land in Azerbaijan and saving countless lives.  

Each year, MLI's partner organizations in mine-affected countries nominate mine detection dog teams that not only have worked very hard to locate landmines, but that also have a special human/dog bond that makes them unique. This year the competition was very stiff, with nominations from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Sri Lanka.  Each dog team had its own impressive story, such as MDD Tornado and his handler in Lebanon, who located a booby-trapped landmine that was hidden next to a village and could have killed many children.  Ultimately, though, MLI selected MDD Dexter and Mansur from Azerbaijan because of the sheer quantity of land they had searched, the number of mines they had located, and the stories that clearly demonstrated their strong bond and love for each other.

MDD Dexter and Mansur work with the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA), which told MLI that they had nominated this particular team because, “MDD Dexter is one of the best MDDs that ANAMA has ever had since the establishment of the MDD program, and we hope that we will benefit from this team’s outstanding performance for as long as possible, before MDD Dexter goes to his well-deserved retirement.  Dexter has saved many lives by finding explosive ammunitions in the areas that he has searched.  He has never missed a mine!”

According to ANAMA, “In the minefield, Dexter and Mansur are the best team ever. Mansur has such a great confidence in Dexter, and that trust motivates other mine detection dog teams to work harder and build such a relationship. Mansur loves his dog so much and takes good care of him, and Dexter returns that love by being Mansur’s best friend.” 

Thanks to your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute's Mine Detection Dog program, dogs like MDD Dexter are able to search millions of square meters of mine-affected land and save countless lives. MLI was so pleased to be able to honor this great MDD Team at our 2013 Clearing the Path Gala!

MDD Dexter and Mansur
MDD Dexter and Mansur
MDD Dexter and Mansur search for mines
MDD Dexter and Mansur search for mines

Links:

Oct 15, 2013

Survivors' Assistance Update in Iraq

Ms Hassan standing on her new leg for the 1st time
Ms Hassan standing on her new leg for the 1st time

      Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute's (MLI) Survivors' Assistance programs around the world.  Our largest program assisting survivors is the Partnership for Iraq (PFI) program, which is a public-private partnership program that is helping the tens of thousands of landmine survivors who are living in and around Basra, Iraq.  With matching funds from the U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), MLI has partnered with IMCO and the POLUS Center to create a unique and centralized system to: 1) provide vocational training and medical assistance for survivors in a new facility, 2) provide specialized training and equipment for Iraqi doctors so that they will be able to better assist mine survivors, and 3) create a national registration list for mine survivors, so that their needs can be better assessed and met.

     Last May, MLI's Vice President of Children's Programs and Survivors' Assistance, Kimberly McCasland, visited the PFI's headquarters in Basra, Iraq to monitor the program's progress. Though the region continues to be quite dangerous and there were several bombings in Basra during the visit that limited her mobility, she was able to visit the Basra Rehabilitation Center (BRC) and met with 20 male landmine survivors who were attending the Air Conditioning Vocational Rehabilitation Course, as well as a beautiful young woman named Iman Hassan. 

          While visiting, Kimberly learned of the terrible accident that occured when Ms. Hassan stepped on a landmine as a toddler.  The explosion caused her to lose one of her legs up to the hip, and though she received emergency treatment for her injuries, she had never received a prosthetic limb, and so had been forced to use crutches to move around since a very young age.  When Kimberly asked the doctors at the BRC if we could help get Ms. Hassan a prosthetic leg, they explained that it was impossible and that they were not capable of making a prosthetic limb for someone with such extreme limb loss. 

            As part of the PFI program, MLI has been partnering with doctors from the POLUS Center, who are training Iraqi doctors in new techniques to treat mine survivors.  One of the POLUS doctors, Dr. Dave Evans, was with Kimberly when she was speaking with the BRC doctors and he excitedly assured everyone that he could, in fact, find a way to provide a prosthetic limb for Ms. Hassan.  He examined Ms. Hassan and, despite doubts from the doctors and technicians at the BRC, he was positive that he could help.

            Over the course of the next month, Ms. Hassan was accompanied by Ms. Gaida, the PFI Manager and IMCO's CHAMPS manager, for each of her appointments with Dr. Evans and the BRC doctors. During that time, Dr. Evans not only built her a prosthetic device that enabled her to walk on her own for the first time since she was a toddler, but he was also able to teach the doctors and technicians at the BRC how they could incorporate this new hip and leg prosthesis technology so they could help additional survivors!

            Because of your support for MLI's Survivors' Assistance programs, this young woman is able to walk without crutches for the first time in her memory.  She has also enrolled in the PFI's Vocational Rehabilitation Center's programs and is taking a computer class.  Now that she has so much more mobility, she hopes to receive advanced computer training over the next year so that she can begin teaching computer courses to others!  Her new leg has given her a new sense of hope for the future and she is so grateful to everyone who has made this possible.

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