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Croatia

12-09-2002

ICRC community-based mine/unexploded ordnance awareness programme

 

 See also
 
Mine Incidents in South Eastern Europe.

Evaluation of ICRC mine awareness programmes in the Balkans .
   
  Introduction 
 

  Mine awareness poster. 
 

The Croatian mine-awareness programme was launched jointly by the ICRC and the Croatian Red Cross (CRC) in March 1996. Its twofold objective was to prevent accidents related to mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) and to be sustainable. The programme uses a network of CRC branches to reach high-risk groups such as returnees, hunters, farmers, fishermen and children. It is the only systematic and con tinuously operating mine-awareness programme in Croatia. In October 2001, the national parliament adopted the Law on the Croatian Red Cross, which made the CRC the State's auxiliary in implementing the programme. It will thus continue its activities in all affected areas of Croatia until mines are no longer a threat.

 
   
  Interactive presentations 
 

The strength of the CRC lies in its network of 50 local Red Cross branches located in mine- and UXO-affected areas. In 2001, 125 Red Cross mine-awareness instructors ensured that mine-awareness messages were regularly repeated and reached the public. They gave 3,825 presentations to a total audience of 92,056, which included 53,741 children, 24,903 men and 13,412 women. In 2002, 55 instructors, most of whom are now Red Cross employees, gave 536 mine-awareness presentations by the end of March to 11,094 people in all: 5,357 children, 3,554 men and 2,183 women.

 
 

  Mine awareness poster. 
 

The CRC has established a very good relationship with the Bechtel Corporation, whose workers are exposed to mines on a daily basis.   Some 2,000 Bechtel workers have attended mine-awareness presentations since December 1999.

 
   
  Training 
 

One important aspect of the mine-awareness programme is the ongoing capacity-building of the Red Cross staff involved, including secretaries and instructors. This is achieved through regular meetings at both regional and local levels, one-day workshops designed to ensure that experience is shared and new knowledge communicated, and constantly providing all Red Cross staff with updated information. In 2001 the programme adopted a new child-to-child approach involving mine-awareness training, child participation in mine-awareness activities, active learning methods, planning and evaluation, etc. This approach was new not only in the programme but also as an educational tool in Croatia. Five three-day workshops using the approach were organized for 90 participants.

In 2002, three two-day mine-awareness refresher seminars were held for 45 Red Cross instructors from three regions in Croatia. Topics such as the sustainability of the mine-awareness programme, the Red Cross network, the Ottawa treaty, the role of mine-awareness material and community-based projects, and the place of the instructor in the programme were presented and discussed. The refresher seminars were organized by the CRC.

 
   
  Community - based programme 
 

To mobilize and empower communities and enlist the support of local authorities and media, a community-based approach was introduced in autumn 1998 using the network of the 50 Red Cross branches. Since then, the ICRC has supported and facilitated local initiatives throughout mine-affected communities. In 2001, 138 projects were organized by CRC secretaries and instructors targeting 50,000 people (both children and adults). In 2002, 19 projects targeting 4,110 people were organized by the end of March.

 

  Mine awareness poster. 
 

The year 2001 was marked by the integration of the mine-awareness programme into traditional Red Cross activities, management of the programme by the Red Cross branches and mine-affected communities, and financial contributions to the programme from the communities.

One of the programme's flagship activities is a multimedia exhibition , which has been highly effective in generating community awareness of the danger of mines and UXO. Alongside photographs illustrating the landmine problem in Croatia, communities contribute to the exhibition in whatever form they choose: eco-messages, drawings, short stories, recitals, drama sessions, costumes, dancing, celebrations of Statehood Day, etc. A total of 29 10-day ex hibitions were held in mine-affected areas in 2001, and six more through the end of March 2002. The exhibition is also frequently used by NGOs and government institutions.

A project providing playgrounds for children who live in mine-affected areas, initiated by the Vinkovci Red Cross branch, is an example of the mine-awareness programme being integrated into the community. Five safe playgrounds have already opened in the Vinkovci area. The local Red Cross mobilized the whole community, including the municipality, which donated the land, the bank, which paid for the playground equipment, the theatre group, which organized a mine-awareness performance, etc. This project is continuing in 2002 with the aim of covering 30 villages in mine-affected communities. Other projects include sport competitions, radio programmes, youth events, first aid, theatre performances, blood donation, etc.

 A  play entitled "Ne, ne...mi-ne", based on the story of Scarecrow, a slightly absent-minded and reckless character, was created by the theatre group from the mine-infested town of Sisak. Scarecrow is a " mine-souvenir " hunter whose stories are always a bit exaggerated. He brags a lot, and thinks that he knows everything about landmines, while his caring friend, a mine-clearance operator, tries to find him and save him from danger. Children in the audience take an active part in the play, which helps them to learn more and communicate mine-awareness better to other children and also to adults. This pro-active approach to the learning process makes children more responsible when it comes to decisions affecting their own behaviour in dangerous areas.

" Ne, ne...mi-ne " was the most successful recent play in Croatia. The attention it attracted at the national level, especially among the authorities, contributed to the positive image of the programme. In 41 performances in schools, cinemas, etc., it reached over 8,000 pupils. It was so well received that funding of further performances was even recommended by the government to potential donors at the Donor Conference held in Zagreb in September 2001. In 2002, the Croatian Mine Action Centre took over financial responsibility for the play with the aim of having it performed in schools in 14 mine-affected counties.

 
   
  National media campaign 
 

  Mine awareness brochure. 
 

Media campaigns are important in Croatia. They are nearly the only means of reaching men aged 25 to 60 years, a high-risk group. Five mine-awareness spots  and 15 radio spots or jingles were produced jointly by the ICRC, the CRC and the Croatian Mine Action Centre. The spots were broadcast on national television two or three times a day at prime time on a pro bono basis. The campaign lasted all through 2001 and was stepped up at the end of the year when two mine incidents occurred. The mine-awareness spots are continuing to appear on national television in 2002.

 An  animated film entitled "Mines — the invisible killer" was produced jointly with PLOP Animation Artwork in Zagreb. As it was the first animated film with a mine-awareness message, its national launch attracted considerable attention and was attended by representatives of the national authorities. The CRC produced printed materials (posters, flyers and school agendas) to accompany the film's distribution. The animated film recently received a University Film and Video Association Carole Fielding award.  

    

There are over 55,000 hunters in Croatia. Since hunters are the group that is most at risk from mines and the hardest to reach with mine-awareness messages, the CRC proposed that a television spot be produced specifically for them. Entitled "Hunters and mines", it was produced jointly by the CRC, the ICRC and the hunters'association. It was shown on national television.

 
   
  Red Cross mine awareness programme supports mine action 
 

The solution to the mine problem is perceived by the affected communities to lie first and foremost in clearance activities. The ICRC has therefore been actively lobbying and providing support for complementary mine-related activities. In particular, it initiated and supported the following:

  • establishment of a section for mine v ictims in the National Association of Invalids

  • the first national assessment of some 300 civilian mine victims

  • the first photo news report on children injured by mines, with a view to securing donations

  • promotion of a booklet on mine victims'rights

Cooperation with the Croatian Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) resulted in the publication of a book in English entitled " Planet mines " . The Regional Conference on Landmines, held in Zagreb in 1999, was convened jointly by the government, the Croatian Mine Action Centre, the CRC and the CCBL.

 

  Cover page of a school book. 
 

In addition, the Croatian Mine Action Centre organized a first-ever Donor's Conference in September 2001, which confirmed that resolution of the mine issue is a high priority for the Republic of Croatia. The CRC presented the mine-awareness programme while the government introduced the projects which they considered to be the most needed and effective. Of five such projects, four were from the ICRC/CRC mine-awareness programme.

In 2001, for the first time, a Mine Action Magazine was produced jointly by the Croatian Mine Action Centre and the ICRC. A thousand copies were distributed at both national and community levels. In future, beginning with the second issue, mine victims themselves will design the magazine and prepare its layout, thus ensuring their active integration into the mine-action programm e.

 Statistics on mine victims for the year 2002  

    

 Year  

 Total  

 Male  

 Female  

 Children  

 Injuries  

 Killed  

2'002

until September

20

16

 

4

16

4

Organisations we collaborate with:
 
CRO MAC  
Mine Victim Association  
Croatian Red Cross