APOPO holds Training and Innovation Workshop in Tanzania

By Dr. Cindy Fast | APOPO Head of Training & Behavioral Research

April 29 - May 3, 2019

APOPO’s Training and Innovation team held an information packed workshop the week of April 29th to capitalize on a visit from APOPO board and R&D Scientific Advisory Committee member, Dr. Adee Schoon.

Dr. Schoon has a PhD in Human Scent Dog Performance (ID-dogs). She has worked with police detection dogs in the Netherlands, as a consultant in landmine- and medical detection dog training and has been involved with APOPO, since its inception. In addition to being a member of the board of APOPO, she runs a scent detection consultancy firm. Dr. Schoon is internationally renowned for her expertise in the field.

The workshop was well-attended with active participation from more than 30 members of the APOPO team, including APOPO’s CEO, Christophe Cox; Head of Training and Innovation, Dr. Cindy Fast; Head of TB, Dr. Lena Fiebig; Researchers, Dr. Miriam Schneider, Micaela Bernardez Vidal, and Ellie Cutright;  volunteer Dr. Leslie Louie; collaborating students from the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Mungo Kasinza, Raphael Mwampashi, and Norah Ndusilo; TB Tanzania Program Manager, Dr. Georgies Mgode; and members of the mine-detection and TB-detection training teams from both Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.

Workshop sessions mirrored the diverse nature of the team’s scope, including time devoted to training mine-detection and TB-detection rats, reviewing ongoing and pipeline research, progress in developing new humanitarian applications for the rats’ powerful sense of smell, and efforts to build team capacity while ensuring quality standards are met throughout.

Lively roundtable discussions allowed the team to reach a consensus on our strategy, including within the next three years, particularly as it relates to creating opportunities for capacity building, quality assurance, program sustainability, and measuring success, while objectively prioritizing ongoing and pipeline activities.