1. What is MAG?
MAG (pronounced Mag) stands for the Mines Advisory Group and is a humanitarian organisation that helps conflict-affected communities around the world. We are registered as a charity and also as a company limited by guarantee in the UK. We are governed by English charity and company law. Our charity number is: 1083008. Our company number is: 4016409.
2. What is MAG’s vision?
A safe and secure future for men, women and children affected by armed violence and conflict.
3. What is MAG’s mission statement?
MAG saves lives and builds futures by working with others to reclaim land contaminated with the debris of conflict, find ways to reduce the daily risk of death or injury for civilians, and create safe and secure conditions for development free from armed violence.
4. Exactly how does MAG work on the ground?
• We clear landmines and other explosive debris of conflict, identifying these as deadly threats to both physical safety and development.
• We work with communities affected by conflict to identify safe strategies to reduce the daily risk of accidental injury and death. We develop and deliver tailored safety messages on the ground for those most at risk.
• We actively seek opportunities to work with local and national partners (both non-governmental organisations and national authorities), to build capacity for the future.
Case study: SUDAN: New skills, resources and hope
• We train local women and men to internationally recognised standards in the identification and safe destruction of landmines and other ordnance.
• Working with national authorities, we find and destroy unsecured – and often unstable – stockpiles of small arms and light weapons and ammunition that threatens not only surrounding communities but also local and regional stability.
Case study: BURUNDI: Living amongst ammunition
• We provide training to security and police forces in weapons management and storage, reducing the risk of misuse and misappropriation.
Case study: BURUNDI: Securing arms stockpiles
5. How does MAG choose where to work?
MAG would go into any country, during or after conflict, if it safe enough for us to do so and if we have the funds. To date, MAG has been to 35 conflict-affected countries (of an estimated total of around 80 mined countries). We believe where there are conflicts there are innocent lives suffering so any country in conflict can be a target for our aid.
Once there our Community Liaison staff are key in helping us locate areas of need and priority, we get the whole town/village/community involved in mapping dangerous areas with us. Military records are helpful to show where bombs strikes were or where landmines were laid but they won’t tell us where communities can't grow food, can't tend flock, can't collect water or where children forage dangerously close to suspect land for firewood so our community level work is essential.
We also work with relief agencies, partners and other non-governmental organisations because before they can do their life-saving work we're called in to make sure they are working in safe areas. We mark off vast unused suspect areas to warn passers-by, and our priorities include people's gardens, agricultural land, essential resources, schools, hospitals, communal areas, cities and access routes.
6. How many people work in MAG worldwide?
We have around 2,800 – mostly local – people who are currently employed by us in Angola, Cambodia, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sri Lanka, South Sudan and Vietnam.
Developing local economies through training and employment means we can put salaries back into conflict-affected communities. We also have more than 100 expatriate staff made up of bomb disposal experts, managers and trainers, and in the UK our headquarters are based in Manchester, with around 60 staff. We're pleased to have a structure that keeps our admin costs low.
See also: National importance: capacity building
7. How is MAG funded?
We are mostly funded by institutional donors, international governments, foundations and other charities. We also benefit from public donations, an events programme and partnerships with professional fundraising organisations.
Most of our income is project-specific, whereby the funds can only be spent on predetermined projects and activities.
However, to enable MAG to react quickly in emergency situations, or to fund projects where other funding isn’t available, we need ‘unrestricted’ income which gives MAG the flexibility to spend funds where the need is greatest. We ask the public to support us in this way, as this flexible income can help us to act much quicker than the slower grant process will allow.
8. What is MAG's income?
MAG's income for the year ended 30 June 2012 was £39,946,314. This mostly came from governments, UN agencies and institutions. £553,143 of this figure came from 'voluntary income', such as public donations, fundraising events, trusts, foundations and partnerships.
See also: Annual Accounts, 2011/12 [PDF]
9. How much goes on public fundraising?
We spend less than one per cent of our income on fundraising – a statistic we are very proud of, as this allows us to ensure that almost all our income is spend in the field.
Despite this we still manage to be creative, win awards for our campaigns and have extraordinarily talented people helping us in our work – at times for no cost at all. See ‘FAQs about giving to MAG’ for more details.
10. Who are MAG's trustees?
Revd Professor Michael Hugh Taylor OBE D.Litt - Chair
Emeritus Professor of Social Theology in the University of Birmingham
Since 1999, Michael Taylor has been Professor of Social Theology in the University of Birmingham and in January 2002 became Director for the World Faiths Development Dialogue. Michael was Director of Christian Aid from 1985 to 1997 and President of Jubilee 2000.
Since 1976, he has been a member of two Commissions of the World Council of Churches. Michael is author of several books on ethics and development and in 1997 gave Bradford University's Annual Development Lecture on NGOs and their future in Development.
Mr Paul Nielsen, ACIB - Treasurer
Senior Manager, Yorkshire Bank in Manchester
Paul has been involved in Commercial Banking for over 30 years. Originally joining Barclays in 1982, Paul worked in the North East and London before moving up to the North West in 1987. He joined the Manchester office of Yorkshire Bank in 2002.
Paul regards himself as an adopted ‘Mancunian’ and is especially proud to be able to support MAG which is based in the city and whose work he has seen so much need for on his cycling trips across Vietnam and Cambodia. Paul is also active in the city through his work with the Chamber of Commerce and as a Magistrate on the Manchester City Bench.
Colonel Christopher Peter Roger Bates
Retired Army Officer and Charity Director.
Christopher Bates served for 36 years in the Royal Engineers in a wide variety of appointments, including Commanding Officer of 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), Project Manager for Engineer Equipment in the Procurement Executive and Regimental Colonel of the Corps of Royal Engineers.
His last appointment before retiring from the Army was as the Colonel in Military Operations responsible for the UK’s implementation, Tri-Service, of the Arms Control Treaties to which UK is a signatory. On retirement from the Army in 1999, he joined the Dulverton Trust, a grant-making charity, and became the Director in 2003. This entailed visiting a large number of charities throughout the UK, and to a lesser extent in East Africa, to assess their applications for grants.
He retired from the Dulverton Trust in 2010 and is currently a Trustee of four charities: CleanUp UK, Tunbridge Wells & District Citizens Advice Bureau, Army Central Fund and Fellow of the Institution of Royal Engineers.
Dr Paul Bell, CMIIA, CFE, ACFS
Prior to setting up his own independent financial crime, corporate investigations and risk management consultancy, Paul worked as a Director and then as Partner for two large professional services firms.
He is the former National Head of Business Integrity and Investigation Services for a top accountancy practice and has worked with clients as diverse as a United Nations agency, a large international charity and several UK crown agencies, as well as numerous public and private sector clients across the UK and internationally.
He is an Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (ACFS), a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Chartered Internal Auditor. He also holds an MA in International Relations and a PhD in Terrorism and Security Studies.
Dr Tapera Knox Chitiyo
Africa Fellow, Chatham House
Chairman, Britain Zimbabwe Society
Dr Knox Chitiyo is currently the Africa Fellow at Chatham House; prior to this he was the Africa Fellow and Head of Africa Programme at RUSI (The Royal United Services Institute).
Knox is also an Associate of the Johannesburg based Brenthurst Foundation (E Oppenheimer & Son). Knox won the 2010 SKY/BEN TV Award for contribution to Diplomacy, and he was also a nominee in the 2011 Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA).
Dr Vanessa Forbes
Global Head of Health & Safety, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Vanessa is currently Global Head of Health and Safety at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), an international infrastructure strategic consulting, engineering and program management organisation.
Previously, Vanessa was with Balfour Beatty, PB’s parent company. She has experience in integrity performance and safety disciplines, and has worked as a structural integrity inspector for the Offshore Division of the UK Health & Safety Executive. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in the reliability of offshore structures from the University of Surrey and is a Chartered Engineer.
Mrs Claire Marles
Assistant Director, Ernst & Young
Claire works as Assistant Director in Transaction Advisory Services at Ernst & Young in London. Her current role is an internal position acting as the operations senior manager for the Restructuring department, where her remit is to optimise profitability.
For the majority of her career, Claire has provided financial due diligence to companies that purchase or sell a company or listing of a company on a stock exchange. In addition to Ernst & Young in London, Claire has worked in Sydney, Australia for KPMG as a Manager in the Transaction Support department (2004-2006), for Colgate Palmolive also in Sydney (Acquisitions project management 2003-2004) and Ernst & Young in Manchester (1997 - 2003).
Mrs Gill Miller, MA PGCE
Gill is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Development Studies at the University of Chester and Programme Leader for International Development Studies. Gill is author of several text books and is Chief Examiner of A-level World Development.
Gill has held several senior examining posts with Edexcel and has much experience leading INSET courses on Geography and development issues for teachers at A level. She was Deputy Head of a comprehensive school in Cheshire before undertaking consultancy work in education.
Group Manager, BBC North
Diane Reid is Group Manager and Access Lead for BBC North, which is based at MediaCityUK in Salford. BBC North is the result of one of the BBC’s most ambitious projects – to create a new centre of excellence outside London for production, technology development, training and digital media.
Diane first joined the BBC in 1981 and produced and directed a wide range of programmes and series until leaving to work for Comic Relief in 2002. In 2004 she became Chief Executive of the Community Media Association, the sector body for Community Radio and Television. Prior to her current post, Diane worked in the Director-General's Office, where she was responsible for the BBC's Charity Appeals which raise over £100m each year.
Mr Colin Rowe
Partner, Aaron & Partners LLP
Colin has practised as a solicitor in Manchester for over 25 years. His work is mainly concerned with development and regeneration projects. Colin is also qualified as a notary public and notarises commercial and personal documents for international use.
Dr Steve Wright, FRSA
Reader, Leeds Metropolitan University
Steve Wright took a BSc Hons at Manchester University in 1975, before a brief spell as an Industrial Chemist. He went on to do a PhD at Lancaster University with a thesis on New Police Technologies and Sub-State Conflict Control in 1987. During the latter part of this time he was Director of Manchester City Council’s controversial Police Monitoring Unit. He became a Transport Policy Officer for the Council from 1988-1994, where he also worked on peace, emergency planning and nuclear free zone matters.
From 1989-2004, he was the Director of the Arms and Security research non-governmental organisation, the Omega Foundation, which for part of its early life shared office space with MAG in the basement of the Friends Meeting House in Manchester.
In 2003 he won a Global Security fellowship which enabled him to take up a role as Visiting Professor in the School of Information Management at Leeds Metropolitan University. He has subsequently become part of the teaching staff at the School of Applied Global Ethics at this University where he is currently a Reader, teaching both undergraduate and post graduate courses on peace and conflict resolution.
Steve Wright has travelled widely having visited more than 60 countries and maintains a continuing research interest in the technologies and weapons of political control.