It is estimated that there are 110 million laid anti-personnel mines globally, with these hazardous weapons killing and maiming more than 8,000 people each year. Mine Risk Education is vital in raising awareness of the threats associated with landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance, particularly to those who are located in rural areas.
In August of this year, TDI began an intense Mine Risk Education Programme in partnership with an experienced DRC based non-government organisation, Synergie de Lutte antimines et bombes pour le Développement; SYLAM. Together with SYLAM, TDI provides risk education to local residents across South Kivu, North Kivu and Tanganyika provinces of the DRC.
This risk education project is headquartered in Goma where the TDI and SYLAM management teams work closely together to ensure that the project is well co-ordinated and is delivering its objectives.
The designated locations of each team are remote and known to be contaminated with unexploded ordnance, hence the necessity of travelling to these areas. Reaching their locations is arduous, with the teams relying on motorbikes and boats to move from location to location with their equipment.
The teams provide mine risk education to the local residents with the help of posters and pamphlets about the dangers posed by unknown objects lying on the ground. Commensurate with this, identified UXO present in the vicinity are marked and recorded for later removal and destruction by clearance crews. With residents in constant danger due to the presence of these devices, it is critical that TDI attend to them.
This risk education project will run for 8 months and up until mid-October 2018, approximately 184 villages had been surveyed with 361 risk education sessions conducted, reaching almost 14,000 beneficiaries. Radio campaigns are set to take place at the beginning of November with the aim of accessing more people.