APOPO Hosts Meeting to Elevate Mine Action Standards in Zimbabwe

The HMA Technical Working Group meeting on Quality Management Systems discussed the latest practices, challenges, and future plans to enhance mine action standards in Zimbabwe.

The most recent HMA Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting, held on May 30th and hosted by APOPO, brought together prominent stakeholders in the mine action sector in Zimbabwe to tackle the critical issue of Quality Management Systems (QMS). This essential forum, in which APOPO Zimbabwe was supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA), provided a platform for discussing innovative practices, addressing challenges, and shaping the future of mine action in Zimbabwe.

TWG meetings are held regularly and hosted by the HMA Operators in Zimbabwe, and they have been an essential forum for openly discussing challenges, sharing lessons learned, presenting new technologies and methodologies, and discussing standards. The working relationship between the HMA Operators and the Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre (ZIMAC) has been good, and regular meetings take place once or twice every quarter.

The recent TWG meeting was attended by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Mine Advisory Group (MAG), National Mine Clearance Unit (NMCU), and ZIMAC, focused on QMS. Unfortunately, HALO Trust was unable to attend but will host the next meeting scheduled for August. The agenda included organizational briefings on current quality management practices, discussing terms and definitions, recording QM activities, and identifying challenges compared to NMAS and IMAS.

APOPO Program Manager for Zimbabwe, Mikael Bold an advocate for Quality Management Systems

Speaking about the aims of the meeting, Mikael Bold, the APOPO Zimbabwe Program Manager, said, “Quality Management is essential to ensuring that our operations are safe, effective, and compliant with both national and international standards. It is a continuous process of improvement that adapts to new challenges and opportunities.”

Quality Management in Mine Action

Quality management in mine action relies on applying simple principles consistently across an organization’s activities. Continuous monitoring and commitment to improvement are vital for maintaining high-quality standards. Revising and updating National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) ensures that Zimbabwe’s mine action sector remains efficient and compliant with evolving technologies and regulatory requirements.

The mine action sector has evolved over the last few years, and now more extensively incorporates significant risk management principles. Additionally, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management, which involves identifying, evaluating, and controlling hazards, ensures a safe working environment and regulatory compliance for everyone working in the mine action sector. A robust OHS and risk management system enhances employee well-being and maintains compliance with relevant regulations, contributing to the overall effectiveness of mine action operations.

The Role of the National Mine Action Authority of Zimbabwe

The National Mine Action Authority of Zimbabwe (NAMAAZ) was established in 2000 under the Ministry of Defense to coordinate policy matters relating to mine action. NAMAAZ ensures that Zimbabwe adheres to its commitments under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), which the country ratified in 1999. ZIMAC, operating under NAMAAZ, is responsible for managing and coordinating all mine action activities across Zimbabwe.

ZIMAC oversees the removal and destruction of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERWs), provides Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE), provides Victim Assistance (VA), and advocates for mine action. These activities adhere to the Zimbabwe National Mine Action Standards (ZNMAS) and the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). By ensuring compliance with these standards, ZIMAC and valued partners including APOPO contribute to the safety and well-being of communities across Zimbabwe.

Acknowledgments and Future Meetings

APOPO extends its gratitude to WRA for their continued support, which facilitated the successful chairing and hosting of the TWG meeting on QMS. This ongoing support is crucial for the continuous improvement and effectiveness of mine action in Zimbabwe. Looking ahead, HALO Trust is due to host the next TWG meeting in August, where further discussions on quality management and other critical issues will continue.


APOPO Mine Action Zimbabwe is incredibly grateful to all our dedicated partners and donors.