Risk education on explosive remnants of war for civilians in Iraq
In Iraq, Humanity and Inclusion provides risk education on explosive remnants of war, which pose a constant threat to the local population.
A risk education officer on a home visit in Kifri, Iraq. | ©Oriane van den Broeck / HI
Wracked by decades of war, Iraq is one of the countries most heavily contaminated by explosive ordnance in the world. Iraqi towns and villages were particularly badly affected by the conflict with the Islamic State group between 2014 and 2017.
An essential component of Humanity and Inclusion's operations
More than 300 incidents involving improvised explosive devices occur every month. HI’s priority is therefore to ensure the safety of the local population.
In 2017, the organisation surveyed conflict-displaced people in the town of Hawija: 40% of adults and 42% of children shown photos of explosive devices were unable to identify them. Since then, HI has provided risk education in the governorates of Ninewa, Kirkuk and Diyala.
Information and education to better protect local people
HI provides risk education in tandem with its mine clearance activities. When the organisation begins work in a new area, it informs communities of their progress, the potential risk from explosions, and the extent to which land remains contaminated by explosive remnants of war. HI also collects information on incidents and potentially contaminated areas. Mine clearance teams use this information and share it with the government to facilitate the planning and prioritisation of mine action in the country.
Raising the awareness of all residents
HI provides risk education in homes, schools and public places using learning aids and content adapted to the age and gender of its audiences. The organisation's teams help vulnerable individuals to recognise explosive devices and to know what to do when they come across them. HI also trains the most influential people in communities, such as teachers and village chiefs, to raise the awareness of people around them.
HI also broadcasts emergency awareness messages on radio and television and has set up billboards with key messages on approaches to towns and villages and in strategic locations.
RIsk education is effective
A few weeks after HI’s risk education team provided students with training at a school in Kifri district, in Diyala governorate, two children came across an unknown object. They stayed clear of the device and were careful not to touch it. They reported it to their teacher, who contacted HI’s teams. The demining team then neutralised the device - an explosive remnant of war.
In November 2018 alone, HI ran 180 risk education sessions in Kifri district, reaching 1,686 adults and children.