Two years in a row, The Spindle organised its Summer Labs. For those who cannot remember (yes, time flies!), these labs aimed to accelerate ideas around development cooperation into a pilot proposition. The Spindle asked for ideas contributing towards the solution of a problem within development, and that end-users will see as an improvement. Teams who got the chance to join this program were carefully selected. In 2018, MINE MARK was one of the projects that joined us during this intense, inspirational and awesome summer. And what started as an idea is has now become a fully-grown foundation. What happened to them since the summer of 2018? A short conversation with Nils Hegel, co-founder of MINE MARK.
MINE MARK, a short explanation.
MINE MARK is a non-governmental, non-profit organization situated in The Hague, the Netherlands. The foundation is a mine risk education initiative which aims to protect children and other vulnerable groups from harm by landmines, cluster ammunition, and explosive remnants of war in the conflict zones.
There is lots of worthy news to tell! But first, let’s go back to where it started, that hot summer of 2018. Why did you want to join the Summer Labs?
“Back then, MINE MARK was an idea that needed to get in shape by professional advice. So, there were several reasons for us to join the Spindle Summer Labs in 2018. First of all, although we had the commitment, ideas, and some experiences for setting-up a sustainable project, we lacked the network, business skills, and tools to take the step from an idea towards a pilot-project. Secondly, we wanted to get in touch with other entrepreneurs to share ideas and to work on a way forward together. Thirdly, The Spindle is a great initiative that brings together stakeholders from numerous non-profit organizations that can make the world a better and safer place. Lastly, the prize money was a nice catch as well to accelerate the project (we became 4th; unfortunately, we didn’t get it).”
Go to MINE MARK’s project page (of the Summer Labs)
Looking back, The Spindle Summer Labs enabled MINE MARK to critically reflect on our approach, to improve the sustainability of the project, to utilize numerous tools to tell a coherent and consistent story and to increase our network.
What progress did you make since 2018’s summer?
“Since the Summer Labs, MINE MARK participated in several competitions such as Gulliver and the Venture Academy. Furthermore, MINE MARK registered officially as a foundation and is currently in the process of becoming an ANBI-approved foundation. We grew from 2 to 8 volunteers, Operation-wise, we created educational materials, like Cartoons, Games, and Videos. These materials were tested during a successful pilot-project in Azerbaijan, where we educated 300 children, close to the frontline of Nagorno-Karabakh. This region was occupied between 1988-1994 and is still controlled by Armenia, which makes it an area of an ongoing conflict. At the moment, MINE MARK is finalizing plans to go to Lugansk, which lies in the conflict area in Eastern Ukraine to educate 400 children.”
Go to MINE MARK’s website for an overview of current and future projects
What is MINE MARK’s ultimate goal for the future?
“MINE MARK’s ultimate goal is to create a world where not a single human being has to fear landmines and other remnants of war anymore and where no human is being killed or maimed by them. By offering a combined approach of education and landmine mapping we will strengthen local war-torn communities and will enable them to avoid hazardous areas.”
MINE MARK, an NGO based in The Hague, is being sponsored by the software developer Eonics for a Yuletide fundraiser to further the MINE MARK’s eﬀorts to reduce the impacts from landmines and other remnants of war. Eonics has launched a Christmas crowd-funding campaign, where they will match every Euro given, to support MINE MARK’s work in Azerbaijan and Ukraine. This campaign is being managed by Eonics, and if you wish to make a contribution then you are able to do so via their website. Donations are open through December 20th, and in the end, the campaign Eonics will match all proceeds with their own contribution, doubling the ﬁnal total.