Empowering women as agents of change in their communities.
In much of rural sub-Saharan Africa, women struggle to find regular work opportunities, leaving many families struggling to survive. APOPO made great efforts to promote the project as it was starting, at village level far and wide, and directly to female leaders and village groups. As a result we were able to meet the initial internal requirement of hiring at least 30% women (currently 32% of our staff are women).
APOPO incorporates and promotes the inclusion of women among its staff at all levels and their participation in setting priorities and plans empowers women as agents of change in their communities. All the women recruited to our program in Zimbabwe come from low-income communities and for some this is their first proper job. APOPO’s Zimbabwe project will continue to prioritize a more gender balanced team as much as possible when expanding the program and adding or replacing staff.
With support from the U.S. and Swiss governments, APOPO is clearing a minefield that will provide immediate food security and livelihood benefits to local communities, making way for safe and productive land-use to provide livelihood opportunities and generate income, helping lift whole communities out of poverty. APOPO in Zimbabwe has already cleared over 250,000 m2 and found and destroyed over 4000 landmines and boosters.
APOPO’s work is also critical to the longer-term development of a major eco-tourism and conservation opportunity. The task is in the Sengwe Wildlife Corridor, a strip of land that connects the rarely visited Gonarezhou National Park to the more popular Kruger National Park in South Africa. Once fully cleared, tourists will be able to travel between the two areas more easily. This will hopefully in turn increase overall tourist revenues in the area and additional job opportunities for locals.
Photos by David Brazier
APOPO Mine Action Zimbabwe is incredibly grateful to all our dedicated partners and donors.