Abdulla Dapoos is part of MAG Iraq's community liaison team working in Mosul, a city that has suffered massively from the conflict with ISIS — and a city scarred by the explosive legacy of the conflict.

Abdulla is working to support communities across the region through life-saving lessons designed to help women, girls, boys and men safe from the explosive remnants of war that litter their homes, schools and roads. These life-saving lessons are traditionally delivered face-to-face.

But Abdulla is driven to do more and reach more communities. And, to do that, he is using his talent to support MAG's innovative digital life-saving lessons project.

“Living in Iraq, my family and I have been victims of conflict and its consequences. And I am using my passion for digital creativity to help raise awareness among communities about the dangers of explosive ordnance. I think the right way to use digital technology is as an effective way to alleviate the suffering caused by conflict and help free communities from fear.”

Traditionally life-saving lessons are delivered in person

Abdulla is creating digital content and messages that will reach millions of women, girls, boys and men across conflict-affected communities in Iraq. Now 28, he is turning a passion for creativity he has harboured since he was young into a tool to help save lives.

Iraq is one of the most landmine contaminated countries in the world, with mines and unexploded bombs from conflicts in the 1980s to the most recent conflict with ISIS leaving a deadly legacy. Access to some of the contaminated regions is restricted, owing to complex operating environments and security considerations. It can be challenging for humanitarian organisations like MAG to reach all affected communities in these areas in person.

MAG always strives to meet challenges with innovation and is taking advantage of changes in communications and tech to reach more people with effective life-saving lessons. The global pandemic — and necessary restrictions on person-to-person contact — has also accelerated the need to shift how we work to continue our mission to save lives and build safer futures.

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"Delivering life-saving lessons through videos and graphics targeted at affected communities on Facebook will help us reach millions of people we wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach on the ground,” says Alexandra Letcher, MAG Iraq's community liaison manager and team leader.

The Iraq project is part of MAG’s wider life-saving lessons campaign targeting more than 9.5 million women, girls, boys and men in four countries. Through it, people affected by explosive ordnance can have access to information on the risk explosive ordnance poses and the ways to report.

“It is hard to escape technology — from children to older generations, more and more people are using it. It is crucial to use it these days. Used right, it can be a platform that helps drive positive social change and create awareness for important issues. This is a well-observed fact and has worked before,” says Abdulla. 

“What makes me happy about the digital work I have done for MAG in Iraq, is knowing that the content will help save the lives of thousands of people who see our lessons on social media and elsewhere. Even if it saves one person’s life, the work is invaluable.”

“My hope for the future of Iraq is that one day I wake up and they tell me the last landmine was cleared from your country and peace has been achieved"