Author: Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)
Mine risk education has been undertaken in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia since 1999 and in the neighbouring Afar region since 2001, primarily by a local non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (RaDO). In addition, since 2003, the Ethiopian Mine Action Office has been conducting community liaison in conjunction with its clearance teams in both Afar and Tigray. Majority of the funding for the various projects has been contributed through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
In February 2005, UNICEF requested the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) to conduct an independent evaluation of the mine risk education (MRE) programme in Ethiopia in consultation with stakeholders (see report annex 1). The goal of the evaluation was to help to move the MRE programme forward. The evaluation team was made up of two GICHD consultants: Stuart Maslen and Valérie Quéré.
The evaluation began in March 2005, with a review of relevant literature made available to the team by the various stakeholders. Meetings were held with key informants in Addis Ababa, and with representatives from Afar and Tigray regions (see report annex 2). Field visits were conducted to affected communities in Afar and Tigray on the basis of recommendations from programme stakeholders (see report annex 3). On 1 April 2005, a workshop of key actors was convened to discuss the preliminary conclusions and recommendations of the evaluation.
Findings and Conclusions
The mine risk education programme in Ethiopia is a mature mine risk education programme. The programme has moved away from "planned" communication to community-based initiatives, in particular local "rehabilitation task forces" or RTFs. Second, a high level of awareness has been created about the danger posed by landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Third, deliberate efforts have been made to link clearance operations to the needs of the affected communities through community liaison officers. Fourth, the projects in Afar and Tigray regions have sought to collect relevant data on victims and contaminated areas, and to reorient interventions. Fifth, concrete efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme have been made by the decision to hand over the projects in Afar and Tigray from RaDO to the regional governmental authorities. However, achievements have come at a relatively high price: more than US$2.5 million has been committed to the programme in various forms since 1999.
First and foremost, the MRE programme needs to strengthen overall coordination.
Second, project management skills for MRE need to be reinforced, in particular the targeting of interventions.
It is recommended that EMAO, with the support and involvement of UNICEF and RaDO, conduct or commission an assessment of the true needs for MRE in the Somali region.
Third, existing efforts to prepare for possible emergencies should be stepped up.
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