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Mine awareness competitions in Bosnia-Herzegovina





Mine Awareness Competition Finals held in Foca, Respublika Srpska on 15.12.01

 © Johan Sohlberg/ICRC  


Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most heavily mine affected countries of the world. Several thousands lives fall victims to the mines over the past decade, and this " hidden threat " continue to seriously endanger people's lives. A process of demining is a very slow and expensive one and it will take decades until most mines are cleared all over the country.

This situation leaves the mine awareness programs with a highly serious and important obligation - to warn people of the danger they are faced with in every-day's lives. There are different activities undertaken to achieve this at goal.

Mine awareness of the ICRC and the Red Cross in BiH is undertaking series of activities, such as presentations to the most endangered categories of the population, public and media campaigns, work with the school kids, ... which are implemented by the network of 96 instructors employed in each municipality throughout the country.

One of these activities was recently carried out with a great success. Namely, Red Cross in cooperation with the ministries of education of the two Bosnian entities successfully organized mine awareness competitions for the elementary school children. School teams, winners from the municipal and cantonal/regional round of competitions have, last week, measured their skills and knowledge in mine awareness at the level of entities - in Sarajevo for the Federation of BiH entity and in Srbinje for the Republika Srpska.

" It was very important that children representing all the communities and municipalities from Bosnia were competing, because it was necessary that they pass the knowledge about the mines threat to as many of their colle agues as possible " , was the common message from the organizers of this third entity level competition for school kids in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To decrease number of victims, which in 2001 was already significantly decreased - 12, comparing with 29 children mine victims in 2000, is a very complex and difficult task. That is why activities, such as mine awareness competitions are recognized as very important ones by not only those involved in the programs, but by all the Bosnian communities and peoples.