• Aerial mission

    Aerial mission

    The first African drone and data academy has been opened in Malawi.

    Unicef launched the academy to equip youths with digital skills, enabling them to explore the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for humanitarian and development purposes.

    According to the agency, the African Drone and Data Academy aims to train about 150 students by 2021 in how to build and pilot drones. The 12-week course was developed in partnership with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

    The initiative follows the 2017 establishment of a humanitarian drone-testing corridor in the Southern African country to explore the use of UAVs in situation monitoring, connectivity across difficult terrain during emergencies and the delivery of medical supplies, vaccines and laboratory samples.

    ‘In Malawi we strongly believe that adopting modern technologies such as drones and advanced data analysis and management techniques will help us to serve our children better,’ says James Chakwera, director of the Department of Civil Aviation.

    In two years, the institution will also offer a tuition-free, two-year master’s degree in drone technology in collaboration with Malawi University of Science and Technology, to aid the development of sustainable business models for using drones in humanitarian and development missions.

    21 January 2020
    Image: Unicef