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 8, 2012

HeroRAT Newsletter - April 2012

Mine Detection Rats & handlers, Mozambique
Mine Detection Rats & handlers, Mozambique

Help us build a TB Detection Clinic in Mozambique!

In October 2011, APOPO was awarded a grant by the Flemish Government to expand our Tuberculosis Detection Program into Mozambique – a country with an extremely high incidence of TB, with an estimated 431 cases per 100,000 people. 

APOPO’s team has been working hard in Mozambique’s capital city of Maputo to establish partnerships, meet with stakeholders and set up operations, and are committed to moving forward by beginning construction on a brand-new Tuberculosis Detection Facility.  

The plan is estimated to come at a cost between the range of $50,000 - $60,000, and APOPO is asking our generous supporters to help us build! Your contribution will help provide inhabitants of Maputo with an accurate diagnosis, which will enable them to begin their life-saving treatment – and bring us one step closer to ridding the entire world of Tuberculosis.

Help us build our TB Detection clinic today, right here on GlobalGiving!

 

APOPO provides training in Mine Action

APOPO's Mozambique Program Manager, Tesfazghi Tewelde, was invited by Mozambique’s National Institute of Demining (IND) to provide training in "Land Release and Operational Quality Management" to IND operational staff. In total, 24 demining supervisors and staff from around the country participated in the training.

With the key objective of reinforcing IND staff’s knowledge and capacity, the agenda of the training covered Land Release strategies, clearance strategy and methodology, quality management, and participant evaluation through both practical and theory tests.

The training demonstrated APOPO’s national capacity-building initiative, and strengthened the existing cooperation between APOPO the IND.

APOPO began a Mine Action Program in Mozambique in 2006, and in 2008 was tasked as the sole demining operator for Mozambique’s Gaza Province.  So far, APOPO has returned 4,282,359 square meters of land to the population in the region through a combination of clearance and survey methods.

 

APOPO team welcomes TeKimiti Gilbert as Head of Mine Action

APOPO is pleased to announce that we have welcomed a new Head of Mine Action to our team. TeKimiti Gilbert comes to APOPO with a long and successful career in demining behind him, having held senior operational positions in Mine Action programs within the United Nations.

TeKimiti graduated from l’Institut Européen de Genève with a Master of Advanced Studies in International Security and is a graduate of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, International Training Course. In addition to these credentials, TeKimiti brings extensive practical experience implementing the clearance of landmine and explosive remnants of war contamination throughout the world.

Says TeKimiti, “I’m extremely pleased to be a part of the APOPO team and I look forward to working together to continue the tremendous efforts achieved by all.”

 

***

Thanks for your support of APOPO and the HeroRATs!

Best wishes from Tanzania, Mozambique and Thailand,

The APOPO team
herorats@apopo.org
facebook.com/herorat
twitter.com/herorats

Apr 4, 2012

International Day for Mine Awareness

Handler Usseni Ussi, with rat Garvey
Handler Usseni Ussi, with rat Garvey

April 4th marks International Day for Mine Awareness, and APOPO remains dedicated to our mission of seeing a mine-free world.

In 2011, APOPO’s Mozambique Mine Action team found and destroyed 792 landmines, 227 Explosive Remnants of War, 2,683 Small Arms and Ammunition, and released 2,632,608  of land in the Gaza Province.

But our work in Mozambique goes beyond these numbers. It is defined by our most valuable asset: the people who make up our incredible team.



Usseni Ussi, an inhabitant of Gaza, knows what it is like to live in fear of the explosive remnants of war that lie hidden in the earth.

“During the time I grew up, there was no demining activity at all. No one could use our land. We could not even walk freely. And the community was very static as a result. There was no growth,” he recalls. 

In 2006, Ussi heard about APOPO’s demining work on the radio. When APOPO arrived in Gaza he went to the camp to see the rats he had heard about, and found employment with APOPO’s Mine Detection Rat team.
“I knew that the work would involve taking out landmines," he says. "And that was important to me.”

Now in his fifth year as a Mine Detection Rat handler, Ussi is proud of his work, proud of the rats, and proud of his place on APOPO’s team. “I believe in this approach because I can see it,” he says. “We can already see the benefits. Now, we have access to things we didn’t have access to. We can build. We can grow.”

On International Day for Mine Awareness, help us see a world free of mines.

Mar 1, 2012

HeroRAT Newsletter - February 2012

Dr. Goodall, Bart Weetjens, and SUA
Dr. Goodall, Bart Weetjens, and SUA's Prof. Ngaga

Dr. Jane Goodall pays a visit to APOPO

Internationally renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall recently spent a morning with the APOPO team – human and rat alike – as part of her larger visit to Sokoine University of Agriculture this February.

After being introduced to our work through our founder, Bart Weetjens, Dr. Goodall visited our Tanzanian headquarters for the first time in 2003. This month she was warmly welcomed back to our training facilities, where she spent a morning touring APOPO’s landmine detection training field, viewing the rats in action, and speaking with our HeroRAT trainers and staff.

Following a break at APOPO’s Tuberculosis Detection facility for tea and coffee, Dr. Goodall, along with her team,  representatives from Sokoine University, and members of the University's Roots and Shoots club, commenced the planting of 20 fruit trees to brighten the garden of our TB Detection facility.

“I admire the work APOPO is doing with their HeroRATs, on behalf of the thousands of people whose lives have been saved, and for changing the reputation of the rats for the better,” said Dr. Goodall, after completing her visit of APOPO. The entire APOPO staff was proud to present our training headquarters to Dr. Goodall and her team, and we invite her again to Morogoro anytime!


A life affected by APOPO’s work

Azarias is one of many people affected by landmines in Mozambique. In 1981, he lost his right leg after stepping on a landmine in the Pfukwe Corridor of the Mabalane District. Since then he has lost his brother, uncle and cousin, all to landmines. His livelihood, livestock, was also at risk. 

When asked about the mines, Azarias looked down and said, “When I heard the loud noise of a mine, I felt sad and thought of my past years. I knew it was either the life of a human being, or of a livestock that had been taken away.”

APOPO has since been clearing mines in the Mabalane District, which was one of the largest minefields in Mozambique. APOPO’s Mine Action Program in the Gaza Province has so far positively affected the lives of over 117,500 people.

Azarias smiles, “There is happiness, our land has been returned to us, freedom of grazing for livestock, no restrictions on where we walk. The mines have been a serious problem and we have already seen a reduction in people losing their lives. We are very happy.”

 

Surveying the Thai-Cambodian border

Along the Thai-Cambodian border, the APOPO-PRO survey teams have now detailed more than 50 million square meters of Suspected Hazardous Areas (SHA). As a result, the surveyed land was reclassified as follows:

• 5% Cancelled Land
• 25% Confirmed Hazardous Areas (CHA)
• 70% SHA or Area With Restriction (ARW), pending further technical survey.  

Alongside the four non-technical survey (NTS) teams, APOPO-PRO had two small technical survey (TS) teams, whose role was to verify information being collected. Through this verification process, 476 mines were found along with 876 explosive remnants of war (ERW). These finds confirm that the NTS methodology is correctly identifying areas containing mines.

With such a promising start for the survey program, APOPO hopes to secure further funding to ensure that we continue to play a significant role in helping the Thailand Mine Action Center (TMAC) achieve their goal of a mine-free nation. 

Lieutenant GeneraI Chatree Changrian, Director General of TMAC, fully supports APOPO’s efforts: “APOPO has made a substantial contribution, and has become one of the most important partners of TMAC…we believe that APOPO’s efforts can contribute to a much more efficient survey to facilitate the land release process, which will bring Thailand as well as other countries in this region many steps closer to full compliance with the APMBC.” 

 

A Day in the Life of a HeroRAT-in-training

HeroRATs put their best paws forward for the camera in their latest cinematic effort, “A Day in the Life of a HeroRAT-in-training,” specially filmed for GlobalGiving’s 2012 Video Contest. Even though the HeroRATs were not declared winners this time around, the three-minute video remains featured on our GlobalGiving project page, Train HeroRATs for life-saving detection missions.

The video follows a typical morning in the lives of future landmine detection HeroRATs, as they train hard inTanzania to fulfill their dreams of one day saving lives in Mozambique or another mine-affected country.

All GlobalGiving Video Contest entrants were judged by Laura Knudson, Education Program Manager for the Green Living Project, a film production company that documents global stories of sustainability. Although the HeroRATs were not chosen among the final five, the rats are still proud of their effort and invite you to view the video: either right here on GlobalGiving, or here on APOPO’s Youtube Channel.

Stay tuned for more films in the future as the HeroRATs shake, rattle, and roll for the camera!

 

Help us improve our communications by taking our survey!

APOPO’s HeroRAT team is interested in improving our communications with you, our donors and supporters! We would greatly appreciate your feedback in one or both of these brief surveys:

APOPO’s Online Communications Survey
APOPO’s Adopt-a-Rat Program Survey

 

***

Thanks for reading, and until next time,

The HeroRAT team
herorats@apopo.org
facebook.com/heroRAT
twitter.com/heroRATs 

 
   

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