Angola, following 27 years of civil war, is the third-most mine affected country in the world after Afghanistan and Cambodia, according to the Landmine Monitor. Despite some regional development, Angola still has regions in the east that remain heavily mine-ridden, undeveloped and amongst the poorest in the world. Landmines kill and maim people on a daily basis and are a major obstacle to rural development and the reestablishment of normal life. It is estimated that one fifth of Angola'’s population is affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), a large part of which consists of people who are returning refugees and Internally Displaced People.

APOPO´s partner organization in Angola is Norwegian People´s Aid (NPA), one of the leading humanitarian mine clearance operators in Angola. NPA has worked with mines in the country since 1994 and has a comprehensive mine action capacity that consists of combined non-technical and technical survey teams, explosive ordnance disposal and clearance teams. NPA is the only mine action organization in the provinces of Malanje, Kwansa Norte, Uige and Zaire - an area of more than 200,000 square kilometers and with almost 2,400,000 inhabitants. The organization will now utilize APOPO´s Mine Detection Rats (MDRs) that are expected to speed up work and consequently the land release process.

APOPO´s specially trained Giant Pouched Rats for landmine detection complement NPA´s survey and clearance capacities. One MDR can clear up to 400 square meters per day, compared to a manual deminer who, with the help of metal detectors, can typically clear only 25 to 50 square meters in the same duration. The MDR sniffs out the explosive in both metal and plastic mines. When a rat discovers a mine or an ERW, it indicates the presence of these explosives by light scratching. Rat handlers then mark the spot which is later investigated by manual deminers. Since the rats weigh only up to 1.5 kg they are too light to set off the mines and offer a safe yet effective way to detect deadly landmines and ERW.

In Angola, APOPO currently has a capacity of 16 rats.  Approximately half of this capacity will be clearing mines and releasing land in APOPO-dedicated areas while the other half will support NPA’s mechanical clearance capacity in areas where the organization has already prepared the ground for detection activities.

Over the next three years NPA and APOPO´s joint efforts are expected to considerably reduce the impact from landmines in Angola, in a cost-effective way.

Jared Mkumbo, Training Supervisor

Jared Mkumbo, Training Supervisor

“I have had a long relationship with APOPO in fact since it first started and set up operations in Morogoro. I started as a Trainer and I have enjoyed my job all these years. Here I am given opportunities to explore my potential."

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