Community Liaison involves real communication between MAG and the people we work to assist.
Introduced by MAG in the late-1990s and now seen as an integral part of mine action1, Community Liaison (CL) refers to the systems and processes we use to exchange information with communities, development agencies and local authorities on the presence of landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and abandoned munitions.
Community Liaison teams are the eyes and ears of MAG. Their job is to go out and liaise with communities to find out what and where the problem is.
Our CL teams gather information from communities about the location, extent and impact of contaminated areas, and find out about the needs of people there.
CL teams inform communities about planned demining activities, explaining the nature and duration of the tasks and the exact locations of marked or cleared areas. They then follow up afterwards to ensure that all their requirements are met.
They also deliver Risk Education (RE) – or Mine Risk Education (MRE) or Small Arms Light Weapons Risk Education (SALWRE) – which helps vulnerable people to live/work/travel as safely as possible in an environment contaminated with mines and/or UXO.
Our staff are recruited locally, reflecting the ethnic diversity of the region and able to communicate in the local languages.
Community Liaison enables us to better target our resources to the areas of greatest need.
1 “Community liaison should be carried out by all organizations conducting mine-action operations.” – UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service)
Photo, top: MAG CL staff meet with a community in Vietnam. [Sean Sutton/MAG]
Video: CL staff conduct Risk Education
A MAG landmine awareness session in Morobo, South Sudan: the most important lesson these schoolchildren will receive.