How do we know where to prioritise our landmine and unexploded ordnance clearance operations? We ask the communities affected.
Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG
Community Liaison (CL) teams are the eyes and ears of MAG. Their job is to go into communities to find out what and where the problem is.
Community Liaison involves working with communities, development agencies and local authorities to gather information about the location and extent of landmines and other explosive weapons, and how their presence is affecting the way people live from day to day.
This enables MAG to better target our resources to the areas of greatest need.
Risk Education (also known as Mine Risk Education, or MRE) is another key element of Community Liaison. This includes giving tailored safety messages to help minimise the risk for people living and working in, and having to travel through, contaminated areas. Find out more about MRE below.
Our impact in 2014
|More than 16,000 risk education sessions worldwide|
|Around 2.4 million beneficiaries of MAG's activities, including Community Liaison|
Our CL teams also 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 of a community's requirements are met.
MAG was the first organisation to carry out Community Liaison, in the late-1990s. It is now seen as integral in combating the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance, and considered "a strategic principle of mine action" by the International Mine Action Standards.
The British NGO, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) pioneered what is now known as community liaison (CL) in the 1990s
– International Mine Action Standards for Mine Risk Education
Mine Risk Education aims to prevent death and injury from landmines, unexploded ordnance, cluster bombs and other explosive remnants of war, by raising awareness of the problems and promoting safer behaviour.
The term MRE includes public information dissemination through mass media, such as this video for Syrian refugees at risk from unexploded ordnance, as well as targeted education and training to at-risk civilians and humanitarian aid workers, in both formal and non-formal settings.
One of these Risk Education sessions may include, for example: how to recognise commonly found remnants of conflict; how to report a dangerous item; what to do in an emergency; known areas of contamination and accidents; warning clues and signs for mined areas; how to keep others safe, and more.
Watch part of a Risk Education session from Morobo county in South Sudan below:
Credit: JB Russell/Mike Fryer/MAG
Meet one of MAG's Community Liaison staff
Elimam Hassan, Community Liaison Manager in Somalia.
Credit: Sean Sutton/MAG
What else does MAG do?
Risk Education (also known as Mine Risk Education) is an important part of Community Liaison. This involves giving tailored safety messages to help minimise the risk for people living / working / travelling through contaminated areas.Risk EducationRisk Education (or Mine Risk Education) refers to activities that seek to reduce the risk of death and injury from landmines and other explosive weapons, and lessen their social and economic impact.
Risk Education includes the provision of safety messages to at-risk individuals and communities, raising awareness of the dangers and promoting safe behaviour. LandminesA landmine is defined by the Mine Ban Treaty as "a munition designed to be placed under, on or near the ground or other surface area and to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person or a vehicle."
Landmines are generally divided into two main groups - anti-personnel and anti-tank - and have four main component parts: an outer structure made of either plastic, wood, metal, Bakelite, rubber or even glass; a fuse or firing mechanism; a detonator; and high explosives.
Some contain thousands of pieces of shrapnel, designed to fire out to great distances, while others have been made with a minimum amount of metal and are therefore difficult to detect using metal detectors.Cluster bombsCluster bombs, or cluster munitions, are weapons that can be dropped from the air by planes or fired from the ground.
They open in mid-air and release numerous (sometimes hundreds) explosive bomblets - 'submunitions' - over a wide area.
Most of these bomblets explode immediately, but many don't, killing and maiming civilians long after a conflict has ended.Explosive remnants of warExplosive remnants of war (ERW) are munitions other than landmines that present a significant risk to human life.
[Source: 'A Guide to International Mine Action Standards' by Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)]