|The Reintegration of War-Affected Youth: The Experience of Mozambique (International Labour Organization, 1997, 52 p.)|
|4. Incorporating life skills into vocational skills training|
Mine-awareness education seeks to alert the civilian population to the dangers of land mines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) and to equip them with skills to minimize the risk of injury while living in a mine-affected area. As in dozens of other countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, land mines are a substantial impediment to post-conflict development in Mozambique, rendering fertile agricultural land useless and endangering the lives and limbs of predominantly rural populations.
No one knows how many mines have been laid across Mozambique. The United Nations estimates that 3 million mines remain uncleared,2 although a Mozambican Parliamentarian has poured scorn on this figure.3 Whatever the true figure, some 17,000 Mozambican men, women and children have been killed or injured in land-mine explosions since the 1992 peace agreement.4 As a result of the dangers of mines and UXO, a number of non-governmental organizations, including Halo Trust, Handicap International, Mozambican Red Cross and Norwegian People's Aid, have undertaken mine awareness programmes in Mozambique.
2 United Nations Department for Humanitarian Affairs Mines Database, Dec. 1996.
3 Sergio Vieira, Rapporteur of the FRELIMO party and former Deputy Defence Minister.
4 AIM Reports, Issue No. 87 (18 June 1996).
The Mozambican Red Cross has a special youth programme using Red Cross volunteers who undertake drama activities which they find a good way of passing on the message. Also used in the programme are plastic bags, stickers, sarongs and exercise books distributed to schools, all with mine-awareness messages. UNICEF has supported the mine-awareness programme by Handicap International, which in 1995 and 1996 trained adults (though surprisingly not children) in mine awareness in six provinces of the country. In 1997, UNICEF support will focus on two provinces, Manica and Sofala, where provincial offices for mine awareness will be established.5
5 UNICEF, The expansion of CEDC Services/Peace Education Project, UNICEF report, Maputo, undated, p. 18.
International guidelines for its community mine-awareness programmes are currently being prepared by UNICEF in New York and will be available as a resource tool to interested agencies and organizations. It is clear that effective mine awareness requires experience and should not be undertaken by amateurs. A high level of technical knowledge is not, however, necessary. A linkage to vocational training can be advantageous if the trainees are likely to return to a high-risk area, but is relatively pointless for urban dwellers as cities in Mozambique are clear of mines.