This baseline assessment was undertaken by Handicap International in October 2014 in all five governorates of Gaza. The focus of the survey was to collect baseline data related to the knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) contamination in communities impacted by the recent conflict.
The survey consisted of two parts: quantitative data collection comprising 459 individual questionnaires and qualitative data collection of 4 focus groups. The questionnaire targeted men, women, and children over 10 years old, while the focus groups targeted adults with disabilities, children, and adolescents. Quotas based on the age and gender in the five governorates sought to represent a proportionate cross-section of the population in impacted communities.
The survey showed that 45% of the overall population surveyed had received Risk Education (RE) messages in the past, with a lesser proportion of respondents in the governorates of North Gaza and Middle Area. The most common means of receiving the RE messages were through a school teacher, television, leaflets, radio, NGO worker, and posters.
Despite high levels of education in the population surveyed, significant gaps remain in knowledge of ERW. When asked which groups in these communities need more RE, the common response was young boys and girls. Regarding attitudes, most respondents are worried about ERW contamination and believe ERW should be reported to authorities. Overall, about half of respondents had seen ERW during or after the recent conflict. Gender was a key factor in this; males were much more likely to have reported seeing ERW than females. Of those that had seen ERW, 5% of respondents admitted to tampering with the ERW. Although 70% of the population were able to give the correct answer about how to report ERW (by dialing 100), only 29% of those that had seen ERW had actually reported it. Of those who had entered an area suspected to have ERW (28%), the most common reasons mentioned for doing so were curiosity, returning to collect items from a home that was damaged, farming, and visiting friends and family.
This baseline assessment shows the continued prevalence of high-risk attitudes and practices in Gaza, demonstrating a need for additional campaigns that deliver safety messages to the entire population. This report also highlights issues that could be improved and makes the following recommendations:
- Ensure that resources are allocated to make RE a priority for children
- Designate the entire front line of rubble removal and reconstruction as a target for RE and other support
- Prioritize RE to high-risk governorates
- Increase cooperation among RERE actors and standardize RE messages, monitoring, and evaluation
- Develop more inclusive Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials and RE activities
- Integrate RE across humanitarian and development interventions (with a focus on protection and health sectors)
- Ensure continued support is provided to clearance and victim assistance efforts