A Partnership with the U.S. State Department
In a major step towards safeguarding both human lives and wildlife, the U.S. State Department has financed its fifth continued cost extension with APOPO. This extension secures the future of APOPO’s life-saving project in the Sengwe Wildlife Corridor, a vital link between Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe and Kruger National Park in South Africa, through October 2024. APOPO’s efforts extend beyond demining; they are instrumental in promoting eco-tourism in Zimbabwe and facilitating the free movement of elephants and other wildlife within the region.
Preserving Biodiversity and Promoting Eco-Tourism
The Sengwe Wildlife Corridor serves as a critical connection between two of Africa’s renowned national parks. Yet, its potential for promoting eco-tourism has been hindered by landmines, posing a significant threat to both wildlife and visitors. With the ongoing support of the U.S. State Department, APOPO’s mission is not just about clearing landmines; it’s about bridging the gap between these parks, thereby promoting tourism and bolstering Zimbabwe’s economy.
By making this corridor safe, APOPO is contributing to the revitalization of Zimbabwe’s eco-tourism sector. This transformation is expected to create job opportunities, boost local economies, and enhance the country’s global appeal as a destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
Empowering Zimbabwe’s Landmine-Free Vision
One of the pivotal goals of APOPO’s project is to align with Zimbabwe’s aspirations of becoming landmine-free by 2025. This ambitious endeavor would be unattainable without the generous funding and support from the U.S. Government. The United States has consistently been at the forefront of global humanitarian mine action, exemplifying an unwavering commitment to mitigating the devastating impact of landmines on civilian populations.
Since January 2021, APOPO, with the backing of the U.S. State Department, has achieved remarkable milestones:
- Release of Safe Land: Over three million square meters of previously hazardous land have been rendered safe for communities, allowing them to reclaim their livelihoods without fear.
- Landmine Destruction: APOPO has successfully neutralized more than 10,000 landmines, destroying deadly threats that have plagued the region for decades.
- Enhanced Economic Opportunities: Through Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) programs, APOPO has reached over 9,000 recipients. By educating communities about the risks associated with landmines, we have not only saved lives but also enabled individuals to engage in economic activities without the specter of danger looming over them. By hiring staff from landmine-affected communities, APOPO provides work and transferable skills for affected communities.
- Protection of Wildlife: Demining efforts in the Sengwe Wildlife Corridor are helping to remove a substantial barrier to elephant migration. This is pivotal for maintaining biodiversity and ensuring the survival of these majestic creatures.
A Shared Vision of Hope and Progress
The continued partnership between APOPO and the U.S. State Department embodies a shared vision of hope and progress. It is a testament to the enduring commitment of both organizations to make the world a safer place for everyone, be they humans or wildlife.
Through their ongoing partnership, APOPO and the U.S. State Department are not merely removing landmines; they are creating pathways toward a brighter and more prosperous future for Zimbabwe and its rich biodiversity.