Cam Lo District, Quang Tri Province (09 January 2019) – Over 250 pupils, school administrators and teachers in Cam Lo District joined in an exciting Mine Risk Education (MRE) session organized by Project RENEW’s Mine Risk Education team today in collaboration with the district Youth Union, at Cam Lo Townlet Primary School.
Part of the new 2019 partnership between Project RENEW and the local Youth Union, this MRE event is aimed at enhancing the learning experience of schoolchildren and adults, through their active engagement and participation, to keep them safe from Unexploded Ordnance (UXO).
Primary school children are given opportunities to pick themes they like and activities they enjoy that include a knowledge corner, interactive games, arts, communications, and MRE-themed stage plays, dramas and comedy, and quizzes. Meanwhile, on this occasion teachers and Youth Union members from other communes in Cam Lo District came to observe the event and provide their feedback to the Project RENEW team for modification and further replication into their localities. (In late 2018, many primary and secondary schools were merged as a result of a government decree on educational reform.)
“I find this kind of child-based MRE session a big help in reducing the workload for teachers,” said Mr. Le Thanh Trang, a teacher at the Cam Thuy Commune Primary and Secondary School. “Meanwhile, it helps increase interaction and participation of the school children,” she said. “We will definitely duplicate this model in our incoming MRE activities.”
During fiscal year 2017-2018, Project RENEW and Quang Tri’s district Youth Unions organized 149 MRE sessions. About 38,000 children and adults were directly exposed to UXO safety messages and guidance on safe behavior.
In 2018, UXO call-outs by local people enabled roving Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams managed by Project RENEW and Norwegian People’s Aid to conduct 687 spot tasks, resulting in 5,353 items of UXO being safely destroyed.
2018 also marked the first year first year since 1975, when the war ended, that Quang Tri Province had zero casualties.
The following chart shows the annual reduction in UXO deaths and injuries during the period of 2008 to 2018 in Quang Tri Province.
“In our 2018-2019 Action Plan, we plan to promote interactive and experience-based MRE activities at all levels of Project RENEW,” said Nguyen Thanh Phu, Project RENEW MRE Officer. “The objective is to expand these activities into all of Quang Tri Province and to replicate the MRE model in Quang Ngai Province, as requested by the provincial government there.”
Project RENEW’s Mine Risk Education Program is primarily funded by Irish Aid through the Irish Embassy in Vietnam, with additional support through the Vietnam Assistance Project (VAP) and FJC – A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds.
Project RENEW was established in 2001 as a joint effort between the government of Quang Tri Province and interested INGOs to “restore the environment and neutralize the effects of the war” – with the main focus on unexploded ordinance.
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