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2011 February Newsletter

2011 February Newsletter

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Published by: Inne ten Have on May 13, 2011
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In this edition: Strategic Planning Week 2011 HeroRAT Trainer Profile: Haruni Ramadhani Newest Additions to APOPO Cats for Rats Fundraiser Strategic Planning Week 2011
This month, HeroRAT headquarters in Morogoro, Tanzania, hosted APOPO’s annual Strategic Planning Week. Every year, APOPO’s management team gathers to assess APOPO’s strengths and opportunities, plan for the years ahead, and identify areas for improvement. This year, Inge Weber, APOPO’s Secretary General from Belgium, organized and facilitated the meetings. The week brought together APOPO’s management from around the world, including Head of Mine Action and Human Security, Håvard Bach from Switzerland, Mine Action Program Manager, Andrew Sully from Mozambique, and Behavioral Researcher, Dr. Alan Poling from the USA. Throughout the week, the team reviewed all aspects of our operations and collectively developed action plans to further strengthen APOPO’s capacities. In particular, the team developed APOPO’s Strategic Goals for 2011-2015, implemented new training procedures to increase our rats’ detection ability in the minefields, prepared for the next stages of our three-year research plan for tuberculosis detection, assessed the feasibility of new applications for our sniffer rats, and brainstormed new fundraising opportunities. The outcomes of the week will be compiled into a formal report and presented to the APOPO Board at their next board meeting on March 26 in Antwerp, Belgium. In addition to the formalized aspects of the meeting, the week also provided a great opportunity for our team members living outside of Tanzania to get to know APOPO’s new team members and trainers in Tanzania who make our life-saving work possible. With all of APOPO coming together as one, the APOPO community is stronger than ever with a newfound level of excitement for the future.

HeroRAT trainer profile: Haruni Ramadhani
Haruni Ramadhani has been working as a HeroRAT trainer at APOPO’s Tanzanian headquarters since 2004. Last year, he received the opportunity to travel to Mozambique to be a part of our Mine Action team for six months. He recently returned with some new perspectives and experiences in working as a humanitarian deminer. Haruni found the role very challenging, working in a large team of people from different cultures. He said “you have to relate your work with people, and find out how to work with them.” Coping with the new language was one of his biggest challenges. While he had never been to Mozambique before, Haruni read a lot about Mozambique and humanitarian mine action before departing. He felt it
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was difficult to compare working with the HeroRATs in the training field to working in the real minefields. “It’s truly different. The environment we’re working in is very different, in terms of soil, obstacles. And it’s too hot!” On the other hand, Haruni said it’s not so different working with the rats in the real minefields, “because they find what they are looking for.” Haruni didn’t feel scared about entering the minefields; he understood the importance of his role and the immense concentration needed. “Y ou have to know how to use your animals in different situations on the field.” He went on to explain that “in demining, you have to work with your heart, with your mind.” A fellow de-miner had summed it up well for him, when he spoke about his brother who had lost a leg from a landmine. In describing the serious task at hand, he said “demining is not football!” Although Haruni missed friends and family back in Tanzania, he made new friends in the Mozambique team. He felt he gained more experience in the real situation, and discovered new tactics to cope with some of the behavioral challenges of working with animals. “The animals sometimes have a combination of behaviors, in the real situation you have to try to make the combination to work for you, to reach the target.” He would like to go back to Mozambique one day if he has the opportunity, because he found that there are always new things to learn. Back at our Tanzanian headquarters, Haruni splits his time between a supervisory role at the landmine detection training field, and working with our tuberculosis detection HeroRATs. When asked which area he prefers to work in, Haruni said he liked the variety of being involved in both aspects of APOPO’s work. “I would say both technologies rather than one! Y face many different challenges and you can get more ou creative.” APOPO is very grateful for Haruni’s dedication and hard work, and warmly welcomes him back to HeroRAT HQ in Tanzania!

Cats for Rats Fundraiser
APOPO sends a huge shout-out this month to a group of ‘Wildcats’ from Kansas State University in the USA, who are hoping to raise funds to cover the full training of one of our HeroRATs. The students are part of a club called Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), and their mission is to create a better, more sustainable world through the power of business. The club looks to support projects that make a difference by empowering people to help themselves, and the members were inspired to help APOPO’s cause. On February 12, the SIFE team held a ’Cats for Rats fundraising event at their local Petco store. They welcomed community members to play with some of the rats Petco has on display or to have their photo taken as a superhero rodent, complete with cape, and make a donation to support the HeroRAT cause. Fundraising efforts are ongoing and their dream goal is to fully fund the training journey of one HeroRAT, which costs 6,000 Euros or about $7,370 USD. Y can check out their story in the local press here . ou The HeroRAT team would like to send a special thank you to the SIFE team for their efforts in raising awareness of our heroes and their life-saving work, and we wish them much success in their future fundraising! For more information about organization or group sponsorship of a HeroRAT (including rare naming rights!) check out our website.

Newest Additions to APOPO

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APOPO is thrilled to welcome the latest additions to the HeroRAT team here in Tanzania:

Amani Mwakalapuka
Amani is a PhD student studying Psychology at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He joins APOPO to conduct behavioral research to optimize sample presentation in an automated linecage for our HeroRATs at our tuberculosis detection facility. Amani received his Master of Arts in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Dar es Salaam. He is currently an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, and is a founding member of the Tanzanian Psychological Association.

Amy Durgin
Amy joins us from Western Michigan University (WMU) in the USA where she is a PhD candidate studying Applied Behavioral Analysis with our Behavioral Researcher, Dr. Alan Poling. At APOPO, Amy is working on our Remote Scent Tracing (RST) research to analyze our current rat training procedures and identify targets for improvement, as well as conducting additional behavioral research on our rats' scent detection abilities. Amy is passionate about behavior analysis and said, “after learning about APOPO’s unique application of behavioral science to save lives through scent detection, I am honored and excited to be part of the APOPO team and see behavioral theory put to great use.” Prior to joining APOPO, Amy completed her Master of Arts degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis at WMU. She has a great deal of behavioral research experience as a research assistant and organizational consultant.

Amanda Mahoney
Amanda is also a PhD candidate at WMU studying Applied Behavioral Analysis with Dr. Alan Poling. At APOPO, Amanda is overseeing our tuberculosis detection research plan and analysis of the results. She will also be conducting behavioral research on the rats’ scent detection abilities. Before coming to APOPO, Amanda received her Master of Science degree from Northeastern University in the USA and has experience working as a behavior consultant and program manager. Amanda is very enthusiastic about the work APOPO is doing and said, “I am thrilled to be working for APOPO to apply an innovative strategy in such an important and humanitarian way.”

Majenda Mhutila
In January, Majenda returned to APOPO as our Human Resources Manager for our Tanzanian staff. In his new role, Majenda will be focusing on developing hiring policies, recruitment of local staff, and motivational techniques. Majenda previously worked at APOPO for four years as a Research Assistant and General Supervisor before leaving for one year to work for a UK-based healthcare volunteer placement organization. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania. Majenda is happy to be back and says “APOPO is a great innovative organization. Working with rats is a great life experience.” Karibu tena! (Welcome back!)

As always, thank you very much for your continued support and interest in our life-saving work! For more information about APOPO and our HeroRATs, please go to our websites, http://www.apopo.org and http://www.herorat.org, or feel free to contact us at our email address below. Warm regards, The HeroRAT team herorats@herorat.org

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APO PO -SUA, PO Box 3078, Morogoro, Tanzania HeroRAT is a cam paign of APO PO For m ore inform ation please see www.herorat.org or contact us at herorats@herorat.org This em ail was sent to hannahj_@hotmail.com. To ensure that you continue receiving our em ails, please add us to your address book or safe list. manage your preferences | opt out using TrueRemove™ Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future em ails.

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