Recently the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) started training teams of deminers in eastern Cambodia, and the new group is all female.
For over 20 years NPA has been working in Cambodia and the South East Asian nation was the first country where NPA established a mine action program.
Earlier this month NPA started training work for new teams, based in Ban Lung town, in the Rattanakiri province. The new team members are all female, who were recruited from the affected communities in east Cambodia.
The training course, which is attended by 24 students, will take place over a period of eight weeks and the team members will become operational on June 1 2013. The training is supervised by experienced national staff and one international advisor.
For the past 15 years NPA has been implementing projects in support of national authorities and local organizations, and Cambodia was among the first countries to become a signatories to the landmine ban treaty, but has not yet signed the cluster munitions treaty.
Last year NPA started a new survey operation for cluster munitions and clearance of the most contaminated areas in Rattanakiri province, in east Cambodia at the border with Vietnam and Laos. The aim with the project was to assist provincial authorities to better understand the problems encountered by local population from cluster munitions, and to prevent further increase in accidents and release safe and cleared land back to the most affected villagers.
NPA aims to conduct survey and clearance operations and will follow a village to village approach for the next 1-2 years in this province. The increased focus and awareness about the situation and problems steming from cluster munitions would potentially move Cambodia closer to signing the cluster munitions treaty and assist people in east Cambodia to live more safely and without fear from the unexploded mines contaminating their land.
NPA’s focus in Cambodia has long been the clearance of landmines along the border to neighbouring Thailand and the last few years NPA has observed that accidents and impact from Cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war has increased for the people living in eastern part of the country.
Read more about NPA’s activities in Cambodia here