Peers teaching about mines and explosive threatsIn Ukraine, DDG is coming up with new ways to approach children and teenagers with risk education through a ‘’Peer-to-Peer’’ programme. The programme trains teenagers to deliver mine risk education(MRE) messages to their friends and classmates.
In commemoration of Mine Awareness Day this year, DDG organized MRE sessions for elementary school children together with the peer trainers. Aside from spreading information at such specific workshops, the youths are equipped to share the knowledge they have acquired in everyday life, to friends and peers at their schools.
30 teenaged girls and boys participated in the first training of adolescent trainers in the Peer-to-Peer programme. The training allowed the young trainers to raise awareness about the dangers of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) among their peers, as well as educate them about the correct way of reacting to spotting a potential threat.
''Thanks to the training on mine risks, I learned a lot myself and began to teach other children rules about how to avoid mines. I will be happy if my lecture saves somebody’s life’’, says Nikita, who took part in the Peer-to-Peer project.
''Adolescents are a difficult audience to try to tell what ''to do'' and what ''not to do. They are curious and independent, which can be a worrying combination when living in Donbass, Eastern Ukraine. The DDG MRE team has become innovative in order to get into the minds of teenagers'', says Alya Siver, MRE officer Ukraine.
In October 2017, the Peer-to-Peer programme - funded by UNICEF and the Japanese government started training teenagers in the settlements of Schastya and Popasna to deliver MRE messages to their friends and classmates.
''Children can teach other children in the same way as adults can, sometimes even better'', says Evgeniya, one of the youth trainers.
Schastya and Popasna districts have ranked as the most common locations for mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) accidents since June 2014, due to far-reaching contamination.
In addition to the new Peer-to-Peer programme, DDG delivers Mine Risk Education (MRE) directly through DDG risk education trainers as well as through a Training-of-Trainers programme (ToT). The ToT includes training teachers, community mobilisers and NGO personnel to conduct MRE. So far 400 people have been trained to become trainers in the ToT. The Peer-to-Peer programme is unique in the sense that it resembles the ToT, but utilizes adolescents instead of adults.