BHG 2000/014: Progress Report on Mine Awareness Activities Sponsored by UNICEF
Author: Eminovic, J.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently the most mined country in Europe after Kosovo. With an estimated 30,000 minefields and about one million mines, the country suffers additional human and economic losses almost four years after the end of the war. Data provided by BHMAC point out that the number of children victims is high but is gradually dropping due to raised awareness of the population and the ongoing demining process. The number of children - victims of mines dropped from 148 children killed or maimed by mines in 1996 and to 24 in 2000. Still, the danger of mines remains imminent.
Purpose / Objective
The overall objective of this assessment is to estimate whether and how UNICEF Mine Awareness (MA) Programme could be adapted for future (sustainable) implementation. The assessment reviews the experience gained in different areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It identifies lessons learned from the actual implementation of the MA Programme, with respect to MA Programme effectiveness, efficiency and capacity building, in order to make decisions and plan for future planning, managing and implementation.
Specifically, the assessment addresses the following key points:
How was the MA Programme managed in the country and entity levels?
How the MA Programme was implemented?
Due to the time limitations and summer holidays, UNICEF suggested where to concentrate the assessment activities in certain Cantons in the Federation of BiH and Regions in the Republika Srpska. The selection of schools for visits was decided by experience and the recommendation of umbrella partners. During the site visits, interviews were conducted with the stakeholders from Federal and Cantonal Ministries of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, officials from Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sports from Republika Srpska, school teachers, school directors and school pedagogues, and the primary school students. During the visits to the Genesis Project and Akcija protiv mina/HI, we performed interviews, SWOC Analysis and non-formal Participatory Assessment.
Total number of stakeholders interviewed is 30. We gathered opinions and attitudes of 50 students, age group of 7-14 years, in non-formal contacts and discussions, through school visits. For this purpose, we developed 6 different interview questionnaires as instruments for collecting information about all aspects of implementation mentioned under the section Objectives for the Assessment.
The assessment examined all documentation related to Mine Awareness available at UNICEF BiH Educational Department, trip reports from Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, reports from umbrella partners Genesis Project from Banja Luka, Akcija Protiv Mina/HI from Una-Sana Canton, and Moving Theatre from Sarajevo. Additionally, the assessment examined related documentation and reports from other Governments and NGOs.
Key Findings and Conclusions
One hundred percent of the stakeholders interviewed, evaluated the MA educational material in primary schools, prepared with financial support from UNICEF, as excellent. They emphasised the educational value and needs for this material, with regards to its appropriateness to the primary school curriculum, in particular. 100% of the informants interviewed agreed that MA educational materials meet pedagogical criteria and standards.
During the site visits, we observed a few MA classes and assessed different methods for the use of educational materials. The use varies from school to school, and from area to area. Very often, the crucial factor is the involvement of the teachers in coming up with creative ideas to implement the MA material into the curriculum. Respondents from the Pedagogical Institute of Sarajevo Canton addressed the same issue. We then confirmed our findings through interviews with respondents from ICRC. Additionally, the potential for teachers' motivation is very limited, as they are affected greatly by the difficult economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport conducted knowledge testing of primary school children on MA in 1999. There were target groups of children in nine classes, from the 3rd and 6th grades, in nine municipalities from nine different Cantons. Purposive and Quota sampling methods were used for this test. Relevant results from this assessment are related to the MA Kit content acceptance by students from the 3rd and 6th grades.
As the umbrella partner, Akcija protiv mina/HI (APM) from Bihac has achieved impressive results in the implementation of Train the Teachers (TOT) Project. AMP staff implemented this project in 47 central and 103 satellite schools, which means that teachers from all schools in Una-Sana Canton participated in the ToT Project. During the TOT project implementation, the total existing number of primary school teachers in Una-Sana Canton was 1,661, and the total number of trained teachers is 1,516 or 91,28%. The rate of teachers' participation in all schools was between 87% and 100%. However, as secondary beneficiaries of this project, we have 38,261 primary school children that gained MA knowledge from qualified trainers for this segment of education.
Another umbrella partner, Moving Theatre from Sarajevo performed 164 playing shows throughout the municipalities of Middle Bosnia and Herzegovina-Neretva Cantons. Moving theatre disseminates MA messages to roughly 70,000 children and their parents. Additionally, 6 local television and radio stations recorded Moving Theatre's shows for further broadcasting. This means that roughly 500,000 further recipients of the MA messages will be able to see these shows broadcast on TV. Moving theatre was supported by 11 local radio-broadcast stations; each of them hosted members of the theatre for a 60-minute show, and gave the opportunity for an additional 100,000 recipients to hear MA messages.
During site visits and key-informant interviews, we found different levels of ownership in different parts of the country. As I explained before, some differences are derived from dissimilar responsibilities of entity's governments; some are derived from the motivation of staff involved, and some are derived from the type of environment. We confirmed the hypothesis that MA Programme results are better in urban areas than in rural parts of the country. This finding is contradictory with the above-mentioned statistics, and the fact that the most mined areas are the rural parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A few external factors influenced the implementation of the MA Programme. The pressure of the difficult economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is enormous. Primary schools are faced with the distribution problem of MA educational materials to satellite schools, on a daily basis. Another external factor is the negative influence of the media. During June 2000, the Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina-BHT broadcast a TV show about the young boy from Una-Sana Canton who was using demining area around his house for sheep pasture. After this show, during the testing of primary student's knowledge on MA in Una-Sana Canton, almost 60% of pupils believed that mines are not very dangerous.
1. To continue with the implementation of MA programmes and expanding it throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2. To intensify MA activities before school holidays, and during the acceleration of return process.
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