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A new module on explosive ordnance risk introduced in general education curricula in Armenia


The Center for Humanitarian Demining and Expertise and UNICEF Armenia have issued a learning module for schools that will help raise students’ awareness of explosive ordnance risk. The initiative is implemented within the Strengthening National Demining Capacities programme, funded by the European Union and led by United Nations Development Program.

“Mines and explosive munitions contaminating border areas of Armenia pose a direct threat to the life and health of the local communities, hindering normal life activities and socio-economic programmes. Children living in these communities are particularly at risk because of their inherent curiosity,” noted Mr. Vaghinak Sargsyan, CHDE Director. “Low awareness of safety rules, improper behavior, reckless steps are a potential and real threat and can lead to accidents. Incorporating explosive ordnance risk awareness into the curricula is an efficient strategy that will enable outreach to children and adolescents, ensuring behavior change and compliance with safe behaviors in the long term.”

In December 2023, UNICEF and the Center for Humanitarian Demining and Expertise (CHDE) established a working group in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports that developed the module, as well as the safe behavior teaching methodology and a special guidebook for educators. In spring 2024, CHDE instructors led a training of trainers course on explosive ordnance risk awareness for 48 educators from Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik regions, followed by community outreach and awareness raising initiatives in the three regions. 

“Explosive ordnance in populated areas poses a real threat to children’s right to safety, education and health. Those surviving explosions, including those who are not physically injured, often endure different forms of trauma and related disorders, such as persistent fear, severe anxiety, difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Explosive ordnance risk education is an essential preventive measure to protect children and adolescents who are most vulnerable due to their limited knowledge on the matter and natural curiosity,” shared Ms Silvia Mestroni, Acting UNICEF Representative in Armenia.
UNICEF will continue to rely on its global expertise in explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) and   further contribute to strengthening local capacities and advocating for the inclusion of EORE modules in the pre-service and in-service training curricula for teachers and other specialists working with children. UNICEF will also support expansion of EORE interventions aimed at ensuring countrywide coverage of awareness among general population, particularly children, adolescents, and caregivers.