Jefferson County, West Virginia Since 2007, the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative (SHDI), an initiative of Schonstedt Instrument Company, Kearneysville, W. Va., has supported the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in its efforts to eradicate explosive remnants of war from countries around the world.
To date, 477 donated demining tools are at work in 27 countries. This project represents Schonstedt's open-ended commitment to humanitarian demining where it is most needed in the world. In recognition, and in addition to a permanent display of a Schonstedt demining tool at the United Nations (UN), a second magnetic locator unit is now featured in a recently opened exhibition in the Visitor's Center at UN Headquarters in New York City.
"This is our way of helping to rid the world of unseen explosives that maim and kill indiscriminately that keep people from moving freely about their villages, tending their crops or sending their children to school. It's one way we're able to do some good in the world," said Bob Ebberson, Program Manager at Schonstedt.
Seven years ago, in response to an unmet need for humanitarian demining among the world's underserved populations, Schonstedt reached out to the UN with an offer of assistance. It would provide free magnetic locators for use in areas of the world where demining would not otherwise be possible, but was desperately needed. UNMAS agreed to identity and prioritize those areas and facilitate deployment of the tools. For every magnetic locator purchased for donation to UNMAS, Schonstedt matches the donation, unit-for-unit.
The International Mine Action Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya was the first recipient of magnetic locators deployed as part of the SHDI program. Most recently, Schonstedt locators have been shipped to Mali and Afghanistan.