ERW Risk Education Project in Syria
Syria has been contaminated by Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and mines since the beginning of the military conflict in 2011. This has had an adverse impact on the livelihoods and safety of a significant number of the Syrian population in almost all governorates. The contamination is also posing a threat to economic development by locking vital agricultural and industrial areas. The exact scope of the ERW and mine problem is still unknown due to the lack of reliable information and reports.
The general population is exposed to ERW when trying to cross conflict areas and otherwise moving around in their daily life. The majority of victims are civilians from productive age groups. Children constitute a particularly vulnerable group due to their natural curiousness and lack of knowledge. Since 2013, the Danish Demining Group (DDG) has been implementing an ERW Risk Education project in cooperation with the Syrian Ministry of Education (MoE).
The overall objective of the project is to reduce the impact of ERW on the civilian population in Syria, primarily children and youth, by raising awareness and promoting safe behavior through risk education. This objective is in conformity with priorities identified in the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan.
The ERW Risk Education project is implemented in close cooperation with the Syrian MoE. Responding to the increased need and following a request from the MoE request, DDG conducted ERW Risk Education Training of Trainers (ToT) for school teachers from the most affected areas of Aleppo, Daraa, Homs, Hama, Suwaida, Qunaitra, Damascus and Rural Damascus governorates. This will enable the MoE to provide schools in ERW affected areas with trained teachers and children with quality risk awareness sessions.
The training was conducted in Damascus, aiming to provide the teachers with a sound basic knowledge of ERW Risk Education techniques. This also included a focus on the practical aspects of designing appropriate messages to suit the needs of specific target groups. The trained teachers proceeded to deliver ERW Risk Education sessions to school children in their respective schools. Relevant awareness materials, such as T-shirts, note-books, leaflets and posters with safety messages, have been developed for distribution in target schools.