Human resources for rat training

While APOPO trains scent detection rats, we also train scent detection rat trainers and supervisors. Animal training knowledge, understanding of welfare and care, as well as leadership skills are required to usher rats through their training stages successfully. By investing in human capital, we can support our animals' progress more efficiently. 

APOPO's core values include quality, innovation, social transformation, diversity, and solidarity. In line with that, the current project team is compiled of four women and three men, six of whom are Tanzanian. By embracing and fostering diversity, project development benefits from a wide range of experiences.  

Motivated staff, capacity building, international exchange of new and emerging animal training and learning processes, critical thinking, willingness to learn, and teamwork.  

Screening staff before hiring them as animal trainers should not only include their theoretical skills and qualifications but also explore whether they are comfortable handling a rat. Continued training and capacity building throughout improves trainer capabilities and allows upskilling internally. This in turn creates incentive, high motivation, and fosters integrity. Close attention should be paid to treating staff fairly and allowing equal access to opportunities and equity. 

Through high representation of women on our team, APOPO also leads as an example. It increases visibility of women in science in communities and with partners we work with.