Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE)
Situated on the edges of Southeast Zimbabwe is a dense minefield, spanning from the Sango Border Post to Mwenezi River. This minefield falls under APOPO’s area of responsibility and has much potential for development for local communities through agricultural and livestock farming. However, the presence of deadly landmines blocks access to this fertile land. Zimbabwe’s minefields are uniquely dense and complex. In addition to the direct danger of explosives that have claimed both human and animal lives, the communities face several livelihoods challenges, including inadequate water availability and human-wildlife conflict.
Thanks to generous support from the U.S. Government and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), APOPO is clearing this minefield laid over four decades ago during the Liberation Struggle. As APOPO clears the debris left behind after conflict, which is painstaking work and takes time, APOPO also carries out Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) or mine risk education in the communities along the minefield.
Keeping Children Safe
Teaching people how to stay safe until the explosives can be removed for good is crucial, to stop people from getting hurt. Children in particular are at high risk because they are curious. An unexploded bomb can look like a tempting toy to an inquisitive child. For families living surrounded by landmines and explosives, risk education is the best way to prevent casualties. APOPO teaches people how to avoid, recognise and report explosive threats in their surroundings and promote positive practices and behavior change in relation to landmines.
APOPO’s area of responsibility is an important corridor for wildlife migration, including elephants. Sadly, landmines are preventing animals from naturally migrating out of Gonarezhou Park to neighboring Limpopo Park in Mozambique or Kruger Park in South Africa. This is leading to overpopulation and habitat destruction, preventing gene flow necessary to maintain genetic diversity.
APOPO in Zimbabwe has already cleared over 1.4 million sqm and found and destroyed over 6,000 landmines and boosters. By clearing the landmines, APOPO is opening up the area for development, agriculture and eco-tourism to thrive, bringing many benefits for all who live there. It will enable conservation authorities to reconnect ecological systems, as well as develop wildlife conservation as a land-use option that not only improve people’s livelihoods but also the wellbeing of wildlife in the area. This project supports Zimbabwe’s efforts of becoming landmine free by 2025.
APOPO Mine Action Zimbabwe is incredibly grateful to all our dedicated partners and donors.