Soccer helping to save lives

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Afghanistan is one of the heaviest mined countries in the world
Landmines have been planted indiscriminately over most of the country.See images. Agricultural farms, grazing areas, irrigation canals, residential areas, roads and footpaths, both in urban and rural areas, are contaminated. Mines are a major obstacle to repatriation, relief, rehabilitation and development activities.
This excerpt from an article tells how Steve Kosier, a DynCorp International advisor to an Afghan explosive ordnance disposal team hit upon a novel way of getting local cooperation to deal with the problem.
“After 35 years of war, there have been a couple of generations raised around these items that have been laying around. (The children) know where they are, and the best we can do is to educate them and get them to participate to help make their country safe again,” said Steve, who is from Aurora, Colorado.
The problem was immediate but communication was hard. Colorful informational fliers weren’t doing the job of locating the weapons, so he came up with an idea that children might relate to: information for soccer balls.
After a regular presentation to villagers about explosive ordnance disposal , Steve asked the children in attendance to raise their hands if they knew the location of any unexploded ordnance. Not one hand was raised.
Steve then produced two soccer balls. He asked the children if they wanted to learn how to earn a ball, and was answered with a resounding yes. It was simple, he said. Lead his team to unexploded ordnance and earn a soccer ball. Four hands immediately went up.
This led the team to recover or destroy more than 150 explosive remnants of war weighing more than two tons. In one month, they distributed 50 soccer balls and trained more than 2,200 children not to tamper with any of the dangerous devices they find. ”
Read the rest here..

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