The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has opened the first African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) in Lilongwe, Malawi capital, as part of efforts to promote programmes and services that will impact the lives of children and young people.
According to the UN agency, the academy will develop expertise in the use of drones for humanitarian, development and commercial purposes across the African continent.
“Humanitarian and development programme delivery in Africa and beyond can benefit significantly from the application of drone technology,” UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said in a statement.
“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,” she added.
Approximately 150 students will be trained in the academy to build and pilot drones by 2021 and funding from UNICEF’s partners will provide free tuition to the first cohort of 26 students from Malawi and across Africa.
“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. We are proud to partner with UNICEF in such an exciting endeavor,” said James Chakwera, Director of Malawi’s Department of Civil Aviation.
The curriculum at the academy has been developed in partnership with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) following its successful delivery of training workshops in Malawi since 2017.