Mine Risk Education provided to children in Kindergarden Visnjik

June 16, 2017 12:15 PM

children eufor BihOn Tuesday, June 13th, a team from EUFOR and the Armed Forces of BiH attended Kindergarten Višnjik in Sarajevo to provide Mine Risk Education to a class of 60 children aged between 4 and 5 years old. The aim of Mine Risk Education is to reduce the risk of landmines and unexploded ordnance to humans and the environment and to make BiH a safer and more secure place.

Elvira Baručija, Professor of Preschool Education at the “Višnjik” Kindergarten said: “A presentation on Mine Risk Education for kindergarten children is very significant, preschool aged children will have never seen a mine and do not know what mines look like. Through the presentation they will be introduced to the appearance of mines and the fact that they are deadly” she went on to explain “The children will adopt the correct way to react in these dangerous situations, learn that mines mustn’t be touched, that it is very important to advise an adult of any mine seen and which number to call in such situation.”

Mine Risk Education provides children with the knowledge of the possible threat and how best to avoid it. The content is delivered by EUFOR’s Liaison and Observation Teams (LOTs) and Mine Information Coordination Cell (MICC). The training is closely regulated by the BiH Government to international standards. Each LOT is provided with an educational ‘package’ so they are able to travel to schools, workplaces and homes to give the presentations to those who need it. LOTs have been conducting joint MRE lectures with the Armed Forces BiH in order to enhance the country’s ability to operate independently, part of the Capacity Building and Training mandate of EUFOR.

1st Lieutenant Eva Pilsakova from the Slovakian Armed Forces, is the deputy commander of the LOT house in Sarajevo and she stated: “Reaching out to the community, regarding important matters such as mine risk education is what the LOT Houses do well. It is great to see so many children so engaged and learning potentially lifesaving skills.”

In 2016, 20,611 children and personnel in at-risk areas received EUFOR Mine Risk Education. Conservative estimates that the number of communities affected in BiH stands at around 1,417 and there are still 1,141.1km2 of suspected hazardous areas for mines throughout the country.

Džejna Skopljak, the Mine Risk Education Manager said “When carried out effectively, Mine Risk Education can strengthen communities, reduce the risk of death or injury in mine incidents and support in mine clearance activities.” She went on to say “you only have to see how engaged these children are with the lesson and practical activities. Hopefully this understanding and awareness of the dangers of mines will stay with them for life and prevent any further injuries or worse.”

EUFOR provides Mine Risk Education all over the country to vulnerable and risk groups such as farmers, forestry companies and in particular children of all ages in order to raise awareness and promote safe behavior. Currently there are 123 Mine Risk Education instructors (54 EUFOR and 74 AFBIH) who are involved in the joint EUFOR and AFBIH MRE project “Find out more about mines” conducting mine risk education in mine affected communities all over BiH. The education is delivered in a fun and interactive way in schools and kindergartens whilst still ensuring that the important message is understood.

(Source: eufor)

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