We're thrilled to announce that Mozambique was officially declared free of all known landmines on the 17th of September! This massive accomplishment wouldn't have been possible without the tremendous efforts of our brave deminers and HeroRATs and your generous support!
Mozambique is now freed of tens of thousands of landmines and this achievement is even more special to APOPO since Mozambique is the first country where our landmine detection rats were tested and deployed in the real minefields.
Back in 2003 a first group of landmine detection rats nailed their trial tests in a densely mined field, indicating all 20 mines that were subsequently found by the manual deminers. A massive breakthrough for APOPO and the HeroRATs, proving our sniffers were up for the real job in the minefields. Soon after, eleven rats passed the accreditation test organized by the National Demining Institute of Mozambique and received their operational license.
They joined our mine action team in Gaza Province where they have helped clear over 6 million square meters of land, more than a year before the deadline! This successful clearance operation was the start of many tasks throughout Mozambique and eventually the HeroRATs have helped free five provinces of landmines, thereby finding 13,274 landmines and returning 11,124,446 square meters of safe land to the people of Mozambique.
"We were all excited when the rats passed the first trial and accreditation tests but I don't think anyone of us was hoping they would become such an important part of our operations and would help Mozambique become mine-free", says APOPO's training manager Abdullah, who was in Mozambique in 2003. "I'm so proud of them and I look forward to celebrating future accomplishments of our HeroRATs in Angola and Cambodia"!
A special thank you from our team and HeroRATs in Mozambique and we hope we can free more countries of landmines and help thousands of people back on their land with your support!
The APOPO team
Tomorrow, Wednesday July 15th, is a big day for everyone at APOPO and a great opportunity for our GlobalGiving supporters around the world to help our HeroRATs in their life-saving missions.
Your donations help our HeroRATs save more lives and if you make just one donation to APOPO this year, make it tomorrow! Tomorrow is GlobalGiving's Partner Bonus Day, where every donation to APOPO will be matched at 50%. This means that for every $10 you donate, APOPO and the HeroRATs will receive $15, making it the best day of the year to donate. The event starts at 9AM EST and lasts until Midnight.
“Donors understandably want to generate as much impact as possible with their charitable contributions, says Robin Toal, APOPO’s Online Development Manager. “GlobalGiving's Partner Rewards day represents a fantastic opportunity to increase your contribution by 50% simply by donating during the event. There really has never been a better time to give and we would like to thank the GlobalGiving community for their continuous support!”
Our Tuberculosis detection rats have done an excellent job the first half of this year, detecting over 950 TB patients in Mozambique and Tanzania that were initially missed by microscopy. Thanks to our heroes, these people could start treatment and get active again without risking to infect others. We’re also very excited to inform you about the arrival of some of our mine detection rats in Cambodia, one of the most mine-contaminated countries in the world!
This is the first time our HeroRATs havetravelled outside of Africa. The rats are now acclimatizing and undergoing further training before the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities will test them to make sure they are ready for the operational work. Once they pass this test the HeroRATs and their trainers are officially licensed for operational work in the minefields and can start helping people back on their land.
Thank you for your generous support from everyone at APOPO and all of the HeroRATs!
The HeroRAT team
Angola is one of the most mine-affected regions in the world with about one fifth of the population affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), that’s over 4 million people! “We’re committed to help those 4 million people getting their land and lives back and would like to thank you for your kind support”, says APOPO Program Manager for Mine Action in Angola, Frank Gregorio. Early 2014 APOPO received an operational permit for a humanitarian landmine clearance project in Angola. Together with its local partner Norwegian’s People Aid (NPA), APOPO carried out operations in Malange province with support of the Mine Detection Rats(MDR), clearing an area of more than 190,000m2 and helping thousands of people back onto their land.
Now preparations have started to deploy the HeroRATs in Zaire Province on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Our teams will be clearing two sites, Malele 2 and Malele 3, in Mbuela commune about 100 kilometres North from province capital Mbanza Congo. The area was a strategic zone during wartime, with a position of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and offices of the border police and immigration. Mines were laid as a protective tactic in an area of about 240,000 m2, along the border and a road leading to the border.
The now contaminated land is much needed by the local population for agricultural and commercial activities. Once cleared, part of the area will be used to develop a market that will stimulate cross-border trade with neighboring Congo, creating development opportunities and positive change in the lives and livelihoods of the local community.
If you want to know more about our work, progress and future plans in Angola, please check our website, Facebook and twitter.
With the help of the HeroRATs, our demining teams are now supporting the clearance of landmines in a residential area in Ngola Luije in the northern part of Angola. The site was a military camp during the war but when the soldiers left, landmines and other explosive remnants of war remained and are now acting as a barrier to development as well as a dangerous hazard to local communities.
The site is located near a primary school, so every day hundreds of children, teachers and parents from the local community walk right past the minefield. "Children want to explore new places and when they play they sometimes forget about possible dangers”, says Frank Gregorio, APOPO's mine action program manager for Angola. “Our rats are therefore doing a very important job by clearing all these weapons in the backyards of the school. Thanks to them, these children can play safely and without fear again”
Clearing the mines will also allow the community to use the much needed land for agricultural and developmental purposes. Most people living in the area are small scale farmers, depending on arable land for their livelihoods.
From APOPO and all the school children, teachers and parents, thank you for helping us make Ngola Luije save to live, play and farm.
Dear APOPO supporter,
APOPO and the HeroRATs want to thank you for your support the past year and wish you all the best in 2015!
Thanks to you and others like you, we can look back on a very successful year: we were able to send rat-reinforcements to our team in Angola, we’ve expanded the reach of our Mine Action program into Cambodia with the launch of projects in some of the most mine-affected areas and our staff and the HeroRATs in Mozambique are proud to have been part of the clearance of two provinces that are now declared mine free. Overall, we have found over 21,000 landmines and bombs and cleared/released over 8.2 million square meters of contaminated land, allowing local communities to get back to using their land and carry on their lives without fear.
Our tuberculosis detection rats have sniffed out more than 50,000 sputum samples, collected from clinics in Tanzania and Mozambique, thereby helping us to diagnose over 1800 patients who were missed by conventional methods. We expanded our collaboration from 8 to a total of 15 health centers in Maputo, allowing us to collect almost 100% of all the samples produced in the city.
Thanks to your generosity and the help of the GlobalGiving community, we were able to train and deploy more HeroRATs, helping us to free thousands of people from the threat of landmines and tuberculosis. We would like to take this moment to thank you for your kind support and we look forward to sharing more of our successes in 2015!
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Tanzania, United Republic of
Public Fundraising Manager
Tanzania, United Republic of