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Gender and Mine Action - Literature Review

Pillars of Mine Action:

I           Mine Risk Education (formerly mine awareness) (MRE)

II           Mine Clearance (MC)

III          Victim Assistance (VA)

IV         Advocacy (A)

V          Stockpile Destruction (SD)

Stage in project cycle

P           planning  

A           assessment

I            implementation

M          monitoring

E           evaluation

BAD HONNEF FRAMEWORK II, (1999). Guidelines for Development Oriented Mine Action Programs. Berlin , Germany : German Initiative to Ban Landmines.

Although not specifically a lesson learnt or illustration of a program, these guidelines illustrate calls for gender sensitivity in planning mine action. Developed at the First International Conference of Experts in Bad Honnef in 1997 and reviewed in 1999. These guidelines have been adopted by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Although the guidelines are succinct and integrate gender aspects, they have not been extensively institutionalised.

The guidelines recommend that training in Mine Risk Education should use methods appropriate to the gender and social groups of beneficiaries. They also recommend that non-local workers need to be sensitised in local culture. With reconstruction and peace building, the guidelines recommend strong consideration of non-discrimination of ex-soldiers, particularly victims of mine accidents.

Countries: general

Pillar: MRE , VA

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

BENINI, A., MOULTON, L., CONLEY, C., (2003). Landmines and Local Community Adaptation. Washington D.C. : Survey Action Centre.

This report, produced for the Global Landmine Survey, notes that although males constitute the majority of mine victims, women are at particular risk when they collect water, firewood and fodder in mined areas, as they have no alternatives.

Countries: Chad , Thailand , Yemen

Pillar: MC, VA

Project Stage: E

BERTHIAUME, A., (2003). Gender and Landmines. Resource prepared for Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program, January 2003. Ottawa , Canada : International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

This resource designed by Berthiaume for training for the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program discusses how men and women are affected differently in conflict and post-conflict situations and that this should be taken into account across all aspects of mine action work. Berthiaume highlights women in particular.

In Afghanistan and Yemen , women have primary responsibility for household work and for the care of the family and dependants and are the primary care-givers to landmine victims. Berthiaume cites OXFAM, noting that in Yemen , women have poorer access to health services than men due to social laws forbidding examination of women by male doctors and a lack of female health workers.

In Mozambique and Angola , gender division of labour has different implications for men and women. Women and men will often grow different crops and have different responsibilities in the crop cycle, thus affecting who works on mined land.

Berthiaume makes a general note that in mine affected countries, men and women have differing mobility patterns, thus they have different exposure and vulnerability to mines. She cites as examples: women’s activities as gathering fuel or water and men’s activities as travelling on public roads.

Regarding mine clearance, Berthiaume highlights UNMAS’ observation that simply counting mine victims says little about the broader impact of mines, and she stipulates that perspectives of men and women must be taken into account when determining mine clearance priorities and mine risk awareness education.

In the area of victim assistance, Berthiaume notes that in the majority of mine affected countries, disabled men rely on wives for support. Whereas disabled women are often abandoned by their husbands or have difficulty finding a husband and may also face difficulty finding employment and caring for children. Berthiaume cites the NGO, “Women for Prosperity”, as providing particular gender sensitive victim assistance in aiding local women mine victims to organise to ban landmines in Cambodia .

Berthiaume discusses the impact of mined land on communities, in particular women. As landmines leave large areas of land unusable for agriculture, this can adversely affect subsistence farmers, many of whom are women. Female mine victims are often forced by economic circumstance to work mined land for food for their families.

Berthiaume highlights the issue of internally displaced Persons (IDPs). Again, Berthiaume focuses on women, citing that 80% of IDPs are women and children. IDPs situated on borders between countries in conflict are often in heavily mined areas and lack access to of health care.

Countries: Afghanistan , Angola , Cambodia , Mozambique , Yemen

Pillar: MRE, MC, VA

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

BOLTON , M.F.G., (2003). Who Benefits from Mine Action? A case study of demining priorities in north west Cambodiausing participatory methods . Thesis (Masters). University of Durham , UK .

Bolton noted gender disaggregated mine-vulnerable daily activities in Prey Chan, Banteay Meanchey province adjacent to the Thai border. His observations were made during Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System (with logistical support provided by Norwegian People’s Aid) mapping exercises in 2003. The exercises where conducted in sex disaggregated groups - 12 women in one and 14 men in the other. The exercises identified that men mainly visit forested areas to collect bamboo shoots, whereas women mainly collect grass for roof thatching. The women seemed to undertake this activity, as the collecting areas (on the Thai side of the border) are deemed to be safe from mines.

When discussing instances of mine accidents, Bolton notes that in conversations, the village men were more sure of mine location than the women, as fear or caution stopped women from venturing far afield.

Bolton also notes that the women’s group produced a less successful map of mine location, with less detail and fine tuning. However the reasons for this were a little unclear and speculative, with Bolton citing one overly-vocal woman dominating the women’s group mapping session as a partial reason.

Country: Cambodia

Pillar: MC

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

BOTTOMLY, R., (2003). Crossing the Divide: Landmines, Villagers and Organisations. Oslo , Norway : International Peace Research Institute.

Bottomly reports that the 2002 Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System (CMVIS) casualty data shows men and boys as most at risk from mines in Cambodia , comprising 61% of victims. Boys under 18 represented 27% of the victims. In the majority of cases of adult males, accidents occurred during ‘livelihood’ activities (farming, foraging etc). Men are also affected by landmine injuries more than women, due to the country’s recent war history. 40% of the adult male casualties became victims due to tampering with UXOs. Children, due to their curiosity, are more likely to be killed or injured through tampering with UXOs (87% of child casualties) rather than landmines.

In Cambodia , males (with average ages mid 20s – late 40s) predominantly carry out mine clearance. These men are often the head of the family, supporting wives and children.

The formal leaders of mine action and technical staff and mine action personnel tend to be men, thus, males tend to set priorities for mine action with little input from women.

Cambodian village women hold primary responsibility for household work, thus are less likely to become mine victims compared to men, who maintain greater mobility due to their agricultural role (land preparation), and foraging (cutting wood, hunting, gathering food). Bottomly also points to social attitudes relating to men and women’s behaviour, exampling that many village deminers (males) do not allow wives or children near mine clearance areas, acknowledging the social attitude that high risk work belongs in the male ‘domain’.

Bottomly quotes Ledgerwood who argues that resulting from the war, many households are now headed by women, and that women are undertaking traditional male activities such as land preparation and foraging.

Due to necessity, women have also independently undertaken mine clearance, typically where the husband has been killed and the female needs to work the land.   Bottomly cites one example of a woman undertaking mine clearance, in part to stop people ‘looking down on her’ or ‘cheating her’.

The impact of mine/UXO accidents goes beyond the victim, the impact being felt through costs of medical assistance, transportation, lowered economic productivity, family debt and discrimination.

Country: Cambodia

Pillar: MC, VA

Project Stage: P, I, E

CHANNEL NEWS ASIA ,   (2003). Tamil rebels training women in Sri Lanka to remove landmines [online]. 16 July 2003 . Available from: http://www.landmineaction.org/news222.asp

[Accessed 23 November 2003 ].

The NGO, “Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation”, has set up 15 teams of deminers under the Humanitarian Demining Unit, yet these teams are insufficient to clear the whole area. Hence, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) demining unit has recruited women to join its ranks. Women are trained by local experts (whereas the males are trained by foreign experts). 60 women began work in August 2003.

Country: Sri Lanka

Pillar: MC

Project Stage: P, A, I

CROPLEY, E., (2004). Girl Power takes hold in Cambodia ’s minefields [online]. Reuters. 1 March 2004 . Available from:http://www.reuters.co.uk [Accessed 7 March 2004].

In Cambodia, ‘Mine Action Team 12’ is an all female demining team run by the UK Mine Advisory Group (MAG), only the second all female demining team in the world, and Cambodia’s first.   MAG formed the group in mid 2003 to give experienced female deminers an opportunity to be promoted within the “male-dominated military style hierarchy”.  

MAG reports that generally, women have a slightly steadier approach to demining, which demands patience and stability, and that the female deminer’s work output is the same as male deminers. MAG reports that the program has been successful and that they plan to create a further two all-female demining teams in 2004.

Reuters reports that the women earn nearly US$200 per month and that the jobs are highly sought after. The presence of the team also enhances people’s perception of the equality of women.

Country: Cambodia

Pillar: MC

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

DANCHURCHAID, (2003). DanChurchAid Provides Angolan Refugees with Mine Risk Education [online]. Available from:http://www.dca.dk [Accessed 31 December 2003].

DanChurchAid (DCA) runs Mine Risk Education   programs from the Kisenge Refugee Camp near the Angolan border at assembly points in preparation for refugees’ return home. A DCA technical advisor and six local facilitators teach in sex disaggregated groups, two women’s groups, two men’s groups and two children’s groups.

Country: Angola

Pillar: MRE

Project Stage: I

GUNARATNAN, H.R., GUNARATNAN, S. and SOMASUNDARAM, D., (2003). The Psychosocial Effects of Landmines in Jaffna. Medicine, Conflict and Survival, 19(3).

The authors state that in Sri Lanka , females constitute 1/3 of mine victims. They note that female mine victims are unlikely to marry.

Country: Sri Lanka

Pillars: VA

Project Stage: A

HYNES, P. (2003). War and Women [online]. ZMag. Available from:

http://www.zmag.org/content/ForeignPolicy/hynes_warandwomen.cfm
[Accessed 5 February 2004].

In Bajaur , Pakistan , on the Afghan border, women constitute 35% of mine victims. They are injured whilst collecting animal feed, crossing fields and doing daily activities. Hynes’ figure is higher than other estimates, and may take account what many consider is an under-reporting of female victims.   Mine Risk Education sessions are provided only in mosques and schools to men and boys.   Females must rely on males to educate them of mine risks and awareness at home.

In Asia and Africa , Hynes notes that women make-up a larger percentage (up to 80%) of farmers than men.

When females are injured, they can lose the ability to feed their family, so they are often abandoned by the husband and may be forced to beg on the streets or be a further victim to sexual exploitation.

In Cambodia , nearly half of the land is unsuitable for human use or cultivation. Thus Hynes postulates that women and children are likely to make up the majority percentage of mine victims, as they carry out the activities such as grazing animals, farming, collection of water and firewood. Hynes reports that many young widows have turned to prostitution to be able to care for their family. Women head 35% of rural households, most likely due to the male household head becoming a mine victim.

Countries: Pakistan , Cambodia

Pillars: MRE , VA

Project Stage: A, M, E

INTERNATIONAL PHYSICIANS FOR THE PREVENTION OF NUCLEAR WAR, (1997). Landmines – A Global Health Crisis. IPPNW Global Health Watch Report Number 2. Boston , USA : IPPNW.

IPPNW notes anecdotal evidence from the field that “suggests that women, generally being lighter than men, are more likely to die soon after detonating a mine and therefore never reach hospital.”   IPPNW also notes that many communities in Africa give priority to the health care of males and that women may not be judged valuable enough to be worth expensive medical care.

In Cambodia , IPPNW quotes statistics that up 87% of mine victims are adult men.

Countries: Africa , Cambodia

Pillars: VA

Project Stage:   A, M, E

INTERNATIONAL PHYSICIANS FOR THE PREVENTION OF NUCLEAR WAR, (2000). Reporting the Consequences of Landmines to the Community and National Agencies. In IPPNW, Primary Care of Landmine Injuries In Africa . Boston ,USA : IPPNW.

IPPNW notes that there are gaps in knowledge about disabled survivors such as: how victim’s families are affected; psychosocial needs; what services they require; to what extent victims can return to participating in society; whether they are using their prothesis; and to what extent the qualities of their lives may be improved. All these issues should be disaggregated into gender specific areas and needs.

Countries: Sub-saharan Africa - general

Pillars: VA

Project Stage: A, I, M, E

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES (ICBL), (2002). Open Letter to Participants to the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan [online]. Tokyo , Japan : ICBL. Available from:http://www.icbl.org/news/2002/146.php [Accessed 24 September 2003].

Although not specifically a lesson learnt or illustration of a program, it is important to note calls by various groups – in this case ICBL – for gender specific targeting in post-conflict reconstruction and mine-action.

Country: Afghanistan

Pillars: MRE , VA , MC

Project Stage: P

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES (ICBL), 2003). Angola Landmine Monitor Report [online]. Available from: http://www.iclb.org/lm/2003/angola.html [Accessed 1 October 2003 ].

HALO provided Mine Risk Education in 2002, noting that only 26% (of 41, 564) attendees were women.

Also in 2002, UNICEF provided mine risk education to 230 492 beneficiaries, of which 26% were women, 18% men and 56% children.

The Landmine Monitor quotes figures from the National Demining Institute (formerly Instituto Nacional de Remoção de Objectos e Engenhos Explosivos -  INAROEE) with sex disaggregated data for casualties in 2002: 76% male and 26% children (not sex disaggregated) of 287 victims.

Country: Angola

Pillars: MRE , VA

Project Stage: I, M

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES (ICBL), (2003). Albania Landmine Monitor Report [online]. Available from: http://www.icbl.org/lm/2003/albania.html [Accessed 24 September 2003].

The Landmine Monitor reports that Mine Risk Education strategies (undertaken by Albania Red Cross) were revised to assess gender issues relating to women as a potential target group.

Country: Albania

Pillars: MRE

Project Stage: P, E

LANDMINE ACTION, (2003). Explosive Remnants of War. ERW in Sri Lanka . London , UK : Landmine Action/Co-operative Bank.

This report notes that victims of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) are predominantly male, causal factor being related to the division of labour. The men undertake economic activities such as collecting resources (firewood, coconuts, palmyra, milk) or grazing animals. As the male in Sri Lanka is typically the principle income earner, if he is killed or disabled by a ERW, the family and community suffer economic implications.

Women bear the long term burden of consequences of ERW. They become widows, have to become the main income earner and assume extra responsibilities, yet they do not receive extra welfare assistance. These burdens are doubled if the woman also has to care for mine/ERW disabled children.

From these observations, the report recommends collection of sex disaggregated data of victims.

            The report also notes that the majority of female victims were bystanders when accidents with ERW occurred, typically when the ERW is near the home. Women also became ERW victims when cleaning land around their house or when ERWs were used to prop up cooking pots above a fire.

Amongst children, males are again the main victims, typically accidents occur when the boys are gathering resources such as firewood or coconuts. The boys tend to tamper with ERWs deliberately due to curiosity. Again, girl victims of ERWs were mainly bystanders when the accidents occurred.

Country: Sri Lanka

Pillars: VA, MRE

Project Stage: A, E

MACHEL, G., (2001). The Impact of War on Children. New York , USA : UNICEF.

Children suffering from landmine injuries place a specific burden on women who are typically the primary care-giver, especially in developing countries where most landmine injuries occur.

Country: general

Pillars: VA

Project Stage: A, E

MATTHEWS, S., (2000). Women in Conflict. Conflict trends 4/2000, ACCORD. Pretoria , South Africa : University ofPretoria .

In Africa , females and children are major victims in conflict. The psychological consequences of war are different for females and males. Mental health complications experienced by women are frequently given inadequate attention. Females can experience greater trauma from loss of family members, especially if the victim is the head of the family or bread winner. Women are also susceptible to rape in conflict situations.

Countries: general, Africa

Pillars: VA

Project Stage: A, E

MENSTUFF, ( 1 January 2002 ). Landmines, What Groups Are Affected Most? Menstuff [online]. Available from:http://www.menstuff.org/issues/byissue/landmines.html [Accessed 1 March 2004].

This brief cites the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reporting that 92.7% of landmine casualties are male. In Afghanistan , males become mine victims through activities such as farmers ploughing fields, shepherds recovering a lost animal, drivers swerving onto the shoulder of the road to miss a pothole or men employed in mine sweeping operations. Boys under 15 years account for 19.8% of landmine casualties. The boys may become mine victims due to picking up unexploded mines out of curiosity, or combing through rubble to collect scrap metal to sell to support their families.

Country: Afghanistan

Pillar: VA

Project Stage: P

MINE ACTION, (2003). Afghanistan . Mine Action Program Afghanistan [online]. Available from:

http://www.mineaction.org [Accessed November 2003].

Mine Action Program Afghanistan (MAPA) listed “integration of processes for gender equity and the advancement of women” as a major goal for 2003.

Country: Afghanistan

Pillars: MC, MRE , VA

Project Stage: P

MINE ACTION GROUP (MAG), (2003). About MAG. [online]. MAG UK . Available from:

http://www.mag.org.uk/magtest/topintro.htm [Accessed 25 September 2003].

Mine Action Group (MAG) UK has a policy of training demining staff regardless of sex or disability. MAG also favourably discriminates towards women that have lost husbands to landmines and to mine amputees.

Country: general

Pillars: MC, VA

Project Stage: P, A, I

MINE ACTION (2003). Iran [online].

(source was UN DDA http://www.mineaction.org/countries/countries_overview.cfm?country_id=709. Reference no longer available.)

In Iran , MAG maintains an employment policy for national staff involved in demining of favouring women who have lost husbands to landmines and war. Women and amputees are often made the most vulnerable by the impact of a landmine explosion.

Country: Iran

Pillars: VA

Project Stage: P, I

MITCHELL, S., (2003). Gender Report. UXO Clearance And Community Development in Thua Thien Hue Province .Melbourne : AVI.

Mitchell reports that in Thua Thien Hue Province in Vietnam , there are a higher percentage of women-headed households in areas of high UXO incidence. The burden on women is compounded by the additional time they must spend caring for a mine victim family member and the impact of social discrimination. Female victims of UXOs have worse long-term social and marital status than men.

Mitchell studied strategies undertaken by the UXO Clearance and Community Development project (CCD – funded by AusAID) to engage UXO affected households in dialogue and action for their development, by looking at focus groups of women farmers and female-headed households and UXO-affected households with male and female heads. Interviews conducted by the CCD project highlighted the stigma from UXO injuries that was felt by women. The women seemed to suffer from an inferiority complex and believed that due to their injuries, ‘no man would want a wife like them.’ The project looked at addressing female-headed and UXO-affected households by ensuring their voice in decision-making, access to training and demonstration plots, nurseries, livestock training and extension work.

Mitchell recommends the following strategies to consult UXO affected households: safe transport for elderly; childcare should be offset with payment, or higher rates for women’s attendance where appropriate; meetings timed taking into account busy schedules of women; non-threatening environment which may mean separate meetings for women.

Mitchell also recommends extension training sessions solely for women, targeting female UXO victims, so that they may feel comfortable to speak freely and ask questions.

Country: Vietnam

Pillars: VA

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

OGNJANOVIC, L. (2003). Women’s Empowerment in Mine Action in Central Vietnam . Thesis (Masters), Deakin University ,Australia .

Ognjanovic reports that her field work and research on projects on UXO in Viet Nam shows that UXOs have a ‘very gendered impact on the community’. Male victims of UXOs display frustration and anger due to their lack of ability to contribute to the family income. The men may begin to feel redundant and burdensome to their family. In contrast, women of UXO affected families actually may gain confidence due to their increased necessity to care for the family and earn family income.

Ognjanovic notes that failure to recognise consequences felt by UXO victims results in UXO households continuing to feel marginalised from community activities and subsequent project development activities. There appear to be no mechanisms to address the specific gender needs of UXO affected households.

In Cambodia , social attitudes towards female-headed UXO affected households (where the husband has been killed/injured by mine/UXO) can influence the ability of these women to access resources. Ognjanovic notes that although UXO-affected widows receive sympathy and respect, single mothers can experience stigma and isolation, making it difficult and uncomfortable for them to participate in village/community or Women’s Unions meetings where they can receive information, training and skills. In addition, women are expected to work longer hours on productive and domestic tasks, and may have had their work burden doubled if their husband or children are mine victims, thereby limiting their time to attend training workshops to assist in productive/agricultural development. This can disadvantage these women, as they will have little access to information and education if they do not attend these meetings and they or their family will be less likely to be selected by officials for training and courses.   Furthermore, as extension service staff are more likely to communicate with men, female headed households are likely to continue to be denied access to extension services (information and training related to production activities) that could assist in improving the household livelihood.   Ognjanovic notes that the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development and the Committee for the Advancement of Women reports that commune officials generally expect the Women’s Union to provide support to UXO affected female headed households.

Ognjanovic reports that the UXO Clearance and Community Development project is attempting to address this problem by giving bonus payments to households where a female attends training, thus encouraging women to participate. She also notes that gender sensitivity needs to be incorporated in extension service training, as women may feel uncomfortable in attending sessions that are dominated by men.

Ognjanovic suggests supporting an increase in the number of female training staff and encourage participatory training methods and diagrammatical materials (to access illiterate population), which are more accessible to women.

Country: Vietnam

Pillars: VA

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

REHN, E. and   SIRLEAF, E.J., (2002). Women, War Peace. Progress of the World's Women 2002, Vol. 1: The Independent Experts’ Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women’s Role in Peace-building. New York : UNIFEM. Available from:

http://www.unifem.org/index.php?f_page_pid=149 [Accessed 8 March 2004].

Rehn and Sirleaf report that w omen and children are often the most exposed to landmines, especially if they are primarily responsible for gathering fuel or water. Although the numbers are not documented, women are much less likely than children and men to have access both to treatment and to rehabilitation and prostheses. In Angola women and girls who have lost limbs from mine injuries have faced social isolation and economic loss.

The report also notes that the social responsibility of caring for the ill or disabled adds heavily to the workload of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. Rehn and Sirleaf give an example of a woman whose child had been severely disabled by a landmine. The woman spent most of her day caring for the child and assisting him learn how to read as she saw this as the child’s only hope of relief from his disability.

The authors highlight the fact that resources for basic health care for war-affected women must compete with resources used inter alia for clearing landmines.

The authors encourage increased female participation in post conflict reconstruction. They stipulate that this is particularly relevant to Mine Clearance programs, as including women in decision-making can change priorities for mine clearance.

Countries: general, Angola

Pillar: VA, MC

Project Stage: A, M, E

RUBERRY, M., (2003). The Effects of Landmines on Women in the Middle East . Journal of Mine Action [online], 5 (3). Available from:

http://maic.jmu.edu/journal/5.3/focus/Mary_Ruberry/Mary_Ruberry.htm [Accessed 20 December 2003].

Ruberry reports that women in the Middle East are the main nurturers and child rearers, thus if they become widows, they take on an extra burden of providing economically for the family. If injured by a mine, a female’s chance of marrying is likely to be affected. 5% mine victims in Afghanistan are women. The percentage of female mine victims is low due to the restricted mobility of women under Muslim law.

In Afghanistan in 1998 under the Talibanauthorities did not allow women to receive Mine Risk Education and women were not allowed to work, creating a turn to begging if the male breadwinner is killed/disabled. The unemployment rate for disabled women in developing countries is virtually 100%.

In Yemen , women's access to health services is worse than for men because social laws forbid examination of women by male doctors. In Iran , there is little information about mine victims. It may also be difficult for women to access women’s organisations that provide VA.

In Palestine , since 1967, more than half of the mine/UXO victims are children.

Countries: Afghanistan , Iraq , Iran , Yemen , Palestine
Pillars: MRE, MC, VA

Project Stage: A, M

REUTERS, (2003, posted 6 May 2003 ). Landmines Make Spinsters of Young Afghan Girls. Women Peace and Security[online]. Available from: http://list.web.net/lists/listinfo/women-peace-and-security [Accessed December 2003].

Reuters quotes the ICRC orthopaedic centre in Kabul , Afghanistan , that states that mine injuries carry   a large social stigma for women in a conservative Muslim country, such as Afghanistan , where females are “expected to be perfect models of conformity”. An injured female is unlikely to marry and it is also difficult for them to make friends.

Country: Afghanistan

Pillars: VA

Project Stage: A, M, E

TOWNSEND, J., (2003). Women Deminers in Croatia . Journal of Mine Action [online], 7(2). Available from:http://maic.jmu.edu/journal/7.2/focus/townsend/townsend.htm
[Accessed 2 January 2004].

Townsend reports that Croatia has recently created all-women demining teams.   The rationale for these teams being formed stemmed from a need to increase employment opportunities for women ( Croatia ). Some women felt that becoming a deminer broke the ice for other women to apply for employment in mine clearance.

In Croatia , the NGO, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), employs women working as deminers. NPA has a recruitment policy that encourages female applicants, yet not many apply. Only a few of the approximately 600 deminers in Croatiaare women. One interviewee (a female deminer) claimed that women receive the same respect given to male deminers. Even though demining is a male-orientated occupation, women are respected by their fellow male members of the team. NPA maintains a gender neutral policy with recruitment. “If an applicant fails the health check, then he/she does not get the job, regardless of gender.”

In Kosovo, demining teams of mixed sexes have more problems than all female or all male teams. Male members of the team do not always respect the female members as their equals. Observations of the teams show that the female deminers tend to be able to concentrate longer and are more methodical in their work, although they may be slower than males. However, performance varies from individual to individual and not according to gender.

Countries: Croatia , Kosovo

Pillars: MC

Project Stage: I, E

UNITED NATIONS, (2003). Assistance in Mine Action, Report of the Secretary General. New York : UN General Assembly, (A/58/260).

Available from: http://www.womenwarpeace.org/issues/sgmine2003.doc [Accessed 7 March 2004].

In this report, the Secretary General notes that “as women, men, girls and boys tend to do different work, have differing mobility patterns and contribute to family and community life in diverse ways, their possible exposure to landmines and unexploded ordnance and the impact upon them will vary considerably.”

The report goes on to thus call for gender sensitivity in Mine Risk Education, with “ the unique needs and distinct perspectives of women and men, girls and boys must be taken into consideration in the design, implementation and evaluation of mine-action programmes. All aspects of mine action programming must include gender considerations.”

Country: general

Pillar: MRE

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF), (2001). Technical Notes: Special Considerations for Programming in Unstable Situations. New York , USA : Program Division and Office of Emergency Programmes. UNICEF.

UNICEF cites children as constituting 30-40% mine victims. However, throughout UNICEF literature on mine action, there is very little or no sex disaggregation of victims.

UNICEF lists children’s vulnerability as due to the following social, developmental and physical factors, which if further elaborated/investigated, could illustrate gender differences: 1) young children have difficulty in recognising mines/warning signs; 2) children’s curiosity causes them to pick up mines, which can look like toys, children may also scavenge mines for scrap metal to sell; 3) children are more likely to stray from defined paths; 4) repeated exposure to mines causes desensitisation to the dangers, hence mines feature in games of ‘bravery’ ; 5) children often carry out daily tasks – water/wood collection in agrarian communities; 6) child soldiers may be used to test areas for mines; 7) smaller body weight and proximity of body to mine causes greater injury or greater likelihood of death from a mine. Children will also require greater medical treatment, possibly repeated amputation and continual renewal of prosthetics.

Children are also more likely to suffer from prolonged psychological trauma.

UNICEF cites that in many cultures affected by mines, men may have priority for prosthetics. If a parent is a mine victim, children may be forced to forgo education to take care of the parent or provide for the family or assume the adults’ household chores.

UNICEF recognises that “the cost of investing both time and funding into extensive rehabilitation programmes for children and/or women members of a poor household may outweigh the perceived benefits of such attention.”   Thus, to address the gender imbalance, UNICEF has targeted programmes specifically towards supplying prosthetics and socio-economic reintegration to women and children.

Country: general

Pillar: MRE , VA

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

UNITED NATIONS COMMISSSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN, (1995). Agreed Conclusions on the Critical Areas of Concern of the Beijing Platform for Action. New York , USA : United Nations, CSW, (UN sales No. E.00.IV.6). Available from:

http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/index.html

[Accessed 3 March 2004 ].

This report stipulates the need to make Mine Risk Education programs accessible to women and to provide resources and assistance for landmine clearance and sharing of information so that local populations can engage effectively in the safe clearance of mines. The report encourages programs for the rehabilitation and social integration of female victims.

Country: general

Pillar: MRE , VA , MC

Project Stage: P, A, I

UNITED NATIONS DEPARTMENT OF DISARMAMENT AFFAIRS (DDA), (2001). Gender Perspectives on Landmines. New York, USA : DDA/DPKO/UNMAS/OSAGI. Available from:

http://disarmament.un.org:8080/gender/note5.htm

[Accessed 3 March 2004 ].

This briefing note outlines gender perspectives that are important in mine action work to address the lack of gender dimensions in mine action programs. They provide a broad general outline, based on cultural and anecdotal examples and positing questions or issues for mine action program staff to ask within mine action work.

DDA acknowledges that women are often the main carers for mine victims - immediate and long term - and that women’s work is often invisible to outsiders. DDA cites the International Labour Organisation reporting on Cambodia , where disabled men may rely on their wives for support, whilst disabled women are abandoned by their partners or have difficulty finding a partner. Families devastated by landmine injuries can thus face different challenges depending on whether the family mine victim is male or female.

Economic or social gender roles and division of labour can affect a person’s vulnerability to mines. DDA cites the example that within a crop cycle, weeding may be a “woman’s chore”, whilst men may face greater danger on public roads as they often have more mobility than women in mine affected countries. Thus men and women may come into contact with mined land in different ways, hence affecting their vulnerability to mine accidents.

The threat of landmines may also severely restrict women’s mobility and thus family livelihood. DDA examples that it is often women and children that gather fuel or fetch water and may thus run greater risks of mine accidents on some areas. DDA cites anecdotal evidence that men may not pay as great attention to mine warning signs as women.

DDA recommends sex and age disaggregation in data collection as simply counting number of victims “says little about the broader devastating impact” of mines. DDA also recommends targeting and designing Mine Risk Education programs to effectively address women, men, girls or boys and suggests that women’s organisations may be the best vehicles to address women. Further, they recommend that female instructors may be needed to access women and girls in some countries.

DDA points to opinion that focus of mine clearance has shifted from the technical towards a socio-economic approach. Often mined land prevents agricultural use and this may especially affect subsistence farmers (often women) and re-establishment of the local food supply.   Both men’s and women’s priorities must be considered in de-mining programs.   Demining initiatives should also offer employment equally to men and women.

Finally, DDA points to women’s voices as a significant factor in advocacy for the international campaign to ban landmines, and asks how women’s participation might be strengthened and how to further engage men in advocacy.

Countries: general, Cambodia

Pillar: MRE , VA , MC, A

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

UNITED NATIONS DEPARTMENT OF PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS (DPKO), (2000). Namibia Plan of Action on Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations . New York , USA : Lessons Learned Unit, UN.

These guidelines illustrate calls for gender sensitivity in planning peace building and reconstruction, which in many instances would involve mine action programs.

Devised from a seminar conducted by UN Department of Peacekeeping Lessons Learned Unit, these guidelines give general recommendations for peace support operations. In the opening paragraph on negotiations in peace agreements, the Namibia Plan calls for “equal access and participation by women and men in the area of conflict at all levels and stages of the peace process”. The Plan calls for mandates to implement gender mainstreaming in UN Security Council resolutions and that peace support operations should refer to provisions of CEDAW ( Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women).

 The Plan calls for determined efforts to select and appoint female senior field staff and include gender specialists and representatives for missions.

The Plan calls for training of troops/DPKO on sexual harassment and sexual assault. Although not explicit in the Namibia Plan, this has implicit implications in mine action, especially mine clearance, undertaken by missions/military operations.

Country: general

Pillar: MRE , VA , MC,

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT FUND FOR WOMEN, (2004). Women, War, Peace and Landmines [online]. New York : UNIFEM. Available from: http://www.womenwarpeace.org/issues/landmines.htm [Accessed 3 March 2004].

This brief by UNIFEM reports that women are particularly affected by the threat of landmines, “as they comprise the majority of the world’s farmers, gatherers of food, water and firewood.”

UNIFEM recommends that mine action programs consult with women, as women often identify areas for mine clearance - such as transportation routes to markets or fields   - as priorities, which can differ from the priorities as defined by political or military authorities.

The brief also recognises that it is often women or girls that are the primary care givers for mine victims. Females are also usually the long term support providers for mine victims.

In agrarian societies, the loss of a limb for a female can cause her to be ostracised from society. After a mine injury, women are perceived as ‘damaged’ and no longer productive members of society or desirable as a wife, as they can no longer work their traditional role in the fields. For males, often the main economic provider, the loss of a limb can make it impossible to find work.

The brief also mentions Cambodia ’s first all-female demining team, citing a Cambodian woman declaring that “this is a real example of what women in Cambodia can achieve. It will improve the profile of women and promote our position in society.”

The brief reports that the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has recruited a gender specialist to examine how gender perspectives are being integrated into the design and implementation of mine action programs. The consultant will conduct studies of mine-affected countries, work with mine action programs and centres, national authorities and key stakeholders. The consultant will produce a final report serving as guidelines for UN agencies, national authorities and organisations for integrating gender perspectives into mine action programs.

The brief also cites the International Labor Organization as finding in 1998 that, “Evidence from Cambodia illustrates the gender dimension of disability as disabled men relied on their wives for support, while disabled women were abandoned by their partners or had difficulty in finding one.”

Countries: general, Cambodia

Pillar: MRE , VA , MC

Project Stage: P, A, I, M, E

UNITED NATIONS MINE ACTION SERVICE (UNMAS), (1998). Inter-Agency Assessment Mission Report , Ethiopia . New York , USA : UNMAS. Available from: http://www.mineaction.org [Accessed 24 November 2003].

The UNMAS report notes inadequacies in Mine Risk Education, with use of posters only in the national language. This disadvantaged the majority of Ethiopians, where adult literacy rates were 46% for males and 25% for females. The report also made the recommendation of developing cultural and gender appropriate materials for Mine Risk Education.

Country: Ethiopia

Pillars: MRE

Project Stage: E

UNITED NATIONS MINE ACTION SERVICE (UNMAS), (2004). Mine Action Strategy. In: Portfolio of Mine Action Projects -Afghanistan . New York , USA : UNMAS.

In Afghanistan , Mine Action Program Afghanistan (consisting of UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA) and 16 implementing partners) will be targeting Mine Risk Education   towards women, children and youth to promote safe behaviour in affected communities.

Country: Afghanistan

Pillars: MRE

Project Stage: P, I

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL, (2000). Women, Peace and Security. New York , USA : UN, (S /RES/1325). Available from: http://www.womenwarpeace.org/toolbox/1325.pdf   [Accessed 3 March 2004].

Paragraph 7 stipulates that mine clearance and mine awareness programs take into account the special needs of women.

Country: general           

Pillars: MRE, MC

Project Stage: P, A, I

WORLD VISION, (2000). Presentation to Cambodia Mines Awareness Working Group, Demining Regulatory Authority Office, Phnom Penh , 21 September 2000 . Quoted in BOTTOMLY, R., (2003) p.69-70.

In Cambodia , World Vision specifically targets mine risk education towards males at high risk from mine accidents. Methodology involves encouraging behaviour change through showing photos of mine victims, providing counselling and organising meetings with local amputees to discuss the impact of mine injuries. Bottomly critiques that this method may only serve to provide a negative message without offering alternatives or motivation behind the ‘risky’ behaviour of males.

Country: Cambodia       

Pillars: MRE

Project Stage: I, E