APOPO's mission is to develop detection rats technology to provide solutions for global problems and inspire positive social change. APOPO's vision is to solve pressing humanitarian challenges with detection rats technology. Our core values are: Quality - Demonstrating and promoting high standards in research, design, training and implementation of detection rats technology. Social Transformation - Developing skills, creating jobs, improving socio-economic and environmental conditions, releasing land for development, and combating public health issues. Innovation - Pioneering creative research and innovative solutions within a participatory learning culture. Diversity - Embracing diversity...
Dec 21, 2010

December 2010 Newsletter

Happy HeroRAT Holidays!
Happy HeroRAT Holidays!

Holiday greetings from the HeroRAT team!

On behalf of all of us at HeroRAT headquarters, we wanted to extend a huge hero-sized thanks to you for following our life-saving work throughout 2010.  We’re so grateful for your ongoing support and appreciation for our heroes. 

It has been a productive year, and our HeroRATs are becoming more known for their sniffing abilities all over the world.  Here are a few highlights from some of the places we’ve appeared throughout the year:

2010 Progress: The Year in Review

The HeroRAT landmine-detection training program is constantly being refined to get our rats hero-ready even faster at our Center of Excellence in Tanzania.  In total, we currently have 195 rats in various stages of landmine detection training or accreditation procedures. 

Our Mozambique Mine Action team has made a huge impact in land clearance this year – with over 792,893 square meters of land returned to the local population!  In doing so, the HeroRAT team has found 860 landmines, 374 unexploded ordinance and 6,216 small arms and ammunitions.  That’s a lot of TNT!  Not only have countless landmine-related accidents been avoided, but barriers restricting development in affected communities have been lifted, and people are free to move about their land without fear.

In Tanzania, our HeroRAT team at the Tuberculosis (TB) detection center has been busy sniffing away to save lives.  In 2010, our TB-detection heroes have so far discovered over 594 TB-positive patients who were initially missed by traditional diagnostic methods.  As a result of these tireless efforts, more patients can begin their life-saving treatment sooner, thus significantly reducing the spread of TB.  In fact, using projections from the World Health Organization, we have helped to prevent at least 5,940 new cases of TB this year alone! 

On a lighter note, our breeding couples have thoroughly enjoyed the improvements that were made to our HeroRAT breeding program earlier this year.  They have shown their appreciation by increasing the number of births this year to 148 baby rats – our future heroes!

We are working on expanding our mine action work into Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, as well as embarking on a new continent – Asia – for initial landmine survey work along the Thai-Cambodian border.  Initial visits by members of the APOPO team have already taken place, in preparation for setting up and getting started in these new countries.

Our Remote Scent Tracing research program will also expand next year to look at other scent detection possibilities.  Our research and development team has a number of new proposals in the pipeline for the many potential applications of this work.  We’ll keep you posted along the way as plans for future applications continue to be developed and refined. 

Our Adopt-a-Rat Program has seen a great deal of support this year, with more and more of you taking action to help us save lives and limbs in communities in need! 

Don’t forget: our deadline for Holiday Gift Adoptions is 18 December, simply to guarantee delivery of your gift recipient’s HeroRAT adoption materials before 25 December.  Of course you are most welcome to adopt one of our HeroRATs anytime after the 18 December, and we’ll send your adoption materials as soon as we can!  Please visit our Adopt-a-Rat webpage for more details, or email the HeroRAT team at herorats@herorat.org.

Thank you so much to all of you who have contributed to our cause throughout 2010: we feel truly honored to have such a warm-hearted and dedicated group of supporters. 

On behalf of APOPO and the HeroRATs, we send you warmest wishes for a safe, happy and peaceful holidays, and a wonderful start to the coming year!

With gratitude,

The HeroRAT team






Dec 2, 2010

HeroRATs for the Holidays!

Happy holidays!
Happy holidays!

Looking for a unique and inspiring alternative gift this holiday season?   

A contribution to our HeroRATs project on GlobalGiving will support us greatly in our efforts to save lives and limbs by sniffing out more landmines and tuberculosis in communities in need.

Make your contribution in honor of someone special, send them a GlobalGiving gift card, and see their face light up when they realize that together, you've helped provide banana treats for one of our life-saving, bomb-sniffing heroes in Mozambique, or tuberculosis screening for villagers in Tanzania.

Alternatively, you could surprise your friends or family with a HeroRAT adoption! 

Here are three good reasons to adopt one of our heroes:

1.  It’s a fun, creative and unique gift, that has a lasting impact.

2.  Your lucky gift recipient will receive a certificate of adoption, an introductory letter from the chosen HeroRAT, and regular updates on their rat's progress!

3.  It's only 5 euros a month (roughly $7) - a small amount that will be a big help to us in our efforts to sniff out more landmines and curb the spread of tuberculosis.

Contributions we receive for the Adopt-a-Rat program go towards the training, vet check-ups, housing, food and loving-care our HeroRATs receive.  For more information on giving the gift of a HeroRAT, please visit the Adopt-a-rat page of our website, or click here to adopt a HeroRAT now.

Thank you for your wonderful support, and warmest wishes for peace and happiness this holiday season!

The HeroRAT team 


Dec 2, 2010

November 2010 Newsletter

HeroRAT ready for action, sniffing out landmines
HeroRAT ready for action, sniffing out landmines

Mine action milestone: 2 million square meters cleared! 

APOPO’s HeroRAT Mine Action Team passed an important milestone this month, in our efforts to rid Mozambique of its landmine legacy: over two million square meters of land have now been returned to the local population in Mozambique!  In opening this land, we have found over 1,030 landmines, helped bring electricity to communities, made traveling between villages safer, cleared access to water pits, allowed thousands of people to return to their land, prevented countless mine-related accidents, and much more! 

None of this could have been possible without our dedicated supporters and funders.  We want to sincerely thank everyone who has believed in our unique and innovative approach to landmine clearance. 

APOPO receives seven-year support from Province of Antwerp

APOPO is thrilled to announce a seven-year cooperation with the Province of Antwerp, Belgium.  The Province has supported APOPO in our humanitarian efforts since 1999, and has now extended its financial support for seven more years to help with the further development and expansion of APOPO’s operations.  

On November 11, APOPO and the HeroRATs were honored to welcome a delegation from the Province of Antwerp to Morogoro, Tanzania to mark the beginning of this cooperation.  The delegation included Mrs. Inga Verhaert and Mr. Ludo Helsen, Members of the Provincial Council, and Mr. Dieter Goossens, head of the department of North-South Cooperation.  

While at HeroRAT headquarters, the delegation observed APOPO’s detection rats in training, and signed the official Protocol of Cooperation along with APOPO’s Chairman of the Board, Rudy Van Eysendeyk, and CEO, Christophe Cox.  By supporting APOPO, Mrs Inga Verhaert said the Province of Antwerp is both investing in scientific research for humanitarian purposes, while promoting local employment and training in Tanzania. She points out that "landmines and Tuberculosis (TB) affect the most vulnerable individuals and communities in the developing world.  They are major obstacles in social and economic development.  Therefore, the Province of Antwerp is happy to support this exceptional initiative, ensuring its expansion."  

With the support of Antwerp, APOPO will have the capacity to continue to train both our HeroRATs  and Tanzanian trainers, as well as make it possible for the project to expand to Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the future – two of the most mine-affected countries in Africa.


HeroRATs flood the media following AFP visit 

In November, news about our HeroRATs flooded media outlets all over the world!  This newfound interest came following a visit from a media crew from Agence France-Presse (AFP), a French news agency.  The team of video-journalist William Davies, reporter Otto Bakano, and photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba, were in Tanzania to cover the 2010 election in October – and couldn’t miss a side-trip to our headquarters in Morogoro to see our heroes in action!  They toured APOPO’s headquarters and training facilities, speaking with our HeroRAT trainers and staff, CEO Christophe Cox, and Founder, Bart Weetjens.

The stories hit the news circuits on November 7th and spread like wildfire!  Otto’s article, Sniffer 'hero rats' saving lives in minefields and lab quickly found itself published in various print and online news sources around the world.  On Yahoo! News videos, Will’s news story, Tanzania rats sniff out mines, was the most watched news piece and received over 200,000 views in only two days!  And a collection of Yasuyoshi’s beautiful photos of our heroes are featured in an online gallery on the website of The Telegraph (UK).

HeroRAT trainer, Abdullah Mchomvu, who has been with us since 2002, told Otto "This work is not easy...you have to be patient.  Sometimes I get frustrated, but then again I tell myself these are animals...[and] this work saves lives."  Bart Weetjens also spoke about the difficulties in promoting our work in an anti-rodent society. "Rats absolutely have an image problem.  People don't like them and that is one of our biggest struggles… we are trying to change that perception.  Rats are very sociable, very intelligent highly-likeable creatures."

It appears that the recent media attention has helped change a few people’s opinions about rats!  In the two weeks following the publication of these stories, we were overwhelmed with support and welcomed over 100 new HeroRAT adopters from all over the globe.  We are thrilled that the stories about our HeroRATs moved so many people to help our cause.  APOPO would like to send a hero-sized thank you to the AFP crew, for helping us to spread the word about the great work our HeroRATs are doing to help save lives and limbs!

Thank you all for your kind support of our heroes.  We wish everyone a very safe & happy lead-up to the festive season!

Warm regards,
The HeroRAT team


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