APOPO vzw

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 d...
May 31, 2016

HeroRATS Hired!

HeroRATS to Sniff Out Mines in Zimbabwe
HeroRATS to Sniff Out Mines in Zimbabwe

 

HeroRATs Hired!

We have some very exciting news!

APOPO and the Ministry of Defense of the Government of Zimbabwe have officially signed a historic agreement to allow APOPO to begin clearing landmines in the country.

History of Mines in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s landmines were laid during the Liberation War of Independence (also known as The Second Chimurenga of the 1970’s) by the army of Rhodesia (as Zimbabwe was then known). The Rhodesian military created lethal barriers along the border to Mozambique to keep liberation forces at bay.

These are some of the most mine-impacted areas in the world with 5,500 landmines per kilometer at some border minefields. However, other areas nearer to towns and villages are also suspected of low-level landmine contamination, and the mines effectively render vast tracts of their land off-limits. As well as the tragic accidents that inevitable occur, local communities are also unable to access basic needs such as prime farming land, paths and market routes, and expansion of residential and business areas, and sustaining a perpetual cycle of poverty.

Enter the HeroRATs!

This is where the HeroRATs come in. Ignoring scrap metal and only detecting the scent of explosives, they are able to check large areas of land much faster than conventional methods such as technicians with metal detectors. This saves more lives by halting further injuries, and gets people back on their productive land as fast as possible.

Further Impact of your Donation

We recognised the need for faster TB diagnosis as paramount, which is why we are thrilled to announce APOPO’s new TB facility in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, due to open in July 2016.

In partnership with the Tanzanian Veterinary Laboratory Agency (TVLA), the facility will include a new TB center with a top-notch lab, brand new rat facilities and TB detection rooms.

About 10 HeroRats will be deployed to screen samples, increasing the number screened by over 50%.  Located in Dar es Salaam, the new facility will cut waiting times for the delivery of results to 12 hours. This means that TB positive patients will be treated the following day, which is not only good for the patient, but will reduce the risk of them infecting other people.

We thank you for your support, without which we could not have achieved this remarkable next step!

Kind regards,

The HeroRat Team

 

Enter the HeroRATs!
Enter the HeroRATs!

Links:

Mar 31, 2016

Treating our rats as the heroes they are

The rats get regular health check ups (wth Shafii)
The rats get regular health check ups (wth Shafii)

APOPO places a high value on animal welfare. As the organization is built around the rats, we ensure that they are treated like the heroes they truly are. With your support, our staff makes sure the HeroRATs are in good health and well cared for and can save many more lives!

One of the aspects our rats receive is environmental enrichment through the use of toys, objects for chewing, and a clay pot in their cages. It is important that animals such as the HeroRATs receive environmental enrichment because without they will become bored, causing stress, aggression and lowered performance.

“We provide enrichment items that increase species-specific behavior and enhance the rats' wellbeing,” explains Shafii, APOPO’s early training supervisor. “We always say that a happy rat is a better performer so we make sure they have all they need.”

All the HeroRATs are provided with enrichment items like a specifically designed clay pot that provides a dark and cool environment, wood to gnaw on, bedding to make a nest and some toys, such as little balls and boxes made of toilet paper rolls and filled up with peanuts. These toys motivate the animals to forage for food, behavior specific for the Cricetomys Gambianus.

Wild African giant pouched rats make a number of foraging trips in a typical night, gathering food in their pouches and returning to their burrow to store it. Their cheek pouches help them to harvest food while out foraging and defer eating until reaching the safety of their burrow, thereby reducing exposure to predators.

“All trainers get to learn about the rats’ behaviour and health when they start with APOPO,” says Shafii. “Over the time you learn so much about the rats and their needs and every trainer develops a bond with the animals. It is this bond all trainers feel toward the HeroRATs, what makes APOPO a special place to work and such a special project to support.”

We're very grateful for your support that helps us treat our Heroes the way they deserve it.

 

Shafii and the HeroRAT team

A claypot provides a dark and cool environment
A claypot provides a dark and cool environment
Toys motivate the animals to forage for food
Toys motivate the animals to forage for food
Every trainer develops a bond with the HeroRATs
Every trainer develops a bond with the HeroRATs

Links:

Feb 2, 2016

Life after mine-clearance

Margarida was APOPO deminer and is now on training
Margarida was APOPO deminer and is now on training

Our brave little HeroRATs always work alongside human colleagues, like the demining staff. APOPO's deminers in Mozambique have demonstrated tremendous commitment, sacrifice and dedication in helping rid the country of thousands of landmines and return safe land to the people of Mozambique.

Now the country has successfully resolved its landmine problem, it no longer requires such a large core of deminers. For many of APOPO's staff in Mozambique, APOPO was their first formal professional experience, and due to the narrowly specialized and highly technical nature of the work, they may struggle to compete for future work opportunities without new skillsets.

APOPO therefore initiated a vocational training course, allowing our former deminers to acquire new skills and undertake an alternative career. APOPO is offering a range of courses in cooperation with the Mozambican National Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (INEFP): plumbing, carpenter, small business management, accounting, agro-processing and many more.

Last year 61 people enrolled and they have all recently completed their courses with positive feedback. We’re happy to announce some have already found a new job or started a small business on their own, allowing them to provide for themselves and their families. This year another 70 people will participate in the training.

Thank you so much for joining us in the fight against landmines and helping us to support our deminer-Heroes build up a new life!

Learn more about our work, staff and HeroRATS by visiting our website or following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

Warm regards,

 

APOPO and the HeroRATs

Former deminers are now preparing for a new career
Former deminers are now preparing for a new career
APOPO deminers helped rid Mozambique of landmines
APOPO deminers helped rid Mozambique of landmines

Links:

 

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