More than 40 years after the war, Vietnam remains highly contaminated with 800,000 tons1 of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) such as artillery shells, bombs, missiles, and mortars contaminating 6.1 million hectares of land. According to the Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, landmines and UXO were the cause of 129 deaths and 241 injuries between 2008 and 2017.2 Survey findings show that children are one of the most high-risk groups in many provinces in Vietnam, including in heavily-affected provinces such as Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Binh Dinh, and Quang Nam.3 Since the end of the war, children have been disproportionately affected by mine and UXO-related accidents, of which 38 percent resulted from children playing with mines and UXO—mainly small bombs and M-79 munitions3 that they did not realize were dangerous. A CRS survey in 2015 of 1,836 post-war landmine survivors found that 16 percent experienced accidents between the ages of six and ten (primary-school age) and 18 percent experienced accidents when they were aged eleven to fourteen (secondary-school age).4 Though the Vietnam government and international organizations have made efforts to reduce the amount of contaminated land, it is likely that several decades-worth of work5 are necessary to completely clear the land and water during which time children and youth will still be at risk. Although mine risk education (MRE) has been taught in primary schools for years, lessons are not standardized and are often only included as part of other lessons or extracurricular activities. Without frequent and in-depth lessons and discussions on MRE, many students’ knowledge of the risks of mines remains dangerously insufficient.



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