March 10, 2006, First trip
From February 22 to March 7 2006, Artistic Director Morten
Traavik visited Luanda and the central provinces
of Malanje and Kwanza Sul to assess the conditions for implementation
of the Miss Landmine project. The outcome of this journey was crucial
for the further development of the project, as the realisation of Miss
Landmine both morally and practically will depend to a great extent on
the level of goodwill encountered among local authorities and –
not the least – the possible participants themselves: Angolan women
with landmine injuries.
The project was assisted by Norwegian People’s Aid’s Angola
Office, represented by outgoing Programme Manager (PM) Sigbjørn
Langvik and his successor Christian
Being able to make use of NPA’s extensive network of bases and personnel
on a local as well as national level, the project visited, among other
locations, NPA’s Base 1 in Malanje (Malanje province), and base
3 in Gabela (Kwanza Sul). In both these provinces the project was able
to meet with landmine survivors and discuss the project directly with
the people it is made for. The impression was that the candidates found
the concept very interesting and an opportunity of a lifetime for them
In Malanje, the project also met with the Provincial Governor, who gave
an official accreditation and support to the project.
CNIDAH and Provincial authorities
In Luanda the project got an audience at CNIDAH,
represented by the organisation’s President General Petroff, and
Landmine Victim Assistance Coordinator Maria
Magdalena de Sousa. They gave the project a
frank support and issued an official accreditation letter. This support
is vital for the continuation of the project. Several potential partners
asked for CNIDAH’s position and attitude, and were delighted by
the support demonstrated by such a important institution within mine action.
The project had visits with two embassies, the Norwegian Embassy and the
American Embassy (US DoS). The Norwegian Embassy awaits the receipt of
this mission report before stating officially their stand in the matter.
The American Embassy represented by USDoS representative, Mr Joel Viegert,
gave an imediate support to the project and foresaw support from the Embassy
or one of their agencies in one way or another. Mr. Viegert’s enthusiasm
and support was indeed motivating.
Other humanitarian actors
Furthermore, several foreign NGOs, among them UN’s World
Food Programme and Mine
Action Group (MAG) expressed their readiness
to assist the project.
Artistically, Luanda’s main theatre, Elinga Teatro represented by
Artistic Director José Mena Abrantes
agreed to co-produce the Miss Landmine performance through making their
rehearsal spaces and PR facilities in Luanda available for the project’s
planned rehearsal period in Luanda in November. Abrantes and Elinga Teatro
staged Henrik Ibsen’s “A doll house” in Luanda in 2005
with support from the Norwegian Embassy.
The level of local goodwill and enthusiasm has proved itself very high
and exceeded expectations. Among the landmine survivors themselves, all
of the 5 candidates encountered had no reservations whatsoever to take
part in the project, and expressed strong support for the project’s
goal of highlighting their situation in a new and different way. The project
encountered no reservations whether on a moral, cultural or gender-based
basis, even though we were careful to point out to the potential local,
national and international exposure Miss Landine might entail for its
Amongst mine victim stakeholders, international aid agencies and NGOs
the support was overwhelming considering the potential controversy in
the nature of the project. The team received a considerable amount of
constructive and new ideas how to develop the project further.
Furthermore, the encounters with officials and representatives of local
and national Angolan authorities also brought highly pleasant confirmations
of support and enthusiasm. If there is a time and a place to realize a
project like “Miss Landmine”, then it is Angola 2006.
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