Monthly Archives: May 2015

APOPO Mine Action

…And here’s the web address for the organisation training the rats.

Click on the heading Mine Action for heaps of information!


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ABC Radio National Phillip Adams Late Night Live “Rats to the Rescue”

On 12/5/15 Phillip Adams interviewed Bart Weejens, the guy who has been involved in training the giant pouched rats to sniff out landmines. The programme is called “Rats to the Rescue”  and can be accessed though the podcast service of the ABC. Well worth listening to.

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Latest from SafeGround in the Solomons


On a recent field visit in April 2015 Mette Eliseussen and John Rodsted from Australian non-government organisation (NGO) SafeGround documented the impact of the left over ordnance from the war that ended 70 years ago.

Working closely with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Mette and John travelled to worst-affected areas and covered how UXO affects business development, farming and the environment. They
also spoke with survivors of dynamite fishing, which they found to be an extensive problem in some areas and highly destructive to the Solomon Islands’ precious marine environment.

“This visit has been a real eye opener for us and for the Solomon Islanders themselves who we’ve worked with” said Mette. “We’ve found a high level of UXO contamination that is comparable to other regions of the world that have had years of extensive clearance operations. Solomon Islanders have come to accept the presence of bombs as a normal part of life, but it is not.”

This project, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, looks at the Solomon Islands UXO problems and produces a report, exhibition and short film. These will be released in the Solomon Islands and to the international community.

“Internationally little is known about the scale and scope of the problem in the Solomon Islands and much of the Pacific,” said John. “We hope more countries will learn about the Solomon Islands and help in clearing the left over UXO.”

The exhibition covers a factual snapshot of the history of WW2 battles, life with the left over ordnance and current efforts to manage the issue of UXO. The US humanitarian foundation Golden West is based at Hells Point building national capacity with the RSIPF. The Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, who are now some of the world’s top professionals in dealing with WWII munitions, regularly retrieve and dispose of bombs in a safe and controlled manner.

“Ultimately, we hope to raise the status of UXO in the Solomon Islands as an issue of national importance, and through international awareness contribute to increased funding for UXO clearance operations” said Edmond Sikua, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services.

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Ardtornish Primary School supporting Safe Ground

Firstly you may be wondering where Ardtornish Primary is? It’s a fabulous small public school tucked away in St Agnes.

On Thursday May 7th and Friday May 8th, the school held and art exhibition, where every student showed a piece of art based on the ANZAC 100 year Centenary.

As part of the learning and research surrounding the centenary, and preparation for the exhibition,  all the students read “One Step at a Time” with their classes, which contributed to the discussion about the current and ongoing impacts of war.

To honour and acknowledge the centenary, each student created a piece of art to represent their understanding of ANZAC Day and made a poppy to be part of the Poppy Wall.

A special assembly was held to commemorate 100 years of ANZAC. The Tea Tree Gully Mayor Mr Kevin Knight, our Federal Minister, Mr Tony Zappia and the president of the TTG RSL, Mr Robert Lotstra were special guests. They were each presented with a piece of art made by 3 of our students, Trent, Ebony and Diya. Safe Ground was again highlighted as our fund raiser for the art show and the story of Mali from told to the students and a signed copy of ‘One Step at a Time’ was raffled during the exhibition.

Students were asked to bring along $1 to sponsor their favourite piece of art. Every $1 received a sticky dot to place on a piece of art. It could be their own or another students. The piece/s of art with the most dots were framed and hung in the school. Every $1 donated also received a ticket into the raffle to win a signed copy of “One Step at a Time”.

Overall nearly $1000 was raised! What an amazing effort!

Thanks so much to everyone involved for their hard work, creativity and generosity.


Picture Safe Ground representatives Adrian von der Borch and Helen Stanger, presenting a signed copy of ‘One Sep at a Time’, to the raffle winner, Jessica.


Here’s just a sample of some of the fabulous art created by students.



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Latest News From SafeGround

WW2 Bombs in the Solomon Islands

Second radio interview down for the exhibition event in Honiara! Thanks to the guys at Black Blazers PAOA FM station and Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation for hosting Georgia Murphy. Also, we made it into Solomon Star news paper!!

Please continue to help us promote the exhibition online too by joining our event page — can we make it to 100 guests?!
You find the event here:

Risk education – What to do if you find a bomb. 

Last week 70 grade six kids in Solomon Islands were taught what to do if they find a bomb. Many of them have already…
Georgia Murphy tagged along with the EOD specialists from Royal Solomon Islands Police force on a risk education session to involve the kids in making their contribution to the WW2 Bombs in Solomon Islands exhibition.

A few days earlier Georgia also went to a kindergarden by herself. It was a good test in how to most effective run the art project and get the kids engaged.

Join us for the exhibition here:

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Landmine Film

I have just discovered a great little 10 minute film on The Impact of Landmines on Children by Handicap International.

It is narrated by a young Afghani boy and is suitable for Primary School children. Worth looking at.

On a different note, James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, has recently been named as the United Nations Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards. This is a three year term so hopefully in that time he can make an impact worldwide.

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