Munitions Risk Education

What Golden West Humanitarian Foundation Does
Munitions Risk Education

Munitions and Mine Risk Education (MRE)

Landmines are often described as the perfect soldiers, they don’t need food, water or sleep to function and can continue to serve their purpose for decades. In most cases, they continue to work long after conflict has ceased, posing a huge risk to innocent lives. Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) pose a similar problem to landmines. If these deadly weapons are disturbed, either by accident or on purpose, they can cause devastating destruction. Those most at risk of ERW discovery are children; naturally curious and playful.

Although not removed, the risk can be lessened through suitable education programs that teach the typical indicators of landmine and ERW contamination. Knowing what to look for when entering unknown areas and the correct action for this situation can lead to a reduction in the number of casualties. Golden West has embarked on a number of programs over the years to educate children and adults to the dangers of ERW and Landmines. These programs have been delivered in numerous countries around the world, in different languages and to different sections of society.

The Indicator Program

The Golden West Indicator Program provides country-specific training and image-rich materials that offer a visual key to environmental indicators signalling the presence of ERW. This Program empowers community members to mark the location of a found threat and submit a report to authorities utilizing a simple reporting tool. It has been found that if the local population in an ERW contaminated country believes there will be assistance if a threat is reported, they will be much more likely to proactively assist the ERW clearance solution. If the authorities are given more specific information about threats, they will be able to react to more threats.

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Children’s Education Division

In post-conflict zones, children often fall victim to the deadly legacies of war. Our Children’s Education Division was created to fill the critical need for educational materials geared towards children that teach them what to do when they find Explosive Remnants of War (ERW).

Golden West has produced an educational book – Vinh and Trinh’s Adventure – that teaches both children and adults the dangers of ERW and the correct procedures for calling the authorities when a dangerous item is discovered. Written in both Vietnamese and English and with illustrations utilizing local cultural elements, this book has had multiple distributions in Vietnam. The success of this book has encouraged a further printed project: a graphic novel is currently in development that will teach solely through illustration, thus eliminating translation issues.

In collaboration with Michigan State University’s M.I.N.D lab, Golden West has developed a Munitions Risk Education (MRE) game to teach children the indicators of ERW contamination through interactive play. Using the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) platform, the MRE game has been distributed to children in developing nations. Visual cues of ERW contamination exist within the game that mimic those found in real life. When a mistake is made, a local mine specialist appears to explain what happened and how to avoid making the same mistake in the future.