News / Africa

Danish Demining Group Helps Empower Somali Communities

Mine risk education provided to people fleeing famine and drought

William Eagle

An NGO has been working in Somalia to help bring stability and safety to communities living in fear of landmines.

The Danish Demining Group (DDG) says it’s been working throughout the country to clear deadly mines. Even more -- it’s also been educating communities at a grassroots level about what they can do to create a safer environment.

“The programs are going well, but we have some obstacles towards implementation,” said Klaus Ljoerrinng Pedersen, the DDG regional director for the Horn of Africa. "Access is a key requirement, obviously, and the areas that have been occupied by Al Shabaab have been inaccessible for us,” he said.

“We had some earlier negotiations a year ago but they wouldn’t allow us in do to our humanitarian mine action work. We were seen as part of the work of the UN in Somalia,” said Pedersen.

But the group still has been able to put many mine actions programs in place throughout the country and those, said Pedersen, are doing well.

The current famine in Somalia presents challenges for mine safety because of the huge movement of people.

“Famine causes people to move. They need to move away from the drought-ridden areas,” said Pedersen, who explained, “They walk for days and days. That results in two things: First, people are displaced so they don’t know the area they are walking into -- they don’t know if there are some in fields. Second, people are focused on their food situation so they do take risks.”

Pedersen said people need to be educated about the risks and DDG does work to deliver mine risk education to people who are on the move. The group also does clearance as soon as it learns of dangerous objects.

Through research, Pedersen said, DDG found that one of the best ways for communities to be safe is to empower them to create their own safe environments.

“This basically means we mobilize communities and have them formalize a safety plan, where they identify the risks and the solutions,” said Pedersen, who added that basically the safety plans are owned by the communities.”

He said where it is necessary, the communities are supported by the DDG and other organizations.

“Whenever we do this and empower them to identify and envision a safe community, people become proud and have a sense of duty. They take on responsibility to take charge of their own destiny,” said Pedersen.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid