UNICEF's training on mine risk concludes

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 September 2003, 13:47 GMT]
The integrated Training of Trainers under the UNICEF sponsored Mine Risk Education (MRE) programme, which commenced in April this year, concluded Tuesday at the Hotel Club Oceanic in Trincomalee, with the awarding of certificates to participants who are field officers of non-government organizations, the White Pigeon, Sarvodaya and Tamil Refugees Rehabilitation Organization in the northeast province, UNICEF sources said.

District co-ordinators of UNICEF in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee and Vavuniya also participated in the MRE programme, UNICEF sources said.

The training was conducted by the PALTRA (Programme for Alternate Training), which has its headquarters in Colombo. The Programme Director of the PALTRA, Mr.Sarath Wickramaratne, was the course director, sources said.

The UNICEF has been implementing the MRE programme in close collaboration with the Governments, NGOs and the Mine Action Programme of the UNDP, sources said.

The objectives of the MRE programme are to improve the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the participants in order to build active participation of the community to achieve the goals of the programme, to improve the competency of the participants to design and implement effective awareness programme for the school children and communities and to improve skills of the participants to monitor the programme activities to ensure that the goals and expected impact is achieved.

Even before the ceasefire agreement was signed, the UNICEF had done some work in educating the people and school children regarding the danger of mines and unexploded ordnance(UXO).

Unicef training concludes
UNICEF Trincomalee zonal head Ms Gabriele Elroy hands over certificate to a particpant. PALTRA programme director and course director Mr.Sarath Wickramaratne ( M) and resource persons Dr Sudath Ranasinghe (L)and Dr Nandana Karunanayake ( extreme left) are seen

"Through its past experience, the UNICEF has formulated the present training of trainers programme when it realized the desired goals of the MRE project could not be achieved if active participation of the people is not forthcoming and also most of the co-ordinators and field officers involved in it lacked the required training in very vital areas such as communicating effectively with the community, identifying and prioritizing needs of the people, getting active participation of the community for the project and disseminating messages effectively," said UNICEF sources.

Hence the UNICEF sought the assistance of PALTRA, which is a management training organization engaged in mainly capacity building of the NGOs, to improve the knowledge, skills and attitudes of those who are involved in MRE programme to achieved the desired goals, sources said.

Accordingly, two senior trainers of PALTRA toured Jaffna and Vanni on a fact-finding mission in February this year and held discussions with all NGOs and interviewed all field workers and co-ordinators involved in theMRE programme and identified the obstacles they were encountering in terms of making people aware about the issue and their training needs to improve the capacity to plan their role efficiently and effectively.

Unicef training concludes
female participant with certificate at the MRE training

During this visit, the trainers had the opportunity to study the methods and materials used by the NGOs in MRE programmes. They also observed an awareness programme conducted by the White Pigeon organization in a school in Vanni and another programme conducted by Sarvodhaya in Jaffna to educate a group of adults in a village in mine risk education, PALTRA sources said.

Hence the PALTRA designed a five-module training programme consequent to detailed discussion it had with UNICEF project officer Mr.Hanoch Barlevi. The programme commenced in the third week of April and concluded in Trincomalee Tuesday evening, sources said

Participatory training methods centred on discussion, group work, role plays, case studies, field activities, video films, street theater, lectures and individual talks and counseling. The PALTRA conducted one module training in Kandy for two reasons. One was to get the service of some resource persons who hesitated to go to northeast and the second was to provide an opportunity for the participants of the northeast to have some experience about the southern part of the country, PALTRA sources said.

Certificates were awarded to the participants who completed the entire course satisfactorily at the concluding session of the programme on Tuesday evening at the Hotel Club Oceanic, UNICEF sources said.

UNICEF Trincomalee zone office head, Ms. Gabriele Elroy, handed over the first certificate to a participant. PALTRA Programme Director Mr.Sarath Wickramaratne and resource persons Dr.Nandana Karunanayake and Dr Sudath Ranasinghe also distributed certificates, sources said.

Unicef training concludes
Participants who underwent training in MRE programme are seen with their UNICEF Trincomalee head and PALTRA programme director and resource persons and staff

Unicef training concludes
male particpant with his certificate at the MRE programme


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