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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid