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Youth Supervisors Trained in Mine Awareness in Jordan by Jason A. Sims, MAIC
The Royal Jordanian Army Corps of Engineers trainers at the LSN Youth Supervisors Mine Awareness Training.
The Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) made an agreement with the Jordan Ministry of Social Development to facilitate mine awareness throughout the year 2000. For a week in August, youth center supervisors from throughout Jordan attended Mine Risk Education Training in Aqaba, Jordan. The LSN facilitated the workshop with cooperation from Rädda Barnen and the Royal Jordanian Army Corps of Engineers. All 60 of the youth center supervisors in Jordan were invited to attend the mine awareness training. A total of 44 Jordanian Youth Center Supervisors attended the workshop, 13 females and 31 males. Personnel from Rädda Barnen of Yemen conducted the training.
Adnan Adoubi, LSN Jordan office director
In 1995, two American landmine survivors founded the LSN, the only international non-profit organization formed by landmine survivors. The LSN's main office is in Washington, D.C. The Jordan LSN office officially began operating in April of 1999. The LSN is committed to helping civilian landmine victims worldwide and to prevent others from becoming victims. The LSN helps mine victims and their families recover from tragedy through peer counseling, sports and social and economic aid. The LSN also helps communities with their landmine education programs.
Rädda Barnen, also known as the Swedish NGO "Save the Children," provided the training for the LSN workshop. Rädda Barnen's mission is to work for the rights of the child. According to Aisha Saeed, a Rädda Barnen mine awareness trainer from Yemen who also facilitated the LSN training, Rädda Barnen became involved in mine awareness following the 1994 civil war in Yemen. After the civil war in Yemen, mines/UXO were scattered throughout southern Yemen. At this time, Rädda Barnen saw the urgent need for mine awareness education. Rädda Barnen worked with local government and NGOs to train teachers, social workers and parents in mine awareness. Community mine awareness programs were also launched to reach children outside of the schools.
Aisha Saeed, a Rädda Barnen mine awareness trainer from Yemen that facilitated the training in Aqaba.
In November of 1999, Rädda Barnen held a workshop in Yemen for participants from throughout the Middle East. At this workshop, personnel from the Jordan LSN asked Saeed to facilitate the mine awareness workshop in Jordan. Because of Rädda Barnen's mission to protect the rights of the child, the child-to-child approach was decided upon for the LSN workshop in Jordan. The training Rädda Barnen had used in Yemen was a model for the Jordan LSN training.
Jordan's Landmine Problem
While Jordan is committed to eradicating all of its landmines, it is estimated that 220,000 landmines still remain in Jordan territory. Over 80 civilians have died, and over 450 people have been injured since the first landmine was laid in 1948. According to the Commander of Royal Corps of Engineers, Jordan does not produce landmines. All of the mines in Jordan have been imported from other countries. The Commander of Royal Corps of Engineers also says that Jordan has not laid landmines since 1973. Most of the landmines in Jordan are a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict. While Jordan was one of the first Middle Eastern countries to sign the Mine Ban Treaty in August of 1998, it is still considered one of the most landmine-infested countries in the Middle East. The Jordan Valley and the Wadi Araba remain the most landmine-infested areas of the country, which is also some of the country's most fertile farmlands.
While the Royal Jordanian Army Corps of Engineers confirms that all mine fields and border areas are well marked to alert civilians, many civilians do not understand the true danger of landmines. Since the Royal Jordanian Army Corps of Engineers is the sole military division responsible for marking mine areas, it is particularly committed to promoting mine awareness. The Royal Jordanian Army Corps of Engineers provides mine awareness to its own staff and has extended these efforts to mine affected communities. While Rädda Barnen trained the youth center supervisors, the Royal Army Corps of Engineers provided the workshop with technical information related to the landmine/UXO in Jordan.
The Training Process
According to Saeed, the trainees were presented with technical information about landmines/UXO and were taught different mine awareness ideas. Along with the lectures, the youth center supervisors created mine awareness materials, participated in role-playing and songs and prepared model lessons and activity sheets for the children in their communities.
The week-long training session was split into three days for female youth center supervisors training and three days for male youth center supervisors training. While the training for men and women was similar, the women did not attend the Royal Army Corps of Engineers discussion, because of cultural differences in Jordan.
According to Adnan Adoubi, the LSN Jordan office director, “The men and women working at these youth centers will be responsible for informing members of their own communities about the dangers of landmines and how to cope with injured persons.” In addition to the lectures and participatory activities, the youth center supervisors also visited a demining site in Aqaba. When visiting the demining site, the supervisors watched the deminers as they swept a plot of land for mines. The supervisors were also shown different types of equipment used to disarm and remove mines. The Royal Army Corps of Engineers answered the participants' questions upon visiting the mine field.
Saeed believes that the techniques that the Rädda Barnen trainers used, cultivated the workshop. By using different communication mediums, including television, posters, booklets and flipcharts, the participants were able to visualize and follow the lectures. Several hands-on activities, including group work and group presentations, helped train the supervisors in communicating mine awareness. Throughout the workshop, the trainers were open to participants' questions and suggestions. Because of the participants' feedback throughout the workshop, the trainers were able to alter the training to meet the specific needs of the youth center supervisors.
The opening ceremony of the LSN Youth Supervisors Mine Awareness Training.
The overall goal of the workshop was to educate the youth center supervisors of mine risk so that they could adequately educate the children at their youth centers. The workshop conveyed the importance of mine awareness as well as the needs of mine survivors in Jordan. The supervisors will each use the training to meet the specific mine awareness needs in their communities. Many of the hands-on activities used in the workshop can also be used with the children at the youth centers. By having the youth center supervisors make their own mine awareness materials, the supervisors will fully understand the resources they share with the children. In addition, the youth center supervisors will also be able to clearly explain mine awareness to the children in their centers. By making contacts with the Royal Army Corps of Engineers in Aqaba, the supervisors also will have the option to work with the Royal Army Corps of Engineers in their respective areas.
The youth center supervisors understand the importance of educating children on important issues. It is believed that once the children are educated on mine awareness, they, in turn, will educate their friends and family. Through this workshop and other mine awareness efforts, the LSN desires to communicate to the people of all ages the dangers of landmines.
Director of LSN Jordan