Mine Risk Education (MRE)

Mine risk education for returning refugees creating secure conditions in which to promote safe development

Mine Risk Education (previously known as Mine Awareness Training) involves HALO teams visiting schools or community centres to warn people, and particularly children, of the dangers of straying into minefields or tampering with unexploded ordnance.

The effectiveness of MRE varies from country to country. Some external studies conducted in hospitals have shown that as high as 95% of mines and ordnance casualties had previously received MRE from HALO or other agencies such as UNICEF - yet the individuals had entered minefields through simple economic necessity – such as shepherding their flocks or cutting firewood. In these areas, future casualties will only be avoided by the deployment of actual HALO demining teams to remove the risk.

In other countries, the combination of MRE, common sense and less pressure for land has meant that the number of human casualties has declined considerably. But the irony is that without “human casualties” many donors or agencies (such as the UN in Kosovo) consider mineclearance funding to be either unnecessary or of very low priority – resulting in large areas of farmland left uncultivated, frequent livestock casualties, and even access to water and markets denied. So in these situations a “successful” MRE programme can delay land being cleared of mines for many years....