Over 1000 Syrian Teachers Trained to Provide Risk Education to YouthIn Syria, Risk Education about explosive remnants of war (ERW) is vital to ensure a safe environment for the conflict-affected population. The Danish Demining Group (DDG) has trained over 1000 Syrian teachers this year to help raise awareness of risk in schools and the wider community.
More than 1000 teachers have come to Damascus for the Risk Education training from a number of cities affected by ERW, including Aleppo, Homs and Hama. Upon return to their respective schools, they can now implement what they have learnt, raising awareness of the dangers of ERW and promoting safe behaviour. These sessions are vital in Syria’s context of conflict, where mines, unexploded ordnance, IEDs and booby traps are prevalent.
This context of insecurity has had an adverse impact on the livelihoods and safety of a significant number of Syrians in almost all governorates. Children are a particularly vulnerable group.
Mazen, a facilitator from the Ministry of Education at one of the trainings, described an incident at a school in Damascus: “I heard the sound of the mortars landing in the area, and the principal wanted to evacuate all the children to prevent any possible injuries. So, he informed all teachers to evacuate the children to the corridor, but the corridor was surrounded by windows. An explosion occurred after the mortar landed and a disaster happened: due to the shelling, the windows broke and fragmented. Several kids did not make it”.
Mazen emphasised the importance of Risk Education, explaining that “if the principal was informed on the risks, he would not have evacuated the children to a place surrounded by windows as he would know that would be an unsafe place”.
Huge numbers of people face, handle or deal with ERW without understanding the risks. DDG’s Risk Education program focuses on the importance of the trainees playing a role in spreading awareness not only in their respective schools but also in the wider community. A range of activities are taught to make this information accessible and easy to remember, including videos, role plays, songs and paintings. T-shirts, notebooks and posters with safety messages are also developed to distribute in schools.
Posters are one of several ways information about ERW is presented in Risk Education. Photo by: Rafel Al Yaseri
DDG has been conducting Risk Education training since 2013, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. It has reached over 3000 trainees in total and plans to reach more beneficiaries in the years to come.