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A&O Foundation announces support for fourteen charities

 

21 September 2017

​Hear how an A&O grant is helping reduce the risk of landmines in Myanmar, and see which new charities we’re supporting.

A&O’s head of operations in Myanmar, Win Ma Ma Aye, and Yangon associate Als Scrope, both visited southern Shan State in Myanmar earlier this summer to see how an A&O Foundation grant is helping the international landmine clearance charity MAG (Mines Advisory Group).

“Win and I travelled to the villages of Ho Nar and Don Mauk Ka Lan in Shan State,” Als explains, “where MAG are working to educate communities on the risks of landmines and unexploded ordinance (UXO). A&O’s grant has co-funded an eight-person team to work in the Shan State over the past year, providing risk education to over 1800 villagers.”

In Myanmar's four decades of conflict, landmines were planted by both the military and ‘ethnic armed organisations’.

MAG estimates over five million people are living in mine-contaminated townships in Myanmar – only Afghanistan and Colombia have been worse affected by the use of landmines.

MAG reduces risk through education

“The MAG team visit remote villages to track and monitor knowledge around mine risk, map the no-go areas with locals and educate both adults and children on the risks,” Als continues.

“It costs MAG USD2,000 to produce cartoon books on the dangers of landmines for school children – it’s sad that children still need to be educated about the dangers, but these are the only colouring books the children have and they’re excited to be given them.”

While MAG can deliver training and map out dangerous areas for villagers, currently only the Myanmar military is permitted to do the de-mining. 

“Unfortunately,” Win explains, “the parties involved in the conflict have little interest in tackling this until there is a peace treaty in place, as all of them have laid landmines. While the violence has ceased in many Shan State villages since the mid-90s, the conflict is on-going in other parts of the country and has been particularly bad in 2017. The nationwide Panglong Peace Conference isn’t expected to reach a conclusion for several years.”

The importance of MAG’s work

“Among the adults in the first session Win and I attended,” Als says, “were three men who told us about finding a big anti-tank mine when they were in their teens. They were with a group of a dozen boys playing in the forest, curious about the strange item they found. They brought it back to their monastery and started prodding it – six of the boys died in the following explosion.”

“MAG is doing such important work,” Win agrees, “and we felt very proud that A&O has been able to support MAG’s work in Myanmar and help the country cope with the problems caused by these terrible weapons.”

A&O’s latest round of global grants announced

MAG is just one recent recipient of a grant from the A&O Foundation, which is funded by contributions from A&O partners worldwide. The Foundation also gives grants to charities through local programmes in each of our offices to enable us to address priority issues in all the communities in which we are based. Mark Mansell, a partner in the London office, is a trustee of the A&O Foundation.

“Through the Global Grants Programme, we make donations once a year to charities that address our core themes of access to justice, education and employment. We also have a disaster relief fund that allows us to respond quickly to emergency appeals around the world – for example the famine in East Africa and the Red Cross Syria appeal.”

“In July this year,” Mark continues, “the Committee approved six new grants, and we renewed funding to eight charities whose projects are on-going.

“One of the new grants is to support Children in Crisis’ (CIC) work to rehabilitate young detainees at Kabul Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre in Afghanistan.

“CIC will do this by improving the children’s levels of education and resilience,” Mark continues, “which increases their chances of finding employment and overcoming the disadvantage and discrimination often faced by juveniles once released. This also ties in with a large pro bono project we are doing for CIC, alongside a team from one of our major clients.”

“Another project we are funding is for the UN Refugee Agency’s work protecting the human rights of displaced people. Specifically, our grant over three years will enable them to build a comprehensive database of case law relating to the rights of refugees and stateless people – an important tool for those working to protect their rights through judicial means.

“We’re also aiming to provide pro bono support from A&O lawyers on this project,” Mark explains, “something we offer all our global grants recipients. In fact last financial year, we delivered nearly GBP500,000 worth of pro bono volunteering to former and current grants recipients and individuals supported through those organisations.”

Full list of A&O Foundation global grants recipients:

New charities receiving funding:

  • Children in Crisis
  • Equal Education Law Centre
  • Legal Action Worldwide
  • Spark MicroGrants
  • UN Refugee Agency
  • International Care Ministries

Charities receiving repeat funding:

  • African Prisons Project           
  • Hope and Homes For Children
  • Plan International UK
  • Syria Relief
  • Motivation Charitable Trust
  • Hand in Hand International
  • Justice Without Borders
  • SOS Children’s Villages

Find out about the Global Grants Programme, including information about how to apply, or get in touch with Daisy Wakefield if you have questions.

 

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Global Grants Programme



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