Dr. Peter Merten is an independent consultant for the German Agency for Technical
Cooperation (GTZ) . He is a sociologist, educator, lecturer and research fellow
at the Institute for Sociology, University of Münster, Germany.
[Editor’s note: The following paper was presented at the
Conference on Integrated Humanitarian Development and Community Mine Awareness
for Development at the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation, Brussels, on February 22-3,
1999. The plans and operations described here were conducted by Dr. Peter
Merten and and Dr. Hildegard Scheu, in the provinces of Sofala and Manica
in Mozambique in the Fall of 1998. Drs Merten and Scheu were consultants to
the German Federal government under the auspices of the Federal Ministry for
Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the German Agency for Technical
The Role of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation
The idea for the Community Mine Awareness for Development (CMAD) concept
was especially designed by the GTZ/MineTech partnership to minimize the risks
of mines and UXO to the local population. In those areas, no complete mine
clearance could be undertaken effectively in the short term. By integrating
educational and specific sociological elements, CMAD aims to support the active
participation of the villagers and their local communities in the process
of rehabilitation and reconstruction. Hence, CMAD is a specific empowerment
process designed for those communities which have to live with the mine and
UXO threat for a long period before receiving mine clearance support - perhaps
for generations - perhaps forever.
The first operational implementation of CMAD took place during the test phase,
which has been completed. Two teams of four CMAD trainers each were deployed
to the provinces of Manica and Sofala in Mozambique, with the intention of
spending three weeks in each of the selected villages. They were to accomplish
- to conduct mine awareness sessions.
- to establish a reporting system on mines and UXO found.
- to train two villagers to act as CMAD community facilitators.
All three activities were to be combined into one process.
Members of a village participate in
the creation of a communal map
On the 19th of October 1998, the teams were dispatched from Harare
in Zimbabwe, one to Sofala and one to Manica, Mozambique. The teams consisted
of both Zimbabweans and Mozambicans. I accompanied them into the field until
early December 1998. The CMAD trainers were, with only one exception, demobilized
soldiers who have now become experts in demining. Their task within CMAD was
to communicate with the local population. This is a civilian task and not
a military one, and it demands numerous educational and social skills. My
goal was to oversee these activities.
By the end of 1998, three villages in Manica: Dombe, Ntongwe Muthakati (Máquina),
and Pindanganga; and four in Sofala: Dimba, Inhataka, Santa Fé, and
Inhaminga were included in the plan. The five criteria for the selection of
these villages were:
- There must be a mine threat in the area.
- There should be no plans for demining in the next two years.
- The partner and GTZ should have plans for development activities in the
- There must be a community.
- The partner, GTZ, the administration, police and local authorities must
all agree on the need for local CMAD activities.
Presentation and Establishment of Community Mine Awarness
for Development to the local Régulo and to the Community
A couple of days before the CMAD team takes up its work in a new target village,
it introduces itself to the local régulo. The régulo
is the traditional village headman. The Sena population dominates the
project area in Sofala. In Manica, the Ndau population dominates the project
area. Both societies are traditionally organized hierarchically, with a considerable
amount of social and political power in the hands of that official. He, or
in some cases she, is elected from among the eldest members of the locally
dominant tribal family.
The régulo is the highest local judge, and at the same time the highest
local representative of the traditional religion. The belief in Mungu and
in the power of the souls and the spirit of the dead (mizimu) is still very
vivid among the local populations, even though there are numerous Christian
missions in the area.
The CMAD must team introduce itself formerly to the local régulo,
because it needs to work in his village for the next three weeks. To be successful,
CMAD needs to be welcomed by him. To achieve this, the CMAD team spends as
much time as necessary to get to know him, his village, the villagers and
their problems; and to present all arguments which will help receive his support
and convince him of the importance of CMAD in his village. So far, every single
régulo, who has been contacted by CMAD, has agreed to welcome
CMAD into his village, sometimes as quickly as the second day of meetings.
After decades of war, confidence is not generated quickly in this part of
During the presentation of the approach and the concept of CMAD to the local
régulo, the CMAD team will ask him to call for a village meeting in
the near future. Only the régulo is entitled to call for such a meeting.
During that meeting, we will ask him to nominate two well respected villagers,
one male and one female, to be trained by the CMAD team to act as future CMAD
community facilitators. They must be volunteers, and they need to have the
time to spend 2-weeks in a full time training course with the CMAD trainers.
Shortly after the presentation to the régulo, and possibly before
the day of the village meeting, the CMAD team establishes its camp in the
village, hopefully, near other local communication centres like the school,
the shops, or the church. This rather exposed location of the CMAD camp helps
to bing CMAD into all the villagers´ minds.
A local woman's league official warns
children of the dangers of landmines and UXO in their area
The village meeting where CMAD is publicly presented to the whole community
is usually conducted on a Sunday. The local population in the CMAD project
area often is living decentralized and scattered. This means that many community
members have to walk long distances before they reach the place of the village
meeting, in many cases some 5 kilometers. A village meeting is traditionally
a formal act. Participation of all adults (that is of everyone who is married
or widowed) is compulsory. Therefore, a village meeting is traditionally only
conducted when a very important decision concerning the community is negotiated.
It is quite different in its character to any meeting where people gather
together voluntarily for a village festivity. In its campaign to inform and
to mobilize villagers, CMAD is using the instrument "village meeting"
carefully and not too often, in order to avoid annoying them. The awareness
sessions are often organized as festivities rather than village meetings.
However, at least one CMAD village meeting is necessary in order to
present CMAD to the whole village, and to have an open discussion about the
choice of the two villagers who are to be nominated as future community facilitators.
They must be respected and accepted by the whole community.
Community Mine Awareness Sessions
Right from the beginning of their training, the future community facilitators
take part in all the activities undertaken by the CMAD trainers to inform
and to mobilize their community. The local population is quite aware of the
fact that there is a mine and UXO threat. However, in too many cases, the
local knowledge about the dangers and risks of mines and UXO is insufficient:
- All mines and UXO are dangerous, even "the very tiny ones"
and even those, which are regarded as "harmless" by some villagers
or the others!
- There are certain locations in or near the village, and certain situations,
where mines and UXO are more likely to occur and to be found. These locations
and situations are most dangerous!
- There are dozens of different types of mines and UXO. Whenever there
is any doubt about an item which has been found, it must be regarded as
a potential mine!
- Mines and UXO's which have been found must never be touched! Under no
circumstances must villagers try to destroy them themselves!
- The location where a mine or a UXO has been found must be marked properly!
Information to the neighbors of that location and to the local authorities
helps to secure the location provisionally!
- The mines and UXO, which have been found in the village or nearby, must
be reported to the EOD team, with a sketch indicating the exact location,
so that these explosives can be easily found and destroyed!
CMAD trainers use any available opportunity to create mine awareness for
development among the local population. Awareness sessions take place whenever
and wherever local people meet in numbers: at the health post or the hospital,
at church, at the shopping centre, or at school. These awareness sessions
usually take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the mood of the local participants.
Wherever they conduct the session, the CMAD trainers involve the respective
hosts as intensively as possible (the doctors and nurses, the priest, the
teachers etc.), so that these people can and will conduct future CMAD awareness
sessions on their own and, if necessary, with assistance by the local CMAD
When conducting the awareness sessions, the CMAD team uses a wide spectrum
of methods and of locally adapted training aids: visual aids such as
posters and wooden models of mines and UXO, the traditional drum (ngoma)
and songs, theatre and roll plays, participatory communal
mapping and more.
CMAD posters have been elaborated with the assistance of a local expert
on visual aids and of the villagers themselves; they are presently being tested.
They illustrate some of the most important rules of conduct concerning mines
and UXO. The wooden models, life-size and in original colors, make
it clear what mines and UXO look like, even to those among the villagers
who are not accustomed to 2-dimensional pictures. The traditional drum
calls the people together, and the songs are educative and entertaining
at the same time. They are sung in the local languages, some of them are composed
by the CMAD trainers, others are based on melodies, which are well-known.
The CMAD trainers and their local trainees perform plays or sketches
for the villagers. They generate many ideas to engage the public, such
as role-plays, where villagers themselves become the actors.
Participatory communal mapping is done on the ground, building a model
of the village, or, drawing a sketch on paper to be hung on the wall. This
helps in gathering locally available information about possible locations
of mines and UXO. This will help identify dangerous zones in the village
and nearby. It also facilitates the understanding of the local situation,
the village and the villager's problems.
There is a reluctance on the part of the local inhabitants to speak up about
their knowledge of mines. Many people hesitate to report their knowledge to
anyone. Not too long ago, such knowledge has been regarded as a military secret
in Mozambique, and not every single villager is sure whether this has really
changed. Some of them are afraid that if they report a mine to anyone, they
might be asked to bring the mine along, or they might be asked how they came
to know about it. Some of the villagers even ask for money to report mines.
Others are afraid of bureaucracy. They have to be assured that it is the right
thing to report any mine or UXO found to the CMAD community facilitators of
their own village. Therefore we ask no sensitive questions, making it clear
than no one will have to touch the mind and, of course, nobody will get money
for reporting the mine.
The Community Mine Awareness Development Community Facilitators
Training: a Work and Knowledge Program
The training of the future CMAD community facilitators combines modern knowledge
about education and communication with the fundamental elements of local,
traditional education and communication. The Tanzanian educationalist Ibrahim
Athumani characterizes the five elements of traditional training in East Africa
- There are no professional teachers. Elder and more experienced people
pass their knowledge and their skills to the others.
- There are no schools and no classes. The best classrooms are those places
where the specific knowledge is usually being practiced.
- There is hardly any theory.
- Due to illiteracy, everything, which is important to be learned, has to
be repeated again and again to stay in future memory.
- There are real work-and-knowledge programs.
Within the CMAD work-and-knowledge programme, the on-the-job training of
the future community facilitators is combined with a more lesson-like training
through the CMAD trainers in the camp. Here, trainers and trainees work on
participatory approaches, the very specific possibilities of CMAD as a process
in the community, and on possibilities of rehabilitation and reconstruction
and empowerment of the local community. Along with this, the community facilitators
learn to identify mines and UXO. It is important to mark the locations where
mines and UXO were discovered, to further secure these locations through
information to the neighbours and authotities, and to draw sketches which
facilitate the work done by the EOD team to facilitate the destruction and
responsible clearance of the mines and UXO. Locally made mine/UXO markings
will not last indefinitely. EOD action, as a result of information passed
on from CMAD community facilitators, will encourage a continuation of reporting
from the locals. Through their integration into the day-to-day awareness creation
done by the CMAD trainers, the CMAD facilitators learn how to continue awareness
sessions in the village again and again.
First Results of Community Mine Awarness Development
After the first phase of the program the people in villages where CMAD is
- know the risks of mines and UXO.
- know how to minimize these risks.
- know how to report the mines and UXO, which they find to the local CMAD
The CMAD community facilitators will have:
- marked the locations of mines and UXO which are reported to them.
- informed the neighbors and the local authorities about these locations.
- produced reports, with sketches indicating the exact locations of those
mines and UXO, and give these reports to the EOD team, so that the mines
and UXO can be destroyed easily.
- continued to conduct awareness sessions in their community.
- prepared to support local rehabilitation and reconstruction activities,
basing on self-help and aiming at community development.
The local population´s acceptance has been high. All régulos which
have been contacted so far support CMAD in their village, propose suitable
CMAD community facilitators, and call for CMAD village meetings. The villagers
participate and support their local CMAD facilitators. In none of the villages
has it been difficult to find suitable candidates for the training. It is
evident that the knowledge about the mine and UXO threat and about the ways
to minimize the risks is growing considerably among the local populations.
Life is becoming safer for the villagers.
The following figures have been collated from the on-going CMAD activities
in Sofala and Manica, Mozambique. They show that reports on mines and UXO continue to come in, even weeks after the completion of CMAD, and after the
CMAD trainer team has left the village. These are the average figures from
the six villages where CMAD started in 1998: six reports are done when the
CMAD teams arrives; three reports per week are submitted during the presence
of the trainers in the village. After the trainers leave, the number of weekly
reports rises to six per week then slowly decreases.
In the village of Dombe, in Manica Province, 27 locations of mines and UXO have been reported after the introduction of CMAD (between October and December
1998) – in Dimba in Sofala there were 35 reported. At some of these locations
there were more than just one incident– up to 14. With all these very detailed
reports, mine clearance, and EOD, are becoming easier.
Specific Circumstances which Facilitate the Positive Results
of Community Mine Awareness Development in Mozambique:
- the quality of the African staff engaged in CMAD, especially the trainers,
and the positive image of GTZ and MineTech in the project area
- the positive image of GTZ and MineTech in the project area
- the condition and co-operation with the national partner, the National
Committee for Demining (CND), and the support of the administration
- the local population’s high motivation for peace, rehabilitation and reconstruction,
and the most favorable political and economic frame-conditions on the national
- favorable political and economic frame-conditions on the national level.
The CMAD trainers which are employed by MineTech are highly qualified, well
motivated, and specifically prepared for their job. They are well acquainted
with life in rural areas and with the problems of common people. They know
how to communicate with the local population, and they are flexible enough
to respond to the specific situation in each and every village and in each
and every training course.
The individual profiles of the local trainees differ from case to case. Half
of the trainees are males, half are females. All of the females are unmarried;
some are young and active, under "personal development pressure", open to
communication and eager to attain independence. Some are elderly widows, often
quite traditional, and conservative, with influence among their neighbours
and families. So far all of the female trainees have been illiterate, whereas
the average male trainee has attended school for about three years. The CMAD
trainer teams provided by Mine-Tech know to adapt their CMAD introduction
to every specific situation.
The partner CND is actively participating in the development of the CMAD
concept and its implementation. Representatives of CND on the provincial levels
(of Manica and Sofala) take part in all major planning sessions concerning
The cooperation between the CMAD team and the local communities is highly
sensitive. The positive results of this cooperation create a confidence which
provide a sound basis for an even more intensive future cooperation concerning
the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the villages and rural areas. The
CMAD community facilitators are trained and prepared to support local self-help
and community development activities, and they have been eager to do this.
They can also participate in rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes
in their home region.
During its pilot phase, CMAD has concentrated its activities on Cheringoma
District, especially its small capital, Inhaminga. Until now, some 20 villagers
have been trained as CMAD community facilitators. They are well respected
by their local communities, and they conduct CMAD with commitment and zeal.
In November 1998, 13 out of the 20 trainees organised themselves into a group
called Partirde Chringoma. The phrase loosely translated means to start off,
to share, and to participate. Their aim is to contribute to the reconstruction
of Cheringoma, through self-help community projects. The members of Partir
are well prepared for this job. It should not be a big problem for them to
introduce CMAD to neighbouring villages, just as they have learned it with
their own CMAD trainers. Seven of the members are males, seven are females.
This is a higher percentage of female participation, which helps attain a
high acceptance of the group by the entire local population.
After a fatal mine accident in their village, the population of Santove near
Cheringoma asked its régulo to invite CMAD. He approached some members
of Partir and urgently asked them to establish CMAD in Santove. CMAD was asked
to react quickly and to assist the village and Partir.
The members of "Partir" are very optimistic, and they are developing on plans
to turn the Casa Abandonada in Inhaminga into a Communication and Development
Centre. This Casa Abandonada is the old palace of the Portuguese governor.
The surrounding area is known, all over the country, as the "Place of the
Massacres". It has been the site of several mass executions and violent deaths.
"Partir" is now proposing that Casa Abandonada become focal point for reconstruction
and development through self-help and community development.