On Tuesday evening, September 14th, APOPO’s Chairman Prof. Dr. Herwig Leirs and CEO Christophe Cox presented APOPO’s story and impact to an engaged audience in Christophe’s hometown Nieuwerkerken.

The Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy, Meryame Kitir, and H.E Jestas Nyamanga, Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the Kingdom of Belgium were invited as speakers to the event. H.E. Nyamanga spoke about the longterm collaboration between the two countries and was grateful to APOPO for highlighting Tanzania in the global spotlight through the HeroRATs.

 Meryame Kitir (left), and H.E Jestas Nyamanga (right)

Ms Kitir presented the pioneering role that Belgium always had in the fight to eradicate landmines and emphasized how the goals of the Belgian development cooperation align well with APOPO’s work. She also highlighted that APOPO recently became a new partner of the Belgian Development Cooperation and has been recognized by the federal government as an NGO. APOPO looks forward to additional support from the federal government to continue protecting people and the planet with innovative solutions.

The event was hosted by the commune Nieuwerkerken at the invitation of the local Development Cooperation Committee that is proud of their connection to the beginnings of APOPO. The presentation was well attended and the venue filled up to near capacity. The presentation covered all APOPO’s activities and programs and showed the real transforming impact of the work we do alongside our HeroRATs.

It was an honor both for myself and for the organization to be able to present APOPO at this event and to have attracted such a large gathering. APOPO hopes to be able to contribute significantly to reaching the goal of a landmine free world and reducing the number of people affected by tuberculosis so we can break the cycle of poverty. We are grateful for the continued support that enables us to innovate and adapt our work to reach more poeple in a changing world. ” said Christophe Cox.

 Photo © Arnoud Nijssen

Also representing APOPO at the event were Executive Secretary Esther Haalboom (center), Swiss Director Anna Bouchier (left) and U.S. Director Charlie Richter (second from left). As a tribute, Christophe received a unique work of art from a local artist Jo Berden – a portrait of HeroRAT Magawa, wearing a cape like a superhero.