Mine risk education is the first step to enable KPK district’s returnees to recover their livelihood
In 2009, the republic of Pakistan experienced its latest bout of armed confrontation between Pakistani Armed Forces and Swat-based Taliban militants. It resulted in some of the most serious fighting yet seen in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), renamed today Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The fighting created a mass exodus of people from villages throughout the districts of Buner and Swat and increased the vulnerability of the local population that for different reasons didn’t have the chance to move and seek safer locations where to stay. Encouraged by the Pakistani Authorities, the displaced populations soon regained their home areas.
Unfortunately the heavy fighting left a large amount of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), posing further threat into an already precarious situation.
From November 2009, FSD works in Pakistan to alleviate the burden of ERW to its populations in the North Western area by implementing far reaching MRE sessions in villages and towns of return of IDPs in South Swat Valley. In addition, FSD implements MRE activities in the KPK Districts of Buner, Dir and Shangla where urban, rural and displaced people benefitted directly from FSD’s awareness campaign.
The FSD team is working in close contact with the local authorities and the other stakeholders to integrate mine action into relief and development plans and ensure that demining/mine risk education activities impact and benefit the local population.
During Rapid Assessment missions FSD conducted meetings and interviews with displaced in the camps and with the informal leaders here based, to define the priorities to address and the most acceptable way to conduct the action. The same was then done at local community levels to ensure sound understanding from all stakeholders.
FSD trained twelve teams of well qualified and experienced men and women hailing form the concerned districts, each team consisting of four field officers who visits the authorities, communities, civil societies, associations, Schools and inform the people about the threats of the Unexploded Ordnance.
FSD innovative Post Clearance Assessment Reports are used by our development partners to help them plan their interventions in places where they have restricted access.
From the beginning of FSD’s Operation in KPK, over half a million women, men and children were directly reached and taught about the risks of living in an area polluted by UXOs.
FSD reached its beneficiaries through School enrolment lists, local health care system, mosques, professional corporation distribution lists from Aid Agencies
Through the 3400 MRE sessions FSD conducted from the offset of its operations in Pakistan, the beneficiaries’ behavior towards their environment evolved, thus increasing their safety during movements for work or to the market, water collection, agriculture or home gardening, home care, and for the children, safety while playing. They will also report the presence of UXOs to relevant authorities.