Thanks to its partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and The Global Fund amongst others, Malawi has initiated the continent’s first drone training academy.
Dubbed the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA), the training program seeks to develop the capacity of young Africans to build and pilot the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) without external help.
Developed by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the 12-week course takes students through drone technologies and construction to enable students operate their drones without help.
In addition to that, UNICEF is reportedly looking to establish a research and development partnership with the Malawi University of Science and Technology. With this, the international organisation plans to offer free masters degree programs in drone technology by 2022.
Since 2016, UNICEF Malawi has been testing drones in the country through delivering medical supplies, emergency response work and cholera mapping, amongst other developmental services.
The organisation joins other private and public organisations who, or recent have deployed drones for the use of commercial and public interest actions.
The aim of the academy is to improve drone technology skills across Africa, says Rudolf Schwenk, the country representative for UNICEF in Malawi.
The ADDA emphasises on education and producing homegrown drone technology, a strategy it believes is needed to enable these digital advances bring lasting change to the country and beyond.