What do you get when you combine Buddhism, rats & social entrepreneurship?

Photo Credit: La Tarte au Citron via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: La Tarte au Citron via Compfight cc

A mighty interesting combination & a very cool perspective.  I heard about Bart’s work when I watched an Ashoka film on social entrepreneurship.

Bart Weetjens, is a Belgian zen Buddhist monk, a social entrepreneur who works in Tanzania.  He trains rats (yes rats) to detect land mines & TB.

My attention was caught by combining unusual elements (rats & landmines anyone?) to come up with an unusually innovative solution to a wretched problem.  It takes a new look, a fresh perspective.

APOPO is a social enterprise that researches, develops and implements detection rats technology for humanitarian purposes such as Mine Action and Tuberculosis detection. APOPO is a Belgian NGO, with headquarters in Tanzania and operations in Mozambique, Thailand, Angola and Cambodia.

The need for faster TB diagnosis in overpopulated high burden cities is paramount. APOPO is working towards eradicating TB in Sub-Saharan Africa by training locally available rats to evaluate sputum samples more swiftly and efficiently.

APOPO has stepped up its war on landmines and continues to develop combined approaches using existing demining technology as well as its innovative Mine Detection Rats (MDRs), leading to more efficient mine action work.

Sound too freaky to possibly be true?  Check out the rats here.

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