Celebrating 25 Years Of Saving Lives
Founded 25 years ago, APOPO was developed in response to a growing awareness that landmines kill and maim people and hamper development in post-conflict areas.
Methods to rid affected countries of landmines were slow so a small team in Belgium founded APOPO to develop a fast, simple, and low-cost mine clearance method that could be sustained within national programmes in low-income countries.
Celebrating 25 Years
This year the organisation celebrates 25 years of its mission to protect people and the planet using African giant pouched rats, nicknamed "HeroRATs", to detect landmines and tuberculosis with their extraordinary sense of smell.
The focus of APOPO's work is protecting the lives of people, animals and wildlife from weapons that have little to do with them. This allows communities in Angola and Cambodia to safely cultivate land, raise livestock, educate children and feed their families. These day-to-day activities are all too often taken for granted.
Thanks to the dedication and tireless hard work of APOPO's teams, and generous support, over 1.7 million people feel the impact of their work.
Teaching people how to stay safe until the explosives can be removed is crucial to prevent people from getting hurt. Children are particularly at high risk. An unexploded landmine can look like a toy to a curious child. APOPO teaches people how to avoid, recognise and report explosive threats in their surroundings and promote positive behavior change in relation to landmines.
Three years ago nine-year-old Chandarak and his father went to a mango field to pick fruit. He stepped off the path onto a landmine that took his leg, leading to a long road to recovery. By clearing minefields and releasing safe land back to impacted communities, APOPO actively participates in keeping innocent children like Chandarak safe from harm and enrolled in school.
Before COVID-19, tuberculosis (TB) was the world's leading cause of death from an infectious disease. Annually 1.1 million children around the world get TB and often it goes undetected as it can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Since 2007, APOPO's HeroRATs have helped increase detection of new patients by over 40% for partner clinics in Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia. The high speed at which HeroRATs can search large numbers of samples as well as their high sensitivity, results in a very low-cost test.
"In some ways the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the world, in others, it reminded us of our priorities and the urgency of our work. One thing remains abundantly clear—none of this could have happened without players standing by APOPO. Thank you for being the beacon of hope during dark times." Christophe Cox, CEO, APOPO
Since 2014, players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised over £5 Million for APOPO, directly enabling the extensive, life-saving impact they are able to achieve.
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