International Day of the Girl Child

Alice and daughter Elia laughing

Today, October 11th, marks the 10th anniversary of a day dedicated to girls. Over the last decade there has been increased attention on issues that matter to girls at all levels: governments, policymakers and the general public. And with this, more opportunities for girls to have their voices heard on the global stage.

While the lives of girls have certainly improved in some areas, they still face unprecedented challenges to their education, physical and mental wellness, and the protections needed for a life without violence.

Protecting Girls

APOPO offers innovative solutions that integrate detection animals into traditional methods that allows us to clear landmines and other explosives more efficiently.

APOPO’s animals ignore scrap metal and only detect the scent of explosives, making Mine Detection Rats (MDR) much faster at finding landmines than humans with metal detectors.

Using Technical Survey Dogs (TSD) beforehand, to confirm the presence of explosives, creates a more accurate picture of which areas are actually contaminated. Results show, that by integrating both these detection animals, the overall efficiency of the landmine clearance process can be doubled on some tasks and even tripled on others, compared to using conventional methods alone.

By finding and destroying landmines and other explosives APOPO protects girls and allows them to live, play and learn without the daily anxiety and fear of hidden threats. This leads to safer and more secure lives where girls can achieve their full potential and fulfil their dreams.

Keeping Girls in School

An education offers girls a way to lift themselves out of poverty and set them on a path to a promising future. However, the path to school is not always safe. Landmines are indiscriminate killers. Millions of them still lie in current and former conflict zones around the world – from Angola to Cambodia. According to the Landmine Monitor, in 2020, half of all civilian casualties were children!

As we clear minefileds, we also carry out Mine Risk Education within the community living nearby. Students going to schools that are close to minefields we are clearing, farmers that have fields in the near vicinity and villagers that use roads that pass through dangerous terrain.

APOPO teams are dedicated to clearing landmines from areas around schools, or on the routes children take to get to their classes. We believe in a world where girls can go to school without fear of injury or being held back by illness. Investing in girls’ education empowers them to build better lives not only for themselves but for their families.

Positive Role Models

APOPO trains and hires women on all of its teams, from animal training and R&D, demining to tuberculosis detection and more. We are creating spaces for women’s empowerment whilst saving lives. By hiring women from impacted communities, APOPO raises them, their families and wider communities out of poverty while contributing to building peace. This shows girls around them that anything is possible.

Given the skills and the opportunities, girls can be the changemakers, driving progress in their communities for the benefit of all. APOPO maintains its commitment to support landmine- and tuberculosis affected communities, and with increased funding and strategic partnerships, we hope to expand our efforts.

We believe we can live landmine-free and stop TB in our lifetime.

With your help, we will.


APOPO is deeply grateful to all the partners and donors who generously
support us with grants, products, services and fundraising initiatives.