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...
Mar 8, 2010

HeroRATs documentary on BBC World News March 6 & 7

APOPO’s work to clear dangerous landmine affected areas in Mozambique and provide a second-line screening tool for TB in vulnerable populations in Tanzania is the subject of the latest documentary in Alvin Hall’s series about social entrepreneurs. The new series, Alvin’s Guide to Good Business, looks at how social enterprise organizations, like APOPO, are helping to create sustainable development in Africa and beyond. See the video on our site at http://www.herorat.org/bbc or it can easily be embedded on your own web site, in tweets, blogs, social action sites and much, much more. To embed the video in your own site please visist: http://www.rockhopper.tv/programmes/366 and click the embed button. The film, made by Rockhopper TV in partnership with the Skoll Foundation, will be broadcast on BBC World News at 2.30 and 8.30 GMT on Saturday 6 March, and at 14.30 and 21.30 on Sunday 7 March. You can check your local listings on the BBC World News website http://www.bbcworldnews.com/Pages/Schedules.aspx. What you can do next: The stories of villagers like Tivane and December featured in the documentary are but a few. Through APOPO’s work clearing dangerous landmine-affected areas in Mozambique, we have seen many lives changed for the better. You can be a part of the work we do, and make a difference in the lives of the communities we serve, by donating or adopting a rat today. Visit our Donate page to find out more. Another way to give is by spreading the word about APOPO’s work to colleagues, friends and family. Here are three simple steps to get you started: 1. If you enjoyed the clip, why not share it with others – just send the following link to everyone in your email contacts list: www.herorat.org/bbc. Include an introduction about why you think the issues being tackled in the documentary are important. 2. Blog about the HeroRATs, tweet about the HeroRATs, or become our friend on Facebook. Post your feedback on the documentary, and remember to share the link to the clip with your community. You can tweet the link www.herorat.org/bbc or even post it in your Facebook status. 3. Learn more about APOPO’s work by subscribing to our newsletter, watching other clips of the HeroRATs in action, or read our latest news articles. Discuss what you’ve learned with those around you. If you’d like a more in-depth look at the work we do, please check out www.apopo.org for the scientific knowledge behind our work. Better yet, if you see synergies between our work and yours, please contact us about potential partnerships or collaboration. Many thanks and feel free to reach out to us at herorats@herorat.org if you have questions!


Dec 7, 2009

December 2009 Newsletter

- Philippson Family Foundation visits APOPO Headquarters in Tanzania - Surprise your friends and family with a HeroRAT for the Holidays! - UK Supporters could help APOPO win a prize of £1000 this December! - Endeavor Explorers Scout Troop supports HeroRATs as chosen charity - Meet our Lab Technician, Solomon Mickson

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I hope this holiday season finds you warm and well. For us at APOPO, it’s a great time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished this year and look forward to the future. We are pleased to announce that in the month of November ten rats completed their final tests in landmine training. This brings our numbers to 59 rats trained for landmine detection this year (through November)!

Last month, we were honored to host the Philippson family in Tanzania and are excited to have the opportunity to further work with them on developing our projects and potential. Their foundation has been instrumental in helping APOPO develop strategy and capacity and we are grateful for their guidance and support.

‘Tis the holiday season and many are looking for creative and alternative gifts to share with loved ones and friends. You can share your passion for the work of our Herorats by adopting a HeroRAT for your friends or family this season. (There is also an interesting opportunity for our UK supporters who were considering making a donation this month, see more below). Your support and enthusiasm mean a great deal to our work and each of us. We know that the economic climate has many a bit worried this holiday. If you are in a position to give gifts, please consider supporting a HeroRAT for nephews, nieces, friends and/or loved ones. If that is not a possibility please know that spreading the word about our work is also a great way to contribute and much appreciated as well.

Finally, meet one of our TB laboratory technicians, Solomon Mickson, for a chance to meet one of APOPO’s up-and-coming employees! Thank you for your constant support and being part of our growth over this exciting year. We wish you a happy holiday season and a new year of joy! Warm Wishes,

The HeroRAT team

Philippson Family Foundation visits APOPO Headquarters in Tanzania This November, APOPO was delighted to receive a visit from the Philippson family, represented by Marie and Alain, their daughter Françoise and their grand children. The Philippson Family Foundation has helped APOPO tremendously in the last two years, through a capacity building grant, which focused largely on strategic planning. The mission of the Marie and Alain Philippson Foundation is to support social entrepreneurs, strengthen their organizations and help them enhance their social impact. To achieve its goal, the Foundation has adopted a committed partner approach. The Foundation provides financial support and tailored advice to the organizations of it’s choosing to help develop leadership and the capacity to create change. The visit in Tanzania was a wonderful experience, both for the Philippson Family and for APOPO staff and management. We deeply appreciate the opportunity to meet APOPO supporters such as the Philippson Family face-to-face, and look forward to seeing them again and meeting new supporters in the future.

Surprise your friends and family with a HeroRAT for the Holidays! Looking for a great alternative gift this holiday season? Here are the top five reasons to adopt a HeroRAT for your friends and family:

1. It’s fun, a creative surprise (who would ever suspect a rat for the holidays!), and it’s educational too! 2. We will send a personalized email to your lucky gift recipient announcing the gift from you and including a certificate of adoption, letter from your chosen HeroRAT, and a picture of your hero! 3. Gift recipients can keep up-to-date on their rat’s progress and accomplishments and share them with friends (which means you’ll get to share in their joy as well). 4. Supporting our shared adoption program means you help several of our furry friends make their way in the world of TNT or TB detection. Your contributions help support the training, vet check-ups, diet and loving care our HeroRATs receive. 5. Finally, it’s only 5 euros per month (roughly $7.50) to help us eradicate the dangers posed by landmines and curb the spread of Tuberculosis!

You can get more information on giving the gift of a HeroRAT here, or feel free to send us an email at herorats@herorat.org. You can also get more information on tax-affective giving here. Just don’t wait too long as all orders for HeroRATS must be in by December 22nd to be delivered via email before December 25th.

UK Supporters could help APOPO win a prize of £1000 this December! GlobalGiving.co.uk is offering the opportunity for projects that raise £2000 or more this December via the UK Global Giving site the chance for a bonus prize and prominent marketing. The additional outreach would help us introduce APOPO to more people in the UK who are not yet familiar with our work. Plus, we will be in the running for a bonus prize of £1000! If you are a supporter in the UK and were considering making a donation to APOPO this holiday season, please think about doing so via the GlobalGiving.co.uk and your money could potentially go even farther, which would help Apopo achieve that much more. GlobalGiving.co.uk, is an internationally recognized marketplace for philanthropy that connects individual donors to the causes they care about. Your contribution to this special campaign has the opportunity to make an even bigger impact on saving lives and limbs in Tanzania, Mozambique and beyond!

Endeavor Explorers Scout Troop supports HeroRATs as chosen charity The HeroRAT program is excited to announce our newest partnership with Endeavor Explorers Scout Troop from Sutton Coldfield, UK! The Endeavor Explorers, a troop of about 50 scouts, have elected the HeroRATs as their chosen charity and have undertaken some major awareness and fundraising projects on behalf of the rats! These creative kids, together with their leaders John and Jo Garvey and Tim Taylor, have so far raised over £540 for the HeroRAT cause with concerts, bag packing and coffee mornings. Here, Sam, Jack, Lydia, Sarah, and Will pose for a picture after selling coffee for our cause. The HeroRAT team is honored to be their chosen charity and grateful for all of our supporters contributions and dedication!

Meet our Lab Technician, Solomon Mickson Solomon Mickson is a laboratory technician who joined APOPO just over a year ago. He is passionate about improving healthcare for all Tanzanians and excited to work for an organization that addresses a major disease. Originally from Mbeya, his father was a tailor and his mother worked at home on the large family farm, along with his five brothers and one sister. In 1999, Solomon attended college at the Institute of Technology in Dar es Salaam and, after working as a laboratory technician in a match factory for three years, came to study, with the help of his older brothers, at Sokoine University of Agriculture. Here he received his B.S. in Biotechnology and Laboratory Science, before starting work at APOPO. His goal is to help improve Tanzanians’ access to medical care and treatment, which is why he chose to work in APOPO’s tuberculosis lab. In the future, he hopes to get a Masters degree and further his knowledge base. On a more personal side, Solomon hopes to marry soon and eventually have two boys and one girl. Down the road, he would like to have a farm and raise cows, just like his family back in Mbeya.

Oct 14, 2009

October 2009 Newsletter

- Thank you for your support in Google’s Race to Save the World! - APOPO granted HIV clearance to study relationship with TB - Interview with Field Manager Mark Shukuru - Founder Bart Weetjens speaker at Lisbon Forum on Social Entrepreneurship - Twelve new HeroRATS! Reflections on our breeding program - Support APOPO’s work: Adopt a HeroRAT!

Dear Supporter, I hope this newsletter finds you happy and in good health. Thank you for voting for us and the landmine issue in the Google 10100 Race! We are grateful for your support and for sharing this incredible opportunity with your friends. The polls closed at the end of the day on October 8th, and we will let you know when we hear back from Google. Again, many thanks for your participation, support, and enthusiasm!

Last month, 20 rats passed their final tests in landmine detection and 50 patients were detected by our TB detection rats after being missed by microscopy! APOPO is proud to announce that the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research has granted us permission to access the HIV status of the patients we screen for TB. We requested this authorization to look into TB/HIV co-infection, and see if our rats can play a role in early detection of these patients, which is crucial! This will allow us to take great leaps toward detecting TB in co-infected patients, and we hope to play a role in early detection and save more lives with this knowledge. Take a look at our interview with Field Manager and Trainer Mark Shukuru and read the article on our breeding program for more information on where our HeroRATs come from! Again, we thank you for your constant and continued support!

Warm wishes,

The HeroRAT Team

Thank you for your support in Google’s 10100 Project to Save the World!

Exciting news: out of 154,000 organizations Google selected APOPO’s HeroRATs as one of only 67 finalists in their 10100 Project to save the world! Last week, supporters had the option to vote for “landmine removal” at Google’s site and vote for supporting APOPO! With your votes we hope to win this competition and dramatically increase the scope of our work and the number of lives we touch. Thank you for your dedication and for voting for our HeroRATs!

APOPO granted HIV clearance to study relationship with TB

APOPO is pleased to announce that the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research has approved our request to study the HIV/TB co-infection rates in the (anonymous) patients we currently screen for Tuberculosis. Early detection and treatment of Tuberculosis is essential, but it is especially pressing for people infected with HIV. HIV patients are more likely to develop TB than other people and in sub-Saharan Africa, and TB kills more people who are HIV-positive than any other disease! Furthermore, HIV and TB are common co-infections and patients cannot start the drugs for TB and HIV at the same time. If we can detect these patients earlier, they have the possibility of starting the course of drugs to treat the TB, before they begin their HIV treatment regimen.

Our initial research goal is to determine whether our HeroRATs are more sensitive than microscopy in detecting TB in HIV-positive patients. Subsequently, we intend to fine-tune our assessment procedures to maximize the likelihood of detecting TB early in HIV-positive patients. Early detection will maximize the probability of effectively treating TB in this highly vulnerable segment of the population and will thereby reduce the likelihood that they will succumb to the joint burden of two highly infectious diseases.

Interview with Field Manager Mark Shukuru

Mark is a long time employee of APOPO and has been working for us since 2002. He grew up near Sokoine University in a village called Magadu. Mark’s family are subsistence farmers; they have cultivated crops on the slopes of the Uluguru mountains for generations. Mark grows maize and bananas and raises chickens. He is married and has one daughter, and his mother still lives nearby. His mother tongue is Kiluguru, the main language around Morogoro, and he also learned Swahili in primary school, English and a bit of French in secondary school. Others from his village were already employed at APOPO, so when we started planning to expand the landmine training field in 2002, Mark heard about the opportunity and joined the team to help survey the field.

These days Mark does much more than tend the field. He is responsible for its maintenance including keeping it well marked, free of debris and cutting the vegetation. Each morning before dawn he comes to the office to prepare the rats for the field and once there he trains eight landmine rats along with his partner Claude. Later in the day, back at the office, he assists with the training of REST rats in the square cage set-up and maintains the database, entering training and test results.

When Mark first heard about APOPO, he thought it was impossible that people could be training rats to detect landmines! He was very surprised when he found out it was true! He’s glad that many people in Europe and America are starting to hear about the HeroRATs and he hopes this will happen more in Africa where people have less access to the internet. Perhaps more local people will be interested in visiting APOPO and learning about our work. Mark is excited about all of APOPO’s growth and hopes it will continue so that we can save even more people. Furthermore, he really enjoys working here because everyone is close. He says iIf you need help or have a problem, you always get an answer right away. He thinks he’ll be with APOPO forever.

Founder Bart Weetjens speaks at Lisbon Forum on Social Entrepreneurship Bart Weetjens, APOPO’s founder, was an honorary speaker at the Lisbon School of Business Forum on Social Entrepreneurship on September 11, 2009. He had the honor of speaking before 30 MBA Students, press and academics at the University of Lisbon in Portugal about social enterprise. Typically, the Lisbon MBA attracts students with several years of professional experience in various industries, who then re-invent their careers. This is the perfect time to be exposed to social enterprise, the rewards of a socially-oriented business and the challenges, which are in many ways similar to those of any business. Bart shared his experiences with APOPO, and encouraged the students to dare to dream, and take the risks to make their dreams a reality.

Twelve new HeroRATS! – Reflections on our breeding program APOPO has been breeding Gambian Pouched rats since 1998, when our first pups were born. Since then, our breeding program has overcome many challenges and gone through a lot of change! This month we are glad to report that twelve baby rats were born in our captive breeding program!

APOPO’s initial attempts at breeding and training Gambian Pouched rats began in Belgium in 1998. Bart and Christophe were sent 10 rats from a colleague at Sokoine Univeristy of Agriculture’s Pest Control Center. These rats were caught in the wild in Tanzania and sent to Belgium. Within a year, APOPO had its first captive-born, and hence trainable, rats. These two rats, Onzo and Louise, as well as six more born later that year, began their initial training to prove the concept that giant African pouched rats can discriminate explosive scents.

In 2000, when APOPO moved to Morogoro, Tanzania we brought with us captive, Belgium-born rats and set up an indoor breeding facility. We trapped more wild rats from nearby farms, orchards, and the river and paired these rats, one male and one female per cage. These initial attempts at breeding were somewhat successful, but we felt we could do better.

In 2006, we built outdoor breeding cages to allow the rats to live a more natural environment. These large cages with dirt floors and filled with natural materials allow the rats to play and exercise, as well as to burrow as they do in the wild. Furthermore, we began feeding our breeding rats more maize and wheat, similar to what they were taking from farms in the wild. In each breeding cage we put one established male and two female rats. Every month, HeroRAT caretakers Mama Lucy, Asnati and Albert dig out their burrows and check for pups. Then they move the mother and her litter inside and put another female back in the breeding cage in her place. Depending on the pups’ ages, they stay with their mother for further nursing or begin their training once they have opened their eyes.

Since instituting these changes in 2006, APOPO’s breeding program has seen a significant spike in the number of offspring. Our mothers are producing several healthy pups every month for our landmine and TB detection programs. Our breeding success contributes to the sustainability of our program and allows us to increase the number of HeroRATs capable of saving lives.

Support APOPO's Work: Adopt a HeroRAT! APOPO’s staff and HeroRATS are working hard to save lives and limbs from disaster and disease. Please help us eradicate the dangers posed by landmines and curb the spread of Tuberculosis by making a donation or by adopting a HeroRAT.

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $15
  • $22
  • $45
  • $90
  • $150
  • $15
    each month
  • $22
    each month
  • $45
    each month
  • $90
    each month
  • $150
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?