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Support APOPO's rats in their life-saving missions

by APOPO vzw
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
APOPO
APOPO's HeroRATs are working hard in Angola.

It's thanks to your incredible support that we were able to continue our fight against landmines and tuberculosis in July, August and September 2018 - we've certainly been kept busy and great progress has been made.

Landmine Detection

In September 2018, some three years in the making, APOPO received its registration from Angola’s Ministry of Justice which permits APOPO to conduct its humanitarian demining activities independently in Angola. This credential was the first step toward independent registration and licensing with all relevant authorities in Angola which will make way for APOPO’s access to new funding streams and a range of potential partnerships. 

As APOPO is the only operator with animals, namely mine detection rats (MDR), in the country, humanitarian mine action in Angola would benefit from increased animal detection capacity nationwide in the challenge for completion and an Angola free of landmines. APOPO’s MDR are too light to detonate the landmines and are very quick at finding them, making them a good tool for accelerating detection and clearance. 

Tuberculosis Detection

This quarter saw great advances in the fight against TB as heads of state and world leaders got together for the first ever UN annual General Assembly high-level meeting dedicated to fighting tuberculosis (TB). Attendees signed a political declaration with commitments to increase funding, support for research and agreed for more collaboration across sectors and member states in order to end TB by 2030.

Every year around the world, 10.4 million new people fall ill with tuberculosis, and 4.1 million of them fail to be diagnosed, treated or reported by health systems. By any standard, the 4,600 people who die of TB every day is an unacceptable level of human suffering and economic burden. Tuberculosis is contagious and airborne. Despite being curable, TB remains the leading cause of death from an infectious disease and the leading killer of people living with HIV. The disease represents a global health security threat and results in high economic and financial burdens to the TB-patients and their families. 

The Angolan HeroRATs with their handlers.
The Angolan HeroRATs with their handlers.
A TB Detection HeroRAT hard at work.
A TB Detection HeroRAT hard at work.
Fighting to end TB.
Fighting to end TB.
Congratulations to our HeroRATs & Trainers.
Congratulations to our HeroRATs & Trainers.


This month, APOPO hosted two representatives from Angola’s national demining authority the National Intersectorial Commission for Humanitarian Demining and Assistance (CNIDAH), for the independent, external double-blind testing of 16 freshly trained and newly imported mine detection rats (MDR). 

The two days of testing were held in a former minefield previously cleared by APOPO with the assistance of now retired MDR. The test area had been specially prepared by CNIDAH the month prior with deactivated landmines planted for the MDR and their handlers to find.

The accreditation is “double-blind” because the MDR and the handlers are unaware of the locations of the targets, which are known only to CNIDAH who have them marked on a map. Each of 16 MDR were subjected to a search of 200 square metres, and all 16 of the MDR correctly indicated the targets within a one-meter radius of the target, with not a single one missed. This reflects the high level of mine detection skill of the MDR and their handlers as well as the quality of the breeding and training at APOPO’s Headquarters and training centre in Morogoro, Tanzania.

I credit APOPO’s training team in Tanzania for preparing a fine group of detection rats, which quickly acclimatised to our premises in Uíge, and demonstrated strong positive behaviour that is easy for handlers to recognise." Zacarias - MDR Supervisor.

I was excited to meet the 16 new MDRs at the airport in Luanda after having waited anxiously for them since they departed APOPO’s headquarters in early May. They have impressively proved themselves as Angola’s next team of mine detection rats to take on our next tasked minefields in Angola. With accreditation now out of the way, as soon as we have the certificate from CNIDAH in Luanda, APOPO will immediately deploy the MDR to an ongoing task in Uíge Province located in the district of Quitexe. The minefield was a former military position and camp, and once free from all hazards, the area will used for expansion of the nearby village and for agriculture." Alfredo - MDR Supervisor.

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APOPO sincerely thanks our wonderful donors and partners for making APOPO’s life-saving work in Angola possible.

Successful mine detection means lives saved.
Successful mine detection means lives saved.
Home time after a day well done.
Home time after a day well done.

With Mother's Day fast approaching, why not send a donation in honor of your Mom?

 

From 1st to 13th May 2018, GlobalGiving will match 100% of all new, recurring donations received by APOPO. 

 

The donations we receive go towards empowering mothers across the globe - mothers like Gloria who strive day in, day out to look after their families through incredible adversities and hardship. 

Gloria is a widowed grandmother, smallholder, and head of her family. For years she struggled with having to farm land contaminated with unexploded landmines in order to provide food for her family. With APOPO's help, Gloria and her family are now able to farm a large area of land previously off-limits to them - they're able to farm safely, in the knowledge that they won't lose life or limb to a landmine.  

I am Gloria, a grandmother and smallholder.
I am Gloria, a grandmother and smallholder.
My family depends on crops for our livelihood.
My family depends on crops for our livelihood.
Power lines were mined during the war.
Power lines were mined during the war.
We had no choice but to farm dangerous land.
We had no choice but to farm dangerous land.
But then APOPO came and cleared the land.
But then APOPO came and cleared the land.
Each yellow stick shows where a mine was.
Each yellow stick shows where a mine was.
My daughter and her child are safe now.
My daughter and her child are safe now.

This Mother's Day, why not give a gift that gives back?

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Instead of showering your Mom with flowers, how about giving a donation in her honour which will be used to help empower the moms, mums and mamas we work with across the globe.

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By giving a donation in honour of your Mom, you'll be helping women like Sharifa continue to lead and care for their families.

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From 1st to 13th May 2018, GlobalGiving will match 100% of all new, recurring donations received by APOPO. 

 

SHARIFA'S STORY

During her pregnancy Sharifa got very sick and recognised the symptoms of TB as she had had it once before. 

"My name is Sharifa and this is my baby Ramadhani. I live in Dar es Salaam in an area called Manzese. 

During my pregnancy I fell ill. I had a bad cough and I lost a lot of weight instead of gaining it. I became very weak. As a result I wasn’t able to look after my family. I had had tuberculosis in 2008 and my symptoms were very similar this time again so I went to the hospital for a TB test. When they told me the result was negative, I got very worried. 

I had to rest but I wasn’t receiving any treatment and kept getting worse. I was in very bad shape and at one point even became afraid my baby wouldn’t make it.  After a few days I got a call from a lady from MKUTA. She wanted to see me and visited me at home to explain they had sent my sputum sample to APOPO where it was retested and they had found tuberculosis. She also told me it was rats who had found the disease! At first I couldn’t believe it but she assured me it was true - APOPO's lab had confirmed it with microscopy. 

I’m so happy I was diagnosed and could start treatment. I recovered quickly and now both my baby and me are doing well. When I meet other mothers with children I tell them my story and make sure they know what to do if they ever have symptoms that might suggest tuberculosis."

 

Sharifa - "I tell other mothers my story..."
Sharifa - "I tell other mothers my story..."
APOPO
APOPO's HeroRATs sniffing samples.

Every day, thousands of deminers around the world risk their lives when clearing landmines in an effort to help the communities who live in terror of these insidious, hidden weapons. For deminers, International Landmine Awareness Day is just a regular day, no different to any other day on the minefield. For APOPO, this day is an opportunity to highlight their courage, to raise awareness of the landmine issue, and to celebrate what has so far been achieved, whilst keeping in context the hard work that remains to be done. The focus this year for landmine awareness day is on protectionpeace and development.

Protection
Despite mine action efforts around the world, people are regularly killed and maimed from landmines and other leftover explosives. Children are at risk by playing near their houses or travelling op school, their parents overcome terror every day to work their land and provide for their family. Mine Action is about protecting people and their livelihoods from weapons that were laid for reasons that had mostly nothing to do with them in the first place. Yet, it is the local communities who now bear the brunt of these forgotten, hidden killers.

APOPO, through its mine detection rats, is committed to clearing landmines and releasing land at an accelerated pace, helping to protecting more people and ensuring that children can grow up in a safe environment. Yet the need for protection against landmines is not unique to humans. Mines are also found in isolated areas where endangered wildlife roams, such as along the border between South West Zimbabwe and Mozambique. APOPO’s program there is located in a wildlife corridor and designated conservation area, and aims to protect elephants lion and other animals as they move from one protected area to another.

Peace building
The road to peace is shorter when there is hope for improvement and normalisation of life. Clearing mines is an integrated element of building lasting peace and stability after war by returning safe, productive land to communities who for decades have been crammed together on land whose agricultural fertility steadily deteriorates with over-farming, whilst space for development and expansion is unavailable.

Preconditions for peace also require peace building initiatives, including safe movement of peacekeepers and aid workers, along with distribution of humanitarian aid. The presence of landmines can severely inhibit these efforts leaving communities even isolated and sometimes lawless.

Development
The presence of landmines and ERW will always impede development in one way or another, yet the full implications of landmine contamination on a country are often little known, poorly understood, badly documented and wholly underrated. Rural communities may be prevented from cultivation of land and herding their livestock, thus triggering reliance of humanitarian aid. Development initiatives themselves are often hemmed in and hampered, preventing sustainable development and prolonging dependency of such aid. Rehabilitation of infrastructure can be similarly restricted, preventing economic growth and provision of basic services.

Clearing the landmines allows settlement into new areas in contrast to prolonged urbanisation because of war. Angola is an example of a country where migration of people from excess urbanised areas into rural areas is hampered because of landmines.

What we can do
The Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) has adapted the goal to “accomplish all outstanding obligations under the Convention, to the fullest extent possible, by 2025”. This is for the most part achievable if states, donors and mine action organisations give it the priority it deserves and continue with current or probably higher levels of funding. APOPO has for 20 years developed and improved the use of animals for landmine detection. Our efforts ensure more expedient protection of civilians and animals and support peace building and development in mine affected areas. Integrated Mine Detection Rats teams can triple the overall efficiency of a land release process compared manual mine clearance used alone. Through partnership with other mine action organisations, we can ensure a much wider deployment of rats into more mine affected countries.

Our goal is to help vulnerable groups in mine affected countries. We have been successful in doing this in Mozambique, Angola and Cambodia and we strive to expand our efforts into Zimbabwe and Colombia. We have also deployed animals in South Sudan and with partners, we could further expand into more mine affected countries and territories. The International Mine Action day is also the occasion to honour field staff of APOPO and all other mine action organisations who daily risk their lives to achieve our shared goal. The work of these people may not be easily noticed but is greatly appreciated.

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APOPO thanks partners and donors across the countries in which it works for their continued support

 

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Organization Information

APOPO vzw

Location: Morogoro, Tanzania - Tanzania, United Republic of
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HeroRATs
Project Leader:
Emma McEachan
Morogoro, Tanzania, United Republic of
$473,752 raised of $750,000 goal
 
9,192 donations
$276,248 to go
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