Ceremony to officialize partnership with INAD
On Tuesday the 22nd of September, APOPO Angola signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a new partnership with ️Instituto Nacional de Desminagem (INAD) – the national mine action institute and main public demining operator in Angola.
This new partnership is funded by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BMFA). We were honored to have the Angolan Minister of Social Action, Family and Gender Promotion, Faustina Alves lead this High-Level ceremony which was attended by some of our main donors represented by the Belgian Ambassador to Angola H.E. Mr. Jozef Smets and the Japanese Ambassador to Angola, H.E. Mr. Maruhashi Jiro.
Since 2014, APOPO’s operations in Angola were focused in the northwestern provinces of Malanje, Zaire and Uíge, all of which border the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since October 2020 this now also includes the western province of Cuanza Sul. Despite APOPO’s commitment to Angola to help in meeting its objective of becoming mine-free by 2025 in accordance with Article 5 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), the current mine clearance capacity country-wide is considerably less than it was just a few years ago. To this end, support and capacity for humanitarian demining in Angola must be ramped-up if Angola is to meet its 2025 deadline.
Additional ground preparation support
The signed MoU means that APOPO will begin integrating an INAD Hitachi machine into APOPO’s operational capacity for ground preparation as soon as possible in order to boost efficiency, increasing our activities as well as outputs. This machine will support and work in tandem with APOPO’s machine to speed up clearing vegetation prior to land clearance.
After APOPO surveys a suspected area, the confirmed minefields require ground preparation as thick vegetation is removed and the mined area becomes accessible for manual deminer and detection animal alike. Ground preparation is a very important activity for APOPO as the deployment of the rats depends on it.
A Ground Preparation machine at work
Mine Risk Education
The second aspect of this new partnership involves carrying out joint activities in Mine Risk Education which will allow APOPO to help keep people safe by teaching them how to minimize risks and what to do when they come accross explosives — this prevents devastating accidents until the minefields can be cleared. Creating awareness at affected communities’ level has been proven to be an effective strategy to mitigate the risk of explosive devices. These activities will take place in the northern Cuanza Sul province where APOPO is currently based.
APOPO has been in Angola since 2012 but there is still a lot of work to do. The program was originally established with support from the BMFA, using landmine detection rats integrated into the existing mine action capacity of Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA). However since 2018, APOPO is a fully registered NGO in Angola and is operating independently in direct partnership with the Angolan Mine Action Authority, ANAM (formerly CNIDAH) and committed to a sustained program until Angola is free of landmines.
INAD Field Visit
Between the 28th – 30th of September INAD visited APOPO’s operations for the first time. And APOPO also had the opportunity to visit INAD’s installations in order to inspect the Hitachi machine in Cuanza Sul province. Both APOPO and INAD are now carrying out practical preparations in order to begin joint operations as soon as possible this month of October.
APOPO Angola remains most grateful to its donors and partners who are
instrumental to the success of our landmine clearance program.