When a woman deminer talks…

Samaya Ahmadli: My father supported me in this decision, he always stood behind me

March 7, 2024

Samaya is originally from Aghdam. She worked as a geography teacher for six years, and always had an interest in the military. Her brother is a soldier who passed through the war. 

Samaya is one of the eighteen newly trained women deminers that were accredited in November 2023 during a ceremony in Baku with participation of high-level officials from ANAMA, the European Union (EU), UNDP, and other officials. Thanks to theoretical and practical trainings conducted by the international experts of the Mine Advisory Group (MAG), the first teams of women deminers acquired the foundational knowledge, skills and required code of conduct to recognize, detect and mark mines and unexploded ordnance, and to provide first aid.

“I started work with great enthusiasm, as if I was going to be rewarded. You must be cool-headed, I have no fear.

She talks about her friends at the school who did not expect her to become a deminer, but now they follow her with great interest. She is very happy.

"My family did not agree at first, but my father supported me in this decision. My mother was not used to seeing me in special clothes, now she accepts it easily. She is still a bit worried, they regularly contact me."

Samaya had difficulties at first, it was not easy for her to work under the sun, mainly in hot weather, but later she got used: "I have always had white and sensitive skin, so I avoided the sun, but I got tanned here," she jokes.

Samaya is so proud of being a part of this initiative, the first one in Azerbaijan. 

"I want to contribute to the Great Return. We are working on our lands."

The two demining teams of 24 people, including 18 women deminers, 2 healthcare workers, 2 team leaders and 2 deputy team leaders were established within the framework of the “Supporting safe return of Internally Displaced People through capacity building of the Mine Action Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (ANAMA)” initiative funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP in partnership with ANAMA, the International Eurasian Press Fund (IEPF) and the MAG. 

Jeyhun Alakbarov, UNDP Azerbaijan