Marking Mine Awareness Day around the worldThe negative effect of mines and explosive remnants of war in the world is still significant and devastating. On 4th of April this year, Danish Demining Group celebrated International Mine Awareness Day in many parts of the world to raise awareness for the enormous threat of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in some of the world’s most conflict torn countries.
In Copenhagen, the home to DDG’s Head Quarters, Mine Awareness Day was spent out in the streets to raise awareness among the people of Denmark. We exhibited an array of mines and explosives together with a simulated mine field, where passersby could try the work of a deminer – detecting mines.
Detecting mines at Kultorvet, Copenhagen
In Sirte, Northern Libya, DDG collaborated with the Libyan Mine Action Centre (LibMAC) and other mine action organisations in organising an event that hosted over 500 children and their parents. Together with other NGO’s, DDG coordinated various interactive activities like games and colouring to deliver risk education messages.
DDG Libya also participated actively in Mine Awareness Day events organized for NGO’s and Governmental bodies. On 4th of April, DDG took part in an event organized by LibMAC and United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) where they met with colleagues from other mine action actors working in Libya.
Before Mine Awareness Day, the governments of Canada and the UK organized an event at the Canadian embassy in Tunis. DDG Data Base Officer Fatima who works in Sabha, Southern Libya, spoke at the event about the challenges and achievements of women working in humanitarian mine action in Libya. In another speech, Country Director Vicente Palacios emphasized the high levels of contamination in Libya and the importance of DDG’s work in the area. He also highlighted women’s importance in DDG’s work in Libya, by saying ‘’the women working in our teams are very good at what they are doing and we are very happy and proud of having so many women working with us’’.
Interactive activities like games, drama and music can be an effective means for educational messaging especially for children. In Gonidamgari community, Borno state in Nigeria, the DDG mine risk education team focused on music, song, dance and drama to deliver risk education messages in the celebration of Mine Awareness Day. Over 100 people – including local authorities, security providers, survivors and members from other mine action organisations were brought together for the event.
Children dancing at Mine Awareness Day event in Nigeria
In Myanmar, the day was commemorated at the city hall in Pyi Daw, the capital of Kachin State in the spirit of speeches, song and games. In Northern Shan State and Kayah State, DDG mine risk education activities focused much on reaching internally displaced persons (IDPs) - particularly children.
Internally displaced children learning about explosive hazards though games.
In Shevchenko Square in Kiev, DDG gathered with other international organizations on 4th of April to call for the protection of 2 million women, children and men in eastern Ukraine. Civilians in the area are facing constant danger due to the contamination of mines and explosive items. During the event, both adults and children learned about the work of deminers and the risks connected to mines and explosive items in contaminated areas of their country.
On Mine Awareness Day, risk education sessions for teachers were organized as part of the recognition of the enormous need for risk education in Syria. DDG mine action in Syria is a key component of the humanitarian response plan to the Syrian crisis and direly needed to ensure the physical safety of host communities, IDPs, and humanitarian workers. Preventing explosive accidents through risk education is one of the most widespread protection activities in Syria. Integrating mine action with educational activities helps spread risk education to children who are potentially exposed to the daily risks of explosive hazards in areas affected by the conflict in Syria.
In 2017, DDG has delivered 65 risk education trainings that have benefited 1,390 direct beneficiaries. ‘’We are hoping the number of casualties will decrease as a result of our efforts in risk education,’’ says a DDG Risk Education Program Assistant in Syria.
In Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world, Danish Demining Group marked Mine Awareness Day by attending events organized by the community of mine action and other international organizations.