A demining team of 15 women, which is the first all-female demining team in the Middle East, began work yesterday detecting and removing landmines in northern Jordan. A second team of women will begin in February 2009. The women, who were trained and contracted by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), will work alongside all male teams to remove approximately 136,000 landmines along the Jordanian/Syrian border, according to Agence France Presse. Each woman will earn benefits and a monthly salary equivalent to $760.
Lini Gazi, a spokeswoman for NPA, told Irin that “we want to show everybody that women can do anything men do.” Walaa Andali, one of the newly trained deminers, told the AFP that “I know that removing landmines is going to be dangerous and might cost me my life, but at the same time, this job is feasible and might help me start my professional life.”
According to The National, 50 people were injured and 3 were killed in Jordan by landmines between 2005 and 2007. In addition to posing physical threats to civilians, landmines also have economic implications because they prevent land development.