How working in local languages helps keep people safe from unexploded mines
6 Apr 2015
The world has just celebrated the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. At the same time, CARE has been celebrating the achievements of the Saving Lives, Building Futures project, which worked with Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to remove dangerous explosives from remote parts of north-east Cambodia.
This area is home to many ethnic minority groups who speak different languages, so much of the awareness-raising on the dangers of unexploded ordnance (UXO) had not reached these communities. CARE’s experience in these areas allowed staff – who were often from the same ethnic groups – to work with these communities in their own language. They helped people to understand the dangers posed by UXO and ensured they where to seek support for disposing of risky items safely.
As a result, MAG was able to remove over 9000 items of UXO from 2012-14. In 2014 alone, potentially dangerous items were removed from around the homes of over 8,500 people.
CARE’s involvement has been vital for MAG to do their work as effectively as possible in indigenous communities. One of CARE’s community focal points summarises how important it has been to have MAG and CARE staff working together to provide information in languages other than Khmer: “Now our villagers feel comfortable and secure with this new knowledge, and they can protect their families and themselves.”