Peru : Mine-awareness campaign
24-10-2002 News Release 02/43
In late September the ICRC conducted a major campaign in cooperation with the Peruvian national police to raise awareness of the dangers of antipersonnel mines in 14 villages particularly affected by the problem. (includes pictures)
The campaign, which featured a puppet play, reached more than 5,600 people in Junín and Huancavelica provinces, including community leaders, children, young people, parents, teachers and farmers.
At the beginning of each presentation, the audience was told what antipersonnel mines look like, how to recognize them, where they are laid, whom to alert in the event of an accident and what to do when a mine has been detected. Then the puppet play was performed and translated into Quecha. This was followed by a question-and-answer period.
The play related three stories in which local villagers who disregard safety recommendations or are unaware of the dangers posed by mines are injured in mine blasts, the message being that people should heed calls for prudence and learn to recognize antipersonnel mines. For additional impact, the ICRC recorded a song for children and young people and distributed leaflets r elating a story on the same theme. These materials were given to the teachers in charge of relaying the message in school.
The Unidad de Comunidades Campesinas de la Sierra Central del Perú (an association of Andean farming communities) also took part in the project. During each performance its officials translated the dialogue into Quecha so that everyone could understand it and take part in the discussion.
Although the mine-awareness programme was mainly designed for children, who are particularly at risk, all the inhabitants of the villages concerned, parents included, showed keen interest in the play and its underlying message – so much so that they asked that the play be performed elsewhere with the support of the authorities. " We'd like the message to be spread wherever people are threatened by mines. We don't want any more accidents to occur, " said a community leader from the village of Mullaca, whose own child had lost an arm in a mine blast.
This campaign – the first of its kind in Peru – will be followed by other activities aimed at preventing mine accidents.