The first African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) recently opened in Lilongwe, Malawi. The Executive Director of UNICEF, promoters of the academy, Henrietta Fore, said, ‘The African Drone and Data Academy will be instrumental in equipping young people with the skills they need to use the technology to benefit children and their communities’.
The academy is set to develop experts in the use of drones for humanitarian, development and commercial purposes across the African continent through a 12-week course. It plans to train approximately 150 students to build and pilot drones by 2021. This move is expected to impact the lives of children and young people especially. Funds from UNICEF’s partners will provide free tuition to the first cohort of 26 students in the academy.
Henrietta Fore stressed that humanitarian and development programme delivery in Africa and beyond can benefit significantly from the application of drone technology. The academy will run in partnership with the USA-based Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). The academy will combine theoretical and practical methodologies in making, testing and flying drones.
By 2022, the academy is expected to begin running a tuition-free, two-year master’s degree programme in drone technology, in conjunction with the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST). It will also deliver a curriculum that will build local capacity and a favorable ecosystem for the emergence of sustainable business models for using drones for humanitarian and development missions.
Photo source: Guille