Winning clean up battle in war-torn countries

By Andrew Spence

Workers who dedicate their lives to the removal of unexploded land mines in war-torn countries are among the bravest NGO staff.

But behind the front lines, efficient and insightful business management software is proving valuable to NGOs in their long battle to clean up the remnants of war.

A South Australian company has recently joined forces with leading humanitarian mine clearing agency Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to help streamline its processes so it can focus its energies where they are needed most.

CAMMS’ business solutions software is being rolled out by MAG to help it define goals and strategies while managing key projects and risks.

MAG has destroyed more than 4.6 million mines and unexploded bombs since it was formed in 1989.

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A definer carefully clearing soil from an anti-tank landmines he has just found using a specialist detector (Photo: Mines Advisory Group)

The humanitarian organisation chose CAMMS to help centrally manage its US$60 million worth of annual programs across Africa, Asia and the Middle East from its headquarters in the UK.

Simple dashboards allow MAG to easily monitor the impact it is having on the ground, and report this back to its donors.

MAG Director of Finance, Mick Darby, says the organisation has been struggling to find an efficient and effective way to integrate proposal development and contract management with program, donor and organisational reporting requirements.

“On top of this, the opportunity to extend the utilisation of CAMMS’ Sycle over time to align contracts more tightly with our strategic objectives, measure impact at all levels of the organisation and incorporate enterprise risk management is an added benefit,” he says.

CAMMS Managing Director, Joe Collins, says the MAG project has been a great success.

“MAG was a very good project because obviously there’s a lot of risk in clearing land mines and there’s a lot of programs and complex funding arrangements as well as traditional management,” he says.

“For the first time MAG has been able to fully assess the progress of all their projects and report on their performance digitally in real time.

“It’s been a huge saving for them but more importantly it’s helped them do important work so it’s been a great partnership.”

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CAMMS Managing Director, Joe Collins

Formed in Adelaide in 1996 primarily as a boutique enterprise performance management company, CAMMS now employs more than 150 people across eight offices in five countries. It is also working with human rights NGO Article 19 from its UK base in Manchester.

“We have a strong community background so we take a lot of ownership of our clients’ issues and what they want to achieve,” Joe says.

“This whole push for value-based outcomes is something that underpins our philosophy.

“In fact, we believe we can save any public sector utility or agency between 30 and 35 per cent in increased productivity at least.”

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Albino Utho from MAG’s CL team delivers a risk education to students at Imorok School in South Sudan (Photo: Mines Advisory Group)

CAMMS has developed IP across six integrated solutions ranging from planning and performance, enterprise risk solution, project management, budgeting and staff performance.

“It’s been our strategic advantage that we’ve been able to ensure that the solutions are integrated and flexible enough to meet a variety of performance management reporting needs,” Joe says.

“The more complex the vertical, the better CAMMS is at meeting the needs and the secret of success with a lot of these implementations is around knowing what their problems are and working with them.”

Headline image by Mines Advisory Group shows twelve anti-tank land mines safely destroyed in a controlled demolition in Tibesti, Chad