A Big Birthday Bash for APOPO's 20th

By Anna Bouchier | Executive Director Switzerland, APOPO Foundation

APOPO Swiss Foundation hosted a 20th Anniversary Celebration in Geneva.

In October, the APOPO Swiss Foundation hosted friends, partners and HeroRAT supporters at their 20th Anniversary Celebration in Geneva. The unique and exclusive evening was centred on promoting the power of innovation and thinking outside the box, while reflecting on the significant impact of 20 years of APOPO.

After months of careful preparation, the day of the event arrived with a bang and we had the opportunity to see our guests enjoy a specially designed programme. Over one hundred people from a wide range of fields joined us in Geneva, at le Palais de l’Athénée, a place full of history, notably this is where the Red Cross Committee was founded in 1863.

We were grateful to see so many people respond to our invitation and were thrilled to be able to count amongst them many of our Swiss donors and partners, along with our partners from both governmental and public institutions. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to personally thank everyone who has helped our organization in some way – big or small.

I was at the helm of the team organizing the delightful event. A cast of inspiring speakers, included Bart Weetjens, founder of APOPO; Yves Hervieu-Causse, chairman of the board; Herwig Leirs, professor of Zoology and Population Ecology at the University of Antwerp and board member; Ivan Rodriguez, Professor of Neurogenetics at the University of Geneva; and Håvard Bach, Head of APOPO Mine Action who all spoke about the ability rats have to detect both landmines and tuberculosis, as well as shared the history and founding story behind our organization.

Hervieu-Causse opened the short lecture series with a demonstration of the impact that APOPO and the APOPO Foundation has had. Weetjens and Bach allowed us a look into the past of the organization, both the inspiration behind the idea of detection rats technology and the journey to implementing the technology and the development of APOPO into what it is today. Leirs and Rodriguez shared with the audience a look into the science behind the technology, describing rat biology, particularly their astounding sense of smell.

The speeches were followed by a cocktail party where we announced the launch of APOPO Foundation’s latest fundraising campaign, “ONE FOR ONE”; a matching campaign to double our impact. Together with our partner, Funraise, we aimed to raise 5,000 CHF that night, which Funraise matched. This fundraisig campaign raised a total of 15,500 CHF!

We have nothing but overwhelming gratitude for the reception of the APOPO 20th Anniversary Event, and are ever grateful to our partners in the Funraise campaign. Thank you to all the kind and generous people that are supporting APOPO!