Mine action that does not work is very costly. It wastes lives, limbs and economic resources through ineffective intervention. A social audit approach with ongoing community involvement can help reduce these costs. Scientifically rigorous monitoring and evaluation is becoming a necessary component of field operations in mine action.

Difficulties in conceptualising the mine problem and lack of resources to measure programme impact have prevented many organisations from targeting their mine action programmes more rigorously. Monitoring and evaluation has often been limited to opinion polls or statistics on numbers injured or programme coverage. Such data are insufficient for assessing impact or identifying ways to improve it. CIET’s mine action tracking system provides a scientifically robust and cost-effective means to monitor and evaluate the impact of mine action programmes and build capacity to make this activity sustainable.

 The first lesson of CIET’s mine action tracking is that most people do manage to live, some better than others, and to cope with the daily threat of land mines. Taken together, these local coping and survival mechanisms make up a broadly effective culture of “mine smartness” – the informed practice of safe behaviour.

CIET adapted its social audit approach to document the social cost of landmines in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia and Mozambique in 1994-1995. Mine Action Tracking was refined in Afghanistan in 1997 in collaboration with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance. This framework has been used in the summer of 1999 in CIET’s evaluation of mine awareness for UNICEF Angola.

See also: Andersson N and Mitchell S. Epidemiological geomatics in evaluation of mine risk education in Afghanistan: introducing population weighted raster maps. International Journal of Health Geographics 2006, 5:1