The DOME project of the Digger Foundation has been shortlisted as finalist of the prestigious Robotics Award for Good taking place in Dubai in February 2017, where a 1 million dollars prize will be awarded to the best competitor among 10 international teams.
Mine clearance is a fundamental effort for international organizations like the United Nations, which is considering this threat as first humanitarian priority. The world is now facing new kinds of wars as in Iraq and Syria where cities are the main battle fields, and thus new Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) clearance challenges arise. These devices hamper reconstruction efforts. The problem is so immense that the United Nations estimate that it will take decades to clear Iraq and Syria of all unexploded devices, from hand grenades to IEDs and hundreds kilograms aerial bombs. Today, mine clearance is mainly done by hand, which is not only extremely dangerous, but also very slow and expensive.
Since 1998, the Digger Foundation has successfully led or supported demining projects in many countries, such as Bosnia, Senegal, Mozambique and, in 2016 and 2017, Angola. In rural areas, its main tool is the DIGGER D-250, a 12-ton armored and remote controlled machine capable of destroying mines buried up to 20 centimeters into the ground. As a Swiss-based, non profit organization specialized in high-technology and robotics equipment dedicated to humanitarian demining, the Foundation will address the new challenge of demining safely in urban areas with the DOME project (Digger Management and Operating Environment).
Leveraging almost 20 years of field experience, the DOME project combines robotics, bionic systems and pragmatism to bring an effective, reliable and cost-efficient solution adapted to this new reality of urban mine clearance. It solves two distinct issue, which are on one hand the localization of explosive material under the rubble, and on the other hand, its subsequent destruction. In a first step, mine detection dogs equipped with a mine detection dog harness, called SMART system, are deployed on the area. This harness, featuring a GPS tracker, a camera and a loudspeaker, has been developed in partnership with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and sponsored by the World Without Mines Foundation. The combination of their smell and the harness will allow the dog’s handler to map precisely the location of explosives. Effective demining will begin with the rubble clearance and the transfer of the dangerous device to an open, secure space, to proceed with its destruction. This second step, during which an explosion can happen at any time, requires mechanical tools quickly available on-site. The DOME solution is to use mass produced construction machines which will be transformed into robots and tele-operated from a safe distance with the help of cameras, controllers and virtual reality goggles. Thereby, no human lives will be put at risk even in case of a powerful explosion.
The demonstration of the DOME system will take place in Dubai on February 17 2017. The winner of the competition will be rewarded a 1 million dollars prize.
The wireless video system of the project has been generously provided by our sponsor Amimon.
The keys of a Caterpillar excavator were officially handed over to the Digger Foundation on November 1st 2016 in Tavannes. After a quick mention of the differences between the Caterpillar Corporation and the Digger Foundation, the Caterpillar’s representative Yves-Alain Tschirren highlighted the common aspect of both companies: to leverage a passion with the aim of producing the best machines on the market for the clients.
Digger’s director Frederic Guerne accepted the keys after having acknowledged his gratitude to the team of Caterpillar which internally organized the donation.
Photo: Digger Foundation
Our partner in Angola, the NGO The HALO Trust, took delivery of the new demining machine DIGGER D-250 in September. A staff member of Differ DTR provided a training in October on the mechanical and operational aspects of the machine.
The actual mine clearing of the Huambo province with D-250 will start in early 2017.
From left to right: Minister Alain Berset (Federal Department of Home Affairs ), Minister Simonetta Sommaruga (Federal Department of Justice and Police), Minister Doris Leuthard (Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications), Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann (Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research), Minister Ueli Maurer (Federal Department of Finance), Minister Didier Burkhalter (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs), Minister Guy Parmelin (Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport), Chancellor Walter Thurnherr (Federal Council's Chief of Staff)
The Digger Foundation, represented by its director, Mr. Frederic Guerne, its Chief of production and a civilian volunteer, had the privilege to present itself to the ministers of the Swiss Federal Council (the highest executive authority in the country) during the traditional summer « government's field trip » on July 7th in St-Imier, Bernese Jura.
The federal counsellors could not only discover the 12 ton demining machine D-250 but also have a first glance on the new SMART GPS system produced by Digger on a specially trained demining dog. The ministers all listened attentively to the explications on humanitarian mine clearance given by Mr. Guerne. Luckily, the D-250 was still in Switzerland: had the event taken place a week later, the machine would have been on its way to Angola.
The Digger Foundation is proud to have been chosen, among other firms, to represent the creativity and dynamism of the region to the Swiss highest authority.
From left to right: Frédéric Guerne (Digger, Founder and General Manager), Gentien Piaget (Digger, Deputy Director and Head of Operations) Calvin Ruysen (HALO Trust, Regional Director- Southern Africa Region), Dennis Hadrick (U.S. Department of State), Thomas Dalla Piazza (Digger, Head of Research & Development), Lucas Bonadei (General Secretary of the Conseil du Jura bernois)
The new mission of Digger
Angola still suffers the terrible legacy of a civil war, which has lasted between 1975 and 2002. Today around 129 km2 are still paralysed because of landmines. Their presence is also suspected in areas covering 356 additional km2. This situation prevails despite the fact that mine clearance activities have started in 1994 already. Still there is hope since Mozambique was in a similar situation few years ago, but has been declared free of landmines in 2015, thanks partly to the use of a D-250.
The Angolan government has committed to clearing the country of landmines by 2025. To do so, one of the major demining NGO, The HALO Trust, has decided to acquire a D-250 in order to accelerate its clearance activities.
The decisive meeting has taken place last April, when we hosted the HALO’s regional director for Southern Africa, the donor representative of the U.S. Department of State PM/WRA and the general Secretary of the Conseil du Jura bernois. All of them have had the opportunity to try our machine and to check how easily it can be handled. In HALO Trust we have found a partner eager to use mine-clearance machine and motivated to collaborate with our team. During the meeting, the funders have also been convinced by the quality of both the project and the D-250. The financial support of the Canton of Bern and the U.S. Department of State was capital to implement the project.
Swiss actors are well represented in the mine action in Angola. Besides DIGGER DTR and the Canton de Berne, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) plays a key role in supporting the HALO’s call to action for Angola with funding and political support. The Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) provides assistance to implement a new drone technology for a better planning of the work.
The first objective assigned to our D-250 is to help make the province of Huambo mine impact free. Its capital is the second largest city in the country and total population of the province reaches almost 2 million. HALO Trust has already cleaned 261 minefields, but still 37 remain. Thanks to the Digger mine-clearance machine, it should be possible to meet the two years and a half deadline set to declare Huambo “free”.
Finishing the work in this province would send a powerful signal. Huambo would then be the first of the 18 Angolan provinces to be declared free of landmines. Clearing and returning these last minefields will allow 230 hectares of land to be returned to productive use once more and would improve the lives of over 26,000 people among Angola’s rural poor. The economic development potential is there. It only needs space.
Of course, clearing only one province is not sufficient! That is why we are joining the HALO Trust’s call to action. Achieving an “end state” in Angola is possible with the right funding and a co-ordinate approach between the different mine action actors.
The documentary Nettoyeurs de Guerre will be shown at Les Cinémas du Grütli in Geneva. Come along Tuesday 17th Mai 2016 at 7 pm!
A discussion will follow the movie with the participation of Orane Burri (film-maker), Frédéric Guerne (Founder and General Manager of the Digger Foundation), Kjersti Tokle Fjellhaug, Executive Director of APOPO and Gérard Perroulaz (Délégation Genève Ville Solidaire). Here is the teaser...
Fondation des Cinémas du Grütli
rue du Général-Dufour 16
Tél.: +41 (0) 22 320 78 78
Monday 4 April, for the International Day of Mine Awareness, DIGGER is invited to two different events ! The first one will take place on the Waisenhausplatz in Bern and the second one on the Place des Nations, and then at the Maison de la Paix in Geneva. Both events are organised under the campaign Together Against Mines, the aim of which is to appeal to a common action against landmines. You are most welcome to join in! Here are the details about DIGGER's program:
The youth gives the impetus in Bern: on the Waisenhausplatz, a D-250 (demining machine) will be exposed and presented until 2.00 pm. The Digger Foundation has been invited by the catechumen mennonite group of Jura and Bernese Jura, anb the MIR Suisse (Mouvement International de la Réconciliation). The initiative belongs to the group of young people who has decided to address this issue after having visited the Digger exhibition. They have been touched by the danger that landmines represent for many people and wanted to call on the civil society and the public authorities about this issue. Coming from Tavannes (Digger Headquarters), they'll reach Bern by bycicle around 11.00 am. The end of the event is scheduled at 2.00 pm.
A didactic day in Geneva, devoted to present the mine clearance means: in Geneva, Digger Foundation has been invited by the GICHD to presente our brand new SMART system for mine detection dogs (co-financed by the GICHD and World Without Mines). Demonstrations will take place every hour on the Place des Nations between 10.00 am to 6.00 pm! This system is a state-of-the-art device, which is going to revolutionise the technics of mine detection dog teams. It shows the innovative impulse Digger wants to give to the field of humanitarian demining. The second part of the Geneva program will be hosted in the Maison de la Paix in the A2 auditorium where Nettoyeurs de Guerre is going to be shown at 7.00 pm.
Give the public an insight of humanitarian demining: the documentary Nettoyeurs de Guerre directed by Orane Burri will be shown on RTS Deux at 9.35 pm. Orane Burri joined Digger during three years, covering every aspects of humanitarian demining: the construction of the machines, field projects and conferences both in the international Geneva and the federal Bern. The film is thus a good opportunity for the public to see what is mine action from inside.
We sincerely thank all our partners for organising these events. Please join us at any of them to help raise mine awarness and support mine action !
The Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) has launched a worldwide awareness action for International Mine Awareness Day 4th April 2016! The aim is to raise awareness for the mine problem together, and not with an isolated actions alone.
Over the last years, both awareness and funding for mine action has gone down. In order to make a bold statement, we as MA community have to stand together and have one joint, strong message about our daily battle: Together, we work for a world without mines and explosive hazards. Together, we can make this world a safer place. We can reach our targets faster and safer with renewed and increased engagement of donors and the civil society.
The idea is simple: a simple, visually strong symbol (the red triangle). A strong message: #TogetherAgainstMines. Together for the same cause, across the globe.
A simple action: take a picture with the red triangle, write the # on a piece of paper, on a wall or on the palm of your hand… and show you care by posting a picture on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. There is a simple website where the triangle can be downloaded from for print and where all the activity related to the # will be seen: togetheragainstmines.org
The goal is to get people committed and aware of this “forgotten plight”, stressing the international community to step in for the completion of the necessary mine-clearing work. This should translate in major public awareness and engagement and also encourage (state and other) donors to continue to support mine action.
We count on you to make this action visible! Sometimes, a picture is enough to make the difference…
The climax of this action will occur on the 4th April with numerous events in difference places in Switzerland. The program of DIGGER for this day will be communicated very soon…
The documentary Nettoyeurs de Guerre will be presented at the Centre de culture ABC in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Come along Sunday 13th March 2016 at 6.15 pm !
A discussion will follow the movie with the participation of Orane Burri (film-maker) and Frédéric Guerne (Founder and General Manager of the Digger Foundation).
Here is the teaser !
Centre de culture ABC
Rue du Coq 11
2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds
Téléphone : +41 32 487 4
The documentary Nettoyeurs de Guerre will be presented at the Cinématographe in Tramelan. Come along Tuesday 16th February 2016 at 8 pm !
As he originally comes from Tramelan, Frédéric Guerne (Founder and General Manager of the Digger Foundation) will attend the projection with a particular emotion. Orane Burri (film-maker) will also participate. They'll both be pleased to answer the questions of the public.
Here is the teaser !
The documentary Nettoyeurs de Guerre will be presented at the Cinéma la Grange in Delémont. Come along Sunday 17th January 2016 at 3 pm !
A discussion will follow the movie with the participation of Orane Burri (film-maker), Patrick Tresch and Frédéric Guerne (Founder and General Manager of the Digger Foundation).Here is the teaser !
Nettoyeurs de Guerre will also be present in the film festival Les Journées de Soleure.
Cinéma la Grange
Case postale 2056
Tél. cinéma 032 422 11 29
Tél. bureau 032 422 70 94
2800 Delémont 2
The Cinema Le Royal in Tavannes will show the premiere of the new Orane Burri documentary Nettoyeurs de Guerre, Sunday 29th November at 2pm and Monday 30th November at 8pm.
Come along to discover how our Foundation works in this particular international context. A discussion will follow the movie with the participation of Orane Burri (film-maker), Florence Adam (producer) and Frédéric Guerne (Founder and General Manager of the Digger Foundation).
Be welcomed and enjoy a friendly moment with Digger! The entrance is free kindly offered by Les Production JMH and Le Royal. Please don’t forget to book your tickets.
Here is the teaser !
Le Royal – Tavannes
Téléphone : +41 32 481 43 29
In Mozambique, in 2012, we started a project in collaboration with the organization APOPO. Thanks to the help of many parteners, we provided the demining machine DIGGER D-3 with its equipment. APOPO was able to clear more efficiently and the risk of accidents was reduced.
The 17th of September 2015, Mozambique achieved its objective and the country was officially declared "Mine-Free"!
The machine DIGGER D-3, used intensively and efficiently, has been an important part in this magnificent success.
Mozambique, one of the poorest and heavily mined country, is the first country in these circumstances, to complete its mine clearance. This is probably one of the greatest achievement in the fight against landmines. This victory is also due to the many institutions that supported this project as well as thousands of private donors who support our Foundation for many years.
Congratulations to all those who participated in this battle, Mozambique COME ON!
Le samedi 22 août, la journée de l’aide humanitaire, organisée par le PEV (Parti Evangélique) se déroulera sur le site de l’arsenal de Tavannes où notre fondation tient ses locaux. La Fondation Digger est l’une des invitées parmi les diverses organisations humanitaires qui présenteront un stand et différentes activités. Rejoignez-nous dès 14h00 et participez aux différentes animations ; Visite de l’Expo Digger, château gonflable et babyfoot géant pour les plus petits, musique et d’autres encore. Le verre de l’amitié sera offert dès 17h00.
Découvrez dès aujourd'hui, « Nettoyeurs de Guerre ». Trois ans à nos côtés pour 55 minutes de réalité. Ce long métrage, réalisé par Orane Burri, documentariste neuchâteloise, se plonge dans l’univers du déminage au sein de notre organisation. On découvre alors les coulisses de ce milieu qui soulève parfois de fortes émotions et de grands moments de doutes. En moins d’une heure, vivez l’énergie et les épreuves que doivent surmonter les collaborateurs de la Fondation Digger. Prochainement diffusé sur la RTS, ce film se trouve d’ores et déjà dans notre boutique.
Au prix de 20 CHF, obtenez l'un des 20 DVD mis en vente!
Pour commander, accédez au shop.
Soldesduck wishes to help associations by giving donations. The company propose to the visitors of their website to vote for their favorite charity association, under the rubric "Support an association". Once the votes are registred and counted, the money is given in proportion to the votes between the different charity organizations. Take two minutes of your time and vote for our foundation! We thank you for your invaluable support.
Clic here to open the link and vote under the rubric "Support an association"
Handing over of the Paul Harris Fellow Award to Frédéric Guerne by the Rotary Club of Neuchâtel on 14 April 2015.
Individual Rotary clubs may from time to time honor individuals as Paul Harris Fellows. These recipients are individuals who meet high professional and personal standards set forth by Paul Harris. Paul Harris recognition is not limited to Rotarians.
The Paul Harris Fellow Award is the highest honour a club can confer to a person, either inside or outside the club. The award therefore acknowledges "service first" which that individual has offered to his community, his nation or eventually to the world. Paul Harris was the founder of Rotary and this award program was created to fund many Rotary Foundation programs.
The Digger Foundation, based in Tavannes, in the Bernese Jura, is happy to announce that on Wednesday, December 17th, Tete province in Mozambique, is officially declared free of mines by the National Demining Institute (IND).
Mozambique is known to be among countries most seriously affected by anti-personnel land mines, due to fight for independence and civil war, from 1964 to 1992. Mine clearance has already allowed thousands of farmers to repossess their fields and to start production again.
In stating Tete province free of mines, IND reaches a new step in the process of mine clearance of the country, clearance which is to succeed totally. This is a matter all the more as this country, among the poorest ones, was also one of the most mine contaminated. Therefore, it is an example and a true encouragement for all the countries affected by this plague.
Digger Foundation is all the more enthusiastic by this news as it is an actor of this success. Indeed, mine clearance occurs thanks to the engagement of one of its machine since 2012 and as this one contributed to the cleaning of several hundred thousand square meters. This project became possible thanks to the Swiss Confederation's help through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which invested near a million francs by supporting the mine clearance experts of APOPO organisation, the users of DIGGER D-3.
David Gagnebin, heir of the brand G. Gagnebin & Cie, has decided to support our Foundation by making a limited edition of 30 automatic watches, engraved on the bottom with DIGGER DTR logo and numbered from 1/30 to 30/30.
Nobel Peace Prize (1996), former President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (2007-2012) and former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau (2013-2014).
Patrick Aebischer has been the president of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) since 17 March 2000. He is also a professor in neurosciences and head of the Neurodegenerative Disease Laboratory of the EPFL.
Frédéric Guerne, Directeur de la Fondation Digger, a eu la joie de remettre officiellement une DIGGER D-250, machine de déminage de dernière génération, aux mains du vice-ministre de la défense de Bosnie-Herzégovine, Živko Marjanac. Cette machine a été offerte principalement grâce au financement de plusieurs organismes de Suisse.
La Fondation Digger, basée à Tavannes dans le Jura-bernois, a été fondée dans un garage il y a 16 ans par quelques agriculteurs et ingénieurs. Depuis, elle est devenue un acteur majeur international dans la lutte mécanisée contre les mines. Soutenue par plusieurs milliers de citoyens de sa région (BEJUNE) et de toute la Suisse, elle est spécialisée dans la fabrication de machines de déminage humanitaire.
Présente en Bosnie-Herzégovine depuis 2009 avec une DIGGER D-3, la Fondation Digger a assisté aux crues qui ont dévasté une grande partie des Balkans, générant ainsi une nouvelle menace : certaines mines ont été déplacées en dehors des zones où elles avaient été localisées. Alarmée par cette situation, la Fondation Digger a mis sur pied, en mai dernier, une action urgente de collecte de fonds dans le but de fournir une machine de déminage télécommandée DIGGER D-250 et un équipement spécialement conçu pour les interventions dans les zones de glissement de terrain, soit un budget de CHF 778'260.-.
Après plusieurs mois de démarche, la Fondation Digger a réuni la quasi-totalité de la somme avec l’aide de nombreux bailleurs privés et institutionnels *.
C’est avec une grande joie et fierté que Frédéric Guerne a pu remettre symboliquement la télécommande, le mercredi 19 novembre, au vice-Ministre de la défense de Bosnie-Herzégovine, Monsieur Živko Marjanac. Sur le terrain, l’organisation humanitaire Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), propriétaire de la machine, et le Bataillon de déminage de l’Armée bosnienne assureront la gestion du projet.
La DIGGER D-250 travaillera principalement dans le district de Brčko, la région la plus minée du pays. Si l’on se souvient que la Bosnie-Herzégovine est un des pays le plus pollués par les mines de la planète, cet outil capable de traiter plus de 4000 m² de terrain par jour ne sera pas de trop pour venir en aide à cette population, déjà si éprouvée.
* Caisse de Secours Mennonite (FR), Canton de Genève Service de la solidarité internationale, Chaîne du Bohneur, Délégation Genève Ville Solidaire, Doopsgezind WereldWerk (NL), Fondation Coromandel, Fondation Digger, Fondation DSR, Fondation Pro Victimis, Fondation Rodeo (Rotary Club), Hybrid SA, Mennonitisches Hilfswerk (DE), Regierungsrat des Kantons Basel-Stadt, Swiss Mennonite Mission (SMM)
Frédéric Guerne, Direktor der Stiftung Digger war begeistert, eine DIGGER D-250, der neuesten Generation der Minenräumung Maschine in den Händen der stellvertretendeVerteidigungsminister von Bosnien und Herzegowina, Živko Marjanac, offiziell ein zu reichen.Diese Maschine ist mit der Finanzierung von mehreren, meistens Schweizerischen, Organisationen zur Verfügung gestellt worden.
Die Stiftung Digger, in Tavannes im Berner Jura gelegt, ist vor 16 Jahren in einer Garage von ein paarBauern und Ingenieure gegründet worden. Seitdem hat es sich zu einem grossen internationalenPlayer im mechanisierten Kampf gegen die Minen entwickelt. Mit der Unterstützung von Tausenden Bürgern der Gegend (BEJUNE) und von der ganzen Schweiz, spezialisiert sich das Unternehmen in der Herstellung von Maschinen humanitärer Minenräumung.
Schon anwesende in Bosnien und Herzegowina seit 2009 mit einem DIGGER D-3, besuchte dieStiftung Digger die Überschwemmungen die einen Grossteil des Balkans verwüsteten und damiteine neue Bedrohung erzeugten: einige Minen wurden verschoben ausserhalb der Bereiche in denen sie sich befanden. Von dieser Situation beunruhigt hat die Stiftung Digger im letzten Maidringende Fundraising Massnahmen gestartet um einen Projekt zu lancieren basierend auf eine Fernbediente Minenräumung Maschine DIGGER D-250 mit spezifisch entwickelten Geräte fürInterventionen in Erdrutsch Bereichen, d.h. ein Budget von CHF 778'260.-.
Nach Monaten Verhandlungen, ist es der Stiftung Digger gelungen, mit der Hilfe von vielen privaten und institutionellen Spendern *, fast das gesamten Budget zu decken.
Es ist mit grosser Freude und Stolz dass Frédéric Guerne symbolisch die Fernbedienung in den Händen der stellvertretende Verteidigungsminister von Bosnien und Herzegowina, Herr Živko Marjanac, am Mittwoch 19. November übergab. An Ort und Stelle, werden die humanitäre Organisation Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Eigentümer der Maschine, und der Minenräumung Bataillon des bosnischen Armee das Projekt verwalten.
Die DIGGER D-250 wird in erster Linie in den Bezirk Brčko arbeiten, ein der stärksten vermintenGebiete des Landes. Wenn wir bedenken dass Bosnien und Herzegowina ein der stärksten vonMinen verseucht Länder in der Welt ist, wird dieses Tool nicht überflüssig sein, der über 4000 m²pro Tag verarbeiten kann, um diese Bevölkerung im Not zu helfen.
* Mennonitisches Hilfswerk (FR), Kanton Genf - Internationale Solidaritätsdienst, Stiftung Coromandel, ‘Délégation Genève Ville Solidaire’, Stiftung Digger, ‘Doopsgezind WereldWerk (NL)‘, Stiftung DSR, Hybrid AG, Mennonitisches Hilfswerk (DE), Stiftung Pro Victimis, Regierungsrat des Kantons Basel-Stadt, Stiftung RoDeO (Rotary Club), ‘Swiss Mennonite Mission‘ (SMM), Glückskette