Malawi has every reason to celebrate after the first African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) opened in Lilongwe on January 13.
Drones in Malawi are poised to become integral in the implementation of vital programmes and services aimed at improving the lives of residents. The Executive Director at UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, championed the fundamental impact the drones have had on their humanitarian and development programmes in Malawi. The African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) will pass on skills that will equip the local communities with the know-how on how to reap from the new technology.
ADDA will offer a comprehensive 12-week course on the use of drones for commercial, humanitarian and development purposes. The institution aspires to train 150 students by 2021, and equip them with knowledge on how to build and pilot drones. The certificate will be issued by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), and combines both theoretical and practical modules on the making, testing and flying of the drones. UNICEF will also team up with like-minded partners and fund the first cohort of 26 students, drawn out from across the continent. You can apply here.
UNICEF has been operating drones in Malawi since 2016 to boost humanitarian missions, even establishing a drone testing corridor in partnership with the Government of Malawi.
Drones have been earmarked as key players in Africa’s Agenda 2063. The 2017 July 17th report by The African Union and NEPAD revealed only 14 countries having published UAV regulations thus far. The number should be way higher now as more countries reverse their restrictive regulations and revise their exorbitant licensing fees.