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From: Child participation – Footsteps 38

How to encourage children to share their views and take part in community activities

Thousands of children all over the world are in danger of death or injury from land mines and unexploded bombs. An estimated 100 million land mines lie buried in many different countries. They are used by soldiers and terrorists and are easily available and cheap to buy. Land mines must be removed to prevent children and adults being killed and maimed – but this is difficult, slow and expensive as few areas are mapped to show where mines have been laid. Children can learn to be alert to the dangers in areas where mines and other unexploded weapons are known to exist, learn how to avoid them and encourage others to do the same.

Land mines come in many different sizes, shapes and colours. They are usually painted to make them hard to see: green in forest areas and brown or black for farming areas. Whatever the design of a land mine, it can never tell the difference between war and peace, or the difference between the steps of a child or a soldier.

Mines come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They should never be picked up, but only destroyed by mine clearance teams.

Effects on children’s lives


Some ideas for role plays

Encouraging awareness

Teachers can train children to recognise what mines look like. They can help them learn the warning signs (sticks, coloured tape, notices) used to show that a mine is nearby. They may be able to invite mine clearance teams to talk at the school or invite children injured by mines to share their stories.

Most importantly, teachers can help children learn what to do if they see a suspected land mine. Local authorities may use variations in different countries, so always follow the local procedure when available. See the example of a procedure below.

If you're a child and you see a land mine - what should you do? This is a typical procedure, but find out the exact version for use in your country.

Children could draw posters to explain the correct procedures. They could make up role plays, games, songs or poems to help them learn and remember the correct steps. Children should never be encouraged to go looking for mines.

This information is adapted from an activity sheet on land mines prepared by Child to Child, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL. Details of how to obtain more information are on page 15. 

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