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World Food Prize Laureate and Roots of Peace Founder Heidi Kuhn Joins Female Demining Squad in Moxico, Angola, on International Women’s Day

Heidi Kuhn, California-based founder of Roots of Peace, helps restore the land for agriculture after the mines are gone.

  • Heidi took a few moments to chat with with Cheryl Jennings, former ABC7 News Anchor, an Emmy award-winning journalist, via Zoom about what she witnessed in Angola on International Women’s Day.
  • Heidi and Cheryl have walk through minefields separately and together in Bosnia, Kosovo, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Israel/West Bank.

Cheryl Jennings: Tell me what that was like for you. What did you see? What did they do? How did you feel?

Heidi Kuhn: Well, Cheryl, when I walked out into the minefields in Moxico, Angola, to see the most heavily mined area due to the war that began in 1976 and ended in 2002, these explosive remnants of war are still in the ground over two decades later. And I saw the traditional ways out in the field where they were down on their knees, multiple women deminers, inch by inch, waiting for that sound of beep, beep. They put the explosive device, go off several hundred yards. 

Cheryl Jennings: Some kind of a detector?

Heidi Kuhn: Yeah, yeah, it was a plastic explosive that they put on top of the mine, the cluster munition, whatever they determined. And again, professionally going back, as you saw with the explosion. You know, boom, you get that mine out and then and then you go back into the field.

What they do, and it was really macabre, an Easter egg hunt is all I could look at it. They had baskets, all of them baskets, and they were carefully putting these bombs back into their baskets. At the end of the day, they brought all their collected baskets into a field.

There was a woman who was down six feet having dug what was really a grave. That’s right. A grave for the landmines.

And the woman was down there, you know, beneath the earth of the box that she had dug. And the other woman was passing carefully the explosive remnants of war.

She was down there receiving it and carefully placing it on the bottom, one basket after another to the hands of the woman who carefully, carefully placed it. 

And then when it was done very carefully, you know. As respectfully as they buried something, they buried the entire catch for the day. And then again, we went back half a mile away to a high tower and then detonated the mine so that it could be exploded.

That was it.

Most people don’t walk through minefields to mark International Women’s Month. But Heidi has a track record of leading efforts in several war torn countries to remove mines and replace them with vines or other fruit and produce to provide food and food security.

She’s also the 2023 World Food Prize Laureate and is using her platform to promote “Peace through Agriculture.”

You’re invited to join her at a prestigious conference co-sponsored by the World Food Prize Foundation March 26, 2024 in Washington, D. C. Please see the link to register at

The title: DialogueNEXT “Seeds of Equity: Women driving Growth and Innovation in Agriculture”

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