Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions

by APOPO vzw
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Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions
Our new HeroRAT, Ronin available for adoption.
Our new HeroRAT, Ronin available for adoption.

Your support has achieved some amazing things this last quarter. Here is a roundup of some of the latest news, which you have helped make possible. ♥

THE LATEST NEWS IN TB DETECTION IN AFRICA

Our HeroRATs have been working hard detecting cases of tuberculosis, finding on average 40% more cases than microscopy alone. They are particularly efficient at tracing TB in younger patients, which is something we are looking into research wise - we believe that the viral load in children might be too low for microscopy to detect, but nothing gets past our HeroRATs' noses!

Speaking at the recent Tanzania Tuberculosis Stakeholders’' Union Event, Dr. Saitore Laizer, who attended as a representative of the Tanzanian Chief medical Officer, announced that the number of TB patients in the country are increasing at an alarming rate, meaning your support of the HeroRATs' work in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania is even more important. Thank you.

THE LATEST NEWS IN CAMBODIA

As of 2021, it is estimated that there are between 4 to 6 million landmines and buried explosives still active throughout Cambodia. The horrors of war and conflicts with political regimes don't simply go away once peace is declared.

There is a huge variance of buried weapons still active beneath Cambodian soil, but our magnificent HeroRATs have proven to be super-efficient and a highly economical way to find and remove these dangers! 

THE LATEST NEWS IN ANGOLA

Throughout 2021, APOPO, working with CNIDAH, Angola's National Mine Action Authority, has focused on the wester Cuanza Sul province. This province has been targeted for economic growth and development, and APOPO's goal to clear 2 million square meters of land will directly benefit 12,000 people from local communities. 

Much of the current area where the teams are working is covered in hilly and jagged terrain. While this presents challenges to detection work, all staff remain committed and determined to help ensure a brighter future for Angola and the villagers residing in the province.

During 2020, Covid-19 restrictions suspended operations and slowed down work that is critical to helping Angola meet Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) deadline of 2025. The Angola team is considering integration of technical survey dogs, known as APOPO HeroDOGs, to help the country meet its goal.

Your donation has huge impact around the world - saving lives and we simply could not do any of this, without your support. Thank you so much and we look forward to updating you next quarter!

Best wishes,

Emma

AP Landmines Cambodia remnants of war
AP Landmines Cambodia remnants of war
Unexploded ordnances - UXOs in Cambodia
Unexploded ordnances - UXOs in Cambodia
Anti-Tank Landmines in Cambodia
Anti-Tank Landmines in Cambodia

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Malen and Magawa
Malen and Magawa

This special project update features APOPO’s star HeroRAT, Magawa’s retirement and a new squad of 20 HeroRAT arrivals in Cambodia!

As you may remember, veteran Magawa was formally presented a PDSA Gold Medal – the animal equivalent of the George Cross - being the first rat in the charity’s 77-year history of honouring animals to receive a PDSA Medal! See images for Magawa with his suitably rat sized medal.

During his illustrious five-year career, HeroRAT, Magawa’s work has directly saved the lives of men, women and children who were impacted by hidden landmines and other deadly remnants of war. Every discovery he made reduced the risk of injury or death for the people of Cambodia. 

Magawa found an amazing 71 landmines and 38 items of unexploded ordnance, making him APOPO’s most successful HeroRAT and he helped clear over 225,000 square metres of land, allowing communities to live, work and be educated; without fear of losing life or limb. 

Our New Squad of HeroRATs in Cambodia

So, our new squad of 20 HeroRATs in Cambodia arrive at an opportune time, following the expansion of the APOPO Cambodia landmine clearance program, and as veterans like Magawa reach retirement. All the new recruits have now gone through a period of acclimatization and retraining with their new Cambodian handlers and now that they have received their external accreditation, they are clear to join team Magawa on the minefields!

The additional HeroRATs will help boost the daily square meter coverage and clearance, so local communities can get back on their land as quickly as possible. 

Your continued support helps this new generation of HeroRATs in Cambodia and other HeroRAT teams around the world, continue their work.

Thank you so much for supporting APOPO and our amazing HeroRATs, we couldn’t do what we do without you!

Magawa with his PDSA medal
Magawa with his PDSA medal
Mine detection HeroRAT
Mine detection HeroRAT

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Planting seedlings around the former minefield.
Planting seedlings around the former minefield.

Thank you so much for your continued support last quarter! Your support has contributed to some incredible achievements, and we hope you enjoy reading about the highlights of your incredible investment into APOPO's work.

Excitingly, on January 14th, APOPO and the Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC) participated in a ceremony to hand over the last minefield cleared during 2020!  Over the last 5 years APOPO’s innovative working methods in Cambodia have proven to be reliable and much more cost-efficient compared to traditional manual landmine clearance techniques. We even exceeded our target goal for 2020 by 25%, clearing a total of 4,389,935 square meters of land over the course of the year! There is still much to do, Cambodia has some of the world’s highest mine and UXO casualty rates, but with your help, we know we can do it.

We are also delighted to report that we have received a huge boost to our efforts to eradicate landmines in Angola from the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BMFA). Angola has one of the highest casualty rates of any landmine-affected country, so we will continue to seek funding for this vital work, in order to meet the 2025 target by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) deadline of 2025.

HeroRATs training to help fight illegal wildlife trafficking

HeroRATs have proved their ability to detect illegally trafficked pangolin scales (the world’s most widely trafficked mammal) and African hardwoods. Our team was thrilled to see a group of rats successfully indicate these while ignoring common items used to mask their smell in shipping containers! Together, in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) of South Africa, APOPO is now exploring the inclusion of additional wildlife products, while developing unique deployment strategies to position the rats where they are needed most.

We hope that you enjoy seeing the impact of your donations, as much as we do - none of this would be possible without support, such as yours. Thank you.

This week, we are taking part in GlobalGiving’s Little x Little campaign, where from the 8th March until the 12th March, your donations are match funded. If you donate this week, before Friday 12th March, your donation will be automatically increased by 50%! 

Giving back the land - last minefield cleared 2020
Giving back the land - last minefield cleared 2020
HeroRATs training to stop wildlife trafficking
HeroRATs training to stop wildlife trafficking

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Magawa and his gold medal.
Magawa and his gold medal.

Well. What an incredible quarter! Not only have our operations continued in the face of a pandemic but in September we also received the fantastic news that one of our HeroRATs, Magawa, was to be awarded the PDSA Gold Medal for life-saving work. We couldn't be prouder! 

Magawa Receives PDSA Gold Medal

One of our landmine detection rats, Magawa was born in Tanzania in November 2014. He grew up at APOPO's Training and Research centre in Tanzania where he learned how to detect the smell of explosives using his nose. Magawa moved to Siem Reap in Cambodia in 2016 where he met his new handler Malen and began his successful career. To date he has found 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance, making him APOPO’s most successful HeroRAT. Over the past 4 years he has helped clear over 141,000 square metres of land (the equivalent of twenty football pitches), allowing local communities to live, work and play without fear of losing life or limb.

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity, providing free and reduced-cost veterinary care to the pets of people in need. The PDSA Gold Medal is awarded to civilian animals for life-saving bravery and exceptional devotion to duty and the award is recognised worldwide as the animal equivalent of the George Cross. Magawa was formally presented with his rat-sized PDSA Gold Medal via a live link between Cambodia and the UK by the PDSA’s Director General. He is the first rat in the charity’s 77-year history of honouring animals to receive a PDSA Medal – joining a line-up of brave dogs, horses, pigeons and a cat.

Beating the Odds to Clear Minefields

As COVID-19 spread around the world we continued to push forward in our mission. Throughout this past quarter our teams across the world have continued to adapt in order to continue our life-saving work whilst minimising risk with protective measures - these included installing additional sinks, renting larger staff housing and increasing our fleet of cars.

In Cambodia demining operations continued in the Srey Nui area of Siem Reap, where suspect land along roads and farmland has not been safe to use for almost 30 years. The surrounding rural population is dependent on agriculture. Clearance of the area returns much-needed safe land back to the communities as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. This in turn will allow them to improve their livelihoods by increasing their livestock and expanding their farms.

APOPO teams in Siem Reap finished clearing 10 minefields covering 856,635 m2 land around Dai Av village with the land now being declared safe. APOPO and the HeroRATs - including Magawa - found 115 landmines and 99 unexploded ordnance (UXO). On July 22nd a small handover ceremony was held at the village where APOPO and CMAC teams officially released the safe land back to the village.

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It's thanks to your continued support that were able to bring real change to the communities with which we work.  Your incredible support allows us to detect landmines and tuberculosis across the world and we cannot thank you enough. 

The team embraces COVID-19 measures.
The team embraces COVID-19 measures.
Magawa and handler, Malen
Magawa and handler, Malen
Operations in Cambodia continue.
Operations in Cambodia continue.
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Deminer Rathana receiving essential supplies
Deminer Rathana receiving essential supplies

Our last project report was sent to you on March 25, 2020 and my goodness, a lot has happened since then.

For us here at APOPO the pandemic has had a significant effect on our finances and our operations; in last quarter we have striven, wherever possible, to continue our humanitarian missions but the nature of our work means we have been subject to varying levels of lockdown across different locations. In some of our operational countries, like Angola, we have had to cease activity entirely during the last three months following the declaration of a state of emergency. In others, such as Cambodia, we took the difficult decision to close the doors of our popular Visitor Center in Siem Reap in order to protect staff and visitors, and play our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Not everything over the last three months has been negative, however. Such difficult times saw a significant number of people reach out to us with genuine interest as to whether our HeroRATs could be trained to detect COVID-19, a subject that we cover here. Your questions about our HeroRATs capabilites are always inspiring!

Without a doubt we have experienced unprecedented times, but throughout the last three months one thing has been made clear to us - the unwavering support from people like you. With the pandemic hitting our finances hard, we've leant on our supporters harder than before and the messages of support and incoming donations have been a lifeline for our staff. With your support we were able to financially support our staff in Cambodia despite the closure of our Visitor Center, we were also able to purchase food and basic supplies for our HeroRAT handlers, trainers and staff which enabled them to support their families through this crisis. 

Over the last three months the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in some way, and as the world continues to manage its response in the best way it can we'd like to say that we hope you and your loved ones are well and continue to remain so. Your donations and positivity for our work is the blood running through our veins and we cannot thank you enough. 

On behalf of all of us here at APOPO, thank you so very much. 

Did You Know?

From 09:00:00 to 23:59:59 ET on July 15, 2020 GlobalGiving will be matching eligible donations from $100 to $1000 as follows:

Donations from $100 to $499 will be matched at 15%
Donations from $500 to $749 will be matched at 35%
Donations from $750 to $1000 will be matched at 50%

Keep an eye out for our project appeals and join us on June 15 and make your donation go farther for free.

Tour guide Voly receiving essential supplies
Tour guide Voly receiving essential supplies
Cambodia staff social distancing with masks
Cambodia staff social distancing with masks
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Organization Information

APOPO vzw

Location: Morogoro, Tanzania - Tanzania, United Republic of
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HeroRATs
Project Leader:
Emma Mortiboy
Morogoro, Tanzania, United Republic of
$808,922 raised of $1,000,000 goal
 
16,526 donations
$191,078 to go
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