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Bosnia and Herzegovina #1 at lending a leg to ban landmines

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the Landmine Ban Convention and is celebrated as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. While 161 states have signed the mine ban treaty, there are still 36 who have not—and millions of people continue to live under the threat of landmines every day.

Will you be “lending a leg” to ban landmines today?

Nowhere in the world is more being done to lend a leg than in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the world leader in outreach and media awareness for the Lend Your Leg (LYL) mine action campaign. Lend Your Leg “is a campaign that encourages people worldwide by a simple but symbolic gesture of rolling up a pant leg or sleeve to stop the damage landmines still cause while showing solidarity with all survivors of landmines and other explosive remnants of war."

The Lend Your Leg campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina, run by UNDP and Landmine Survivors Initiatives, has attracted 18% more supporters than the global social media campaign and has 16 times more supporters than the United States, 22 times more supporters than Vietnam, and 12 times more supporters than New Zealand, to name just a few of the other countries taking part in the LYL campaign via social media. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently the most active country on the Lend Your Leg website. Our campaign also has exceptional visibility; the global campaign’s Facebook kept our official campaign photo as their cover photo over 50% of the campaign period.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Facebook page currently has over 1650 likes and hundreds of people are currently talking about the campaign.

Being the world #1 in any discipline is a complex undertaking. Our media campaign has required vision, structure, and super-human resources. It is more than just a project activity; running a successful campaign is a full-time job.

The core project staff alone cannot run an effective campaign. Recognizing this early in the planning stage, we recruited five volunteers and formed a project support unit responsible for running the campaign on a daily basis. We ensured the unit had in place all the tools they would need, including the vision, strategy, budget, and management support, to make success inevitable.

Running a successful campaign also requires a personal connection, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are sadly many personal stories to keep us motivated.

Family Bijelic lost his six-year-old son, Tarik, in a mine accident on 10 August 2012. His father, Ibrahim, was also severely injured In the incident. Ibrahim’s father, Jusuf, was killed in a mine incident in 1996.

Salih Hasanamidzic lost two brothers in mine incidents between 1998 to 2006. On 29 November 2011, in another mine incident, Salih lost his wife, Sahza, and sustained severe bodily injuries himself.

These are just two families among the more than 7900 mine victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Being a world #1? We did it for these people. I wish we hadn’t needed to.

To find out more about how you can lend your leg to ban landmines once and for all, visit the Lend Your Leg Web site.