March 10, 2006, First trip to Angola
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.

Field Visits
The project was assisted by Norwegian People’s Aid’s Angola Office, represented by outgoing Programme Manager (PM)
Sigbjørn Langvik and his successor Christian Provoost.

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 if materialised.

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.

Humanitarian Agencies
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 in Angola
Furthermore, several foreign NGOs, among them UN’s
World Food Programme and Mine Action Group (MAG) expressed their readiness to assist the project.

Artistic partners
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 participants.

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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