From 7 to 12 September 2020 – The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) co-organised the Regional Training on Quality Management in Mine Action. The training was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office through GICHD. As a ramification of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the training was conducted in a virtual format.
With twenty trainees from the ASEAN region, the training aimed to provide theoretical and practical knowledge on how to implement the Mine Action project cycle for better results through improved quality. The participants expressed interest in areas such as improving their understanding of information management, using priority setting techniques for work plans, and managing risk in mine action.
The training included lessons which consist of extensive discussions of a wide range of topics revolving around quality management in mine action such as (i) Quality Management and Land Release Overview; (ii) Key Quality Management Principles; (iii) Quality Planning of Non-Technical Survey, Technical Survey and Clearance; (iv) Mechanical Demining Operations and Quality Management; (v) Quality Assurance; (vi) Quality Control; (vii) Accreditation, Testing and Evaluation of Mine Action Staff and Equipment; and (viii) Application Changes in Mine Action Organisations.
The training was mainly delivered by Mr. Yuri Shahramanyan, Advisor on Operational Efficiency at GICHD. He began with introductory topics including land release, which involves the identification of hazardous areas, the cancellation of land through non-technical survey, the reduction of land through technical survey and the clearance of land. The participants further engaged in the discussion of key quality management principles i.e. Customer Focus, Leadership, Engagement of People; Process Approach; Continuous Improvement; Evidence-based Decision Making; Relationship Management.
Further, the role of gender and diversity in mine action, particularly in quality assessment, was also outlined in the training. The trainer, Mr. Dominic Wolsey, Advisor on Gender and Diversity at GICHD, explained that women, men, boys and girls have different roles and responsibilities, different mobility patterns and exposure to risk, different participation in decision making and access to services & resources. Mr. Wolsey highlighted the importance of mainstreaming gender and diversity considerations to implement efficient and effective Quality Management.
During the training, Mr. Armen Harutyunyan, Advisor on Operational Efficiency at GICHD, also delivered a session on Introduction to Quality Management Terminology, ranging from the definition of efficiency and effectiveness, to the explanation of what process and products are in the context of quality management in mine action. Mr. Harutyunyan further remarked that “one of the main reasons for quality management is to continuously improve the way we operate”, further stating that “if we don’t aim to improve something, we go backwards”. He also discussed PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) Approach with the participants, before introducing the notion of quality assurance and quality control as parts of a mine action quality policy.
Mr. Stanislav Damjanovic, Advisor on Operational Efficiency at GICHD, also provided input on the accreditation process of Mine Action organisations and specifically the need for organisations to be formally recognized as able to plan, manage and implement mine action activities and to run an effective internal Quality Management system. Mr. Damjanovic also discussed the best approaches to training Mine Action staff and the effective transfer of knowledge, skills and attitudes.
The training also included breakout group discussion, facilitated by Mr. Shahramanyan. The discussion included cancellation of hazard areas through Non-Technical Survey, reflecting on what consideration should be given to setting metrics and tolerances prior to conducting NTS to conduct cancellation, and how confidence is achieved through evidence-based decision-making process to release land through cancellation.
(ARMAC and GICHD 15 September 2020)